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What we do for Whiplash

Known as hyperflexion or hyperextension (hyper means “too much”) whiplash is an injury of the neck due to the body's reaction to a deceleration or acceleration force such as an auto accident.

This is common in car accidents, due in part to the fact that the muscles do not have enough time to brace during impact.

The powerful muscles of the neck naturally spasm as a protective mechanism after an injury has occurred. This in turn can cause spinal misalignment which can irritate nerves reducing the body’s ability to heal itself.

Over time the neck area becomes weaker, subject to re-injury and increase symptoms. If not properly treated, scar tissue can form which is weaker then the soft tissue in the area. This in turn can reduce motion and is more sensitive to pain and stress and harder to treat.

Pain, spasm, muscle weakness, or abnormal sensation (such as “pins and needles”) type of symptoms from this kind of injury are common. Other symptoms may be a stiff and/or painful neck, upper back, shoulder(s) area or even headaches.

These symptoms may travel down to the arms, hands, fingers or show as a muscle or grip weakness.

Other symptoms can include memory problems, sleep disorder, vision issues, balance difficulty, dizziness, and vertigo.


Chiropractic treatment, muscle work, physical therapy, pain medication and (if needed) soft neck collar can provide initial neck pain relief.

Persistent pain that lasts for 1 - 3 months or more may indicate a more severe case of whiplash. This can signify that more extensively damaged and/or trapped nerves were injured. One can have ruptured / herniated disc in the neck ("slipped disk")as well.

Long term neck care treatment can includes chiropractic care, correct posture training, muscle work, correct patient stretching and exercises to help strengthen weaken areas.

Ligament damage can take anywhere from 6 weeks up to one year to properly heal, if at all.

Some factors that effect healing of the damage area involves patient’s lifestyle, age, physical conditioning, daily activities, scar tissue formation, medical history, type of accident, and response to care to date.

Many articles been published documenting how chiropractic care can help such injured patients.

One such article published in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine in 1999 pointed out the superiority of chiropractic care for patients suffering from long term whiplash.

The authors of the article noted that a previous study had shown that 26 of 28 patients, or 93 percent, of patients with chronic whiplash benefited from chiropractic care.

In the authors' own study, they interviewed 100 consecutive chiropractic referrals of patients with chronic whiplash. Their results also showed that of the 93 patients who remained in the study, 69 of them, or 74 percent, found improvement.

Do you have any questions or concerns Chiropractic and how it can help your whiplash pain? Contact Us or call Dr. Lawson DC directly at 858-576-6329. He will be happy to answer your questions and set up a prompt appointment.

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