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Whiplash Research

A multiple parameter assessment of whiplash injury patients undergoing subluxation based chiropractic care: a retrospective study. McCoy HG and McCoy M. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research Vol 1, No 3, 1997 Pp. 51-61.

From the Abstract:

A retrospective study was conducted of 57 subjects who had experienced an acceleration/deceleration (whiplash) injury.. With subluxation-based chiropractic care, the subject population showed significant increases in cervical flexion and extension, muscle strength, and a decrease in the neck pain disability index. Atlas/axis and Jackson’s angles varied inversely from presentation to MCI (maximum chiropractic improvement). Longer durations of care were correlated with the lower ratios (fewer adjustments/week), while shorter durations of care to reach MCI were correlated to higher ratios (average adjustments/week).

The following studies show the consequences of not correcting the cause…

Post-traumatic headache. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinica. Neuroscience 6(3): 229-236, 1994.

From the abstract:

The authors review post-traumatic headache (PTH). The most common symptom following head injury, PTH is paradoxically most severe after mild head injury. Although most cases resolve within 6-12 months, many patients have protracted or even permanent headache. Because PTH generally has no objective findings, it is often controversial whether the symptom is “real,” “psychogenic,” or “fabricated.” Despite persisting beliefs by physicians, attorneys, and insurers that PTH resolves upon legal settlement, recent studies have shown that “permanent” PTH is usually present several years after a legal settlement. Often PTH affects family life, recreation, and employment. Patients require education and support as well as appropriate evaluation and treatment.

Visceral diseases as a sequela of brain damages. Vestnik Rossiiskoi Akademii Meditsinskikh Nauk (1): 12-15, 1994.

From the abstract:

In the period following mild closed brain injury, diseases of the viscera and the body’s systems develop as a result of diffuse lesions in the brain regions. Experimental studies have shown that this is associated with impaired self-regulatory mechanisms responsible for energy metabolic processes in the brain.

The relationship between whiplash injury and subsequent lower back complications. Neel SS et al. Chiropractic Oct 1988;1(3):86-88.

It has been observed that people who suffer from whiplash injuries develop low back pain. This study interviewed 52 patients who had been involved in a whiplash type injury and found that 85% of them reported lower back pain after the whiplash.

The patients in this study had no previous motor vehicle accidents, were wearing lap and harness seat belts and had no previous low back pain.

Relationship between early somatic, radiological, cognitive and psychosocial findings and outcome during a one-year follow-up in 117 patients suffering from common whiplash. Br J Rheumatol 1994; 33:442-8.

Initial examinations of 117 whiplash patients were performed a few days after the accident, and 3, 6 and 12 months afterwards. After one year, 28 patients (24% of total) were symptomatic. Poor improvements were associated with severity of injury, previous history of head trauma and headache, sleep disturbance immediately after accident, nervousness and reduced speed of information processing.

Considerations in the rehabilitation of cervical myofascial injury, Canadian Family Physician, Vol. 32, Sept. 1986.

About 10-15% of motor vehicle cervical injuries fail to achieve a functional recovery 2-3 years after the accident.

Whiplash injuries: their long-term prognosis and its relationship to compensation Hodgson, S.P., Neuro-Orthopedics 7, 1989.

62% of the people injured in a whiplash soft-tissue trauma will have continued complaints between 10 and 15 years after the date of the accident.

PET and SPECT in whiplash syndrome: a new approach to a forgotten brain? Otte A, Ettlin TM, Nitzsche EU, Wachter K, Hoegerle S, Simon GH, Fierz L, Moser E, Mueller-Brand J. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1997; 63:368-372.

From the abstract:

Whiplash associated disorders are a medicolegally controversial condition becoming increasingly worrisome to the western world. This study was designed to evaluate perfusion and glucose metabolism in [the] whiplash brain.

The study involved six patients suffering from whiplash syndrome and 12 normal controls. They gave everyone chemicals that reveal brain function when viewed by specialized equipment (PET and SPECT) that is similar to a CAT scan for the brain. In the patient group, there was “significant hypometabolism” or decreased brain function and hypoperfusion or decreased blood in the parieto-occipital regions on the right and left side compared to the control group.

But most revealing was the authors’ statement as to the possible cause of the brain changes after they ruled out direct injury to the brain and brain structures: “It is hypothesized that parieto-occipital hypometabolism may be caused by activation of nociceptive afferent nerves from the upper cervical spine.”

Chronic cervical zygopophysial joint pain after whiplash: a placebo-controlled prevalence study. Lord, WM, Barnsley L. Wallis BJ, Bogduk N. Spine. 1996;21:1737-45.

This double-blind placebo-controlled trial implicates the facet joints as the most common pain source from whiplash type injury. It builds on other research pointing to the same source of whiplash pain.

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