How Chiropractors Assess and Treat Whiplash

whiplash pic
Whiplash associated disorder (WAD) are common injuries of the neck caused by rapid distortion of the cervical vertebrae. Such distortion occurs when the head undergoes a sudden stop while moving at speed, jarring the muscles and ligaments of the neck, which move forwards and backwards quickly. Whiplash is most typically associated with motor vehicle accidents but may also occur in sporting events such as foot ball, bicycling, and horseback riding.

The adult human head weighs about 10-11 pounds, which, at rest, is comfortably supported by the bones and muscles of the neck. However, rapid movement backward and forward put a much larger load on the cervical vertebrae and ligaments holding them in place. The anterior longitudinal ligament that runs down the back of the spine is particularly at risk of stretching or tearing during a rapid collision.

The signs and symptoms of whiplash range from mild neck pain for a few days after the injury to headaches, arm pain and long-term restricted movement of the neck. Studies have shown that whiplash injuries can also constrict blood flow to the brain, leading to light-headedness, poor concentration and fatigue.

The Grade Classification is as follows:

0. No complaint about the neck. No physical sign.

I. Neck complaint of pain, stiffness or tenderness only. No physical signs.

II. Neck complaint and musculoskeletal signs. Musculoskeletal signs include decreased range of motion and point tenderness.

III. Neck complaint and neurological signs. Neurological signs include decreased or absent deep tendon reflexes, weakness and sensory deficits.

IV. Neck complaint and fracture or dislocation.

The recommended chiropractic treatment will depend on the severity of the injury, but common actions include treatment with heat and cold, massage, chiropractic manipulation and a specific program of exercises to gently regain the full range of neck movement. Collars may also be used to keep the neck in place for 72 hours after grade II and III injuries to give the muscles and ligaments time to recover. If you have to wait for an appointment, a frozen ice pack held against the neck for short periods is a good stop-gap treatment for moderate neck pain until you can see a chiropractor.

Grade IV whiplash is a serious injury and your chiropractor can refer you to a specialist for treatment. This will at minimum consist of several months of neck immobilization and possibly surgery. Most whiplash injuries are much less serious than this and are more likely to be a cause of pain and discomfort than a true medical emergency. Though, as anyone who had suffered with whiplash will tell you, the distress associated with ongoing neck pain and stiffness can have a substantial impact on daily life. It is well worth getting check over by a chiropractor if you experience any signs for whiplash in order to reduce your healing time and your chances of future neck complaints.


1905 E. Big Beaver Rd • Troy, Mi 48083 • V. 248.720.0444


‘Tis The Season For Auto Accident 101

Tis the season PostNow that the holiday season is upon us we all have to drive a little slower, leave a little earlier, and watch the road a little better. No one wants to be involved in an auto accident; however, it happens all the time. It’s always go to know what to do in those first 24 hours after an accident.
The following are a few good tips to ensure that you receive the best care while reducing your liability:
1.) Make sure you and the other diver move to a safe spot and call 911 if anyone is seriously injured. If the accident is minor you can move the cars off the roadway yourself, or wait for the tow truck once the police arrive. Remember, you only have 24 hours after the accident to notify the police and make a claim.
2.) Make sure everyone involved is alright and obtain the other driver’s relevant information. Do not admit fault, it may be used against you in court if the case is brought against you. You should exchange the following information:
• Name
• Address
• Phone Number
• Email Address
• Make, Model, and Year of the car
• License Plate Number
• Insurance Company
• Insurance Policy Number
• Copy of the Police Report
3.) Look for witnesses at the site and get all relevant information (Such as Name, Phone Number, Address) because you will likely not be able to speak with them again.
4.) Check your surroundings. Look for any skid marks, glass, etc. to document what has happened and take as many photos as possible of the damage to your car, the location of the accident, the people involved, or any other evidence that exists in the surroundings.
5.) Get medical help as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you are hurt, as you could have serious internal injuries that you are not immediately aware of. Most injuries from minor auto accidents are due to whiplash or other soft tissue injuries and may not show up for several hours (or even days) after the accident. If you are asked by anyone (such as the police, your insurance company, etc) at the accident site if you are injured, you should say you don’t know but you will see a specialist- like our doctors here at the Chiro Studio- for a complete evaluation.
6.) Report the accident to your insurance company and file your claim. If you have been injured, you should also call an attorney, as the insurance adjuster is not likely to represent you. Keeping their costs down is their main goal, whereas your attorney is pain to represent your interests.


1905 E. Big Beaver Rd • Troy, Mi 48083 • V. 248.720.0444