The clinical presentation of whiplash is dominated by head (cervicogenic headache), neck and upper thoracic pain. While the exact mechanisms of how the tissues become injured and how the pathology develops are not clear, the pain is usually attributed to soft tissues and joint dysfunction.
Whiplash is a common injury and the estimated incidence is about 4 cases per 1000 persons. Neck pain and stiffness are the most frequently reported symptoms associated with whiplash. This highlights the need for practitioners of manual therapies to be knowledgeable in the area of cervical acceleration-deceleration injuries.
Whiplash patients may also complain of headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, dysphagia, paraesthesia, shoulder girdle pain, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and cognitive difficulties following a whiplash type injury.
The vast majority of research performed on the effectiveness of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) has been for low-back pain. This is despite the fact that the most frequent site of injury in the spinal column is the cervical region. Two studies (2-3) have strongly suggested that manipulation has provided a successful long-term decrease in the symptoms of chronic whiplash.
Manipulated patients had more reduction in all the outcome measures than the control group, but only neck pain and thoracic pain measures were statistically significant. Clearly these two related studies provide information that people with whiplash injures have thoracic spine dysfunction and that manipulation the dysfunctional segments results in better outcomes than conventional physiotherapy alone.
Timely detection and care of cervical spine injuries and abnormal kinematics may prevent or reduce the severity of damage. Thoracic may play a role in the recovery of whiplash patients.
Thatcher Chiropractic is located at 3535 American Drive in Colorado Springs, Colorado 80917 near the intersection at Austin Bluffs Parkway and Academy Boulevard. For more information you can visit our website at thatcherchiropractic.com and if you have additional questions or if you wish to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact us by phone at (719) 574-3700.