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Taking the Sting out of Whiplash

For many people, the term “whiplash”conjures up a fairly uncomfortable image: being rear-ended by another car and having your head suddenly snapped back and forth by the impact.

Despite innovations in automotive design, whiplash injuries have become increasingly frequent in the past 30 years. Symptoms of whiplash can include serious and lingering neck pain, back pain, headaches and dizziness; no single effective treatment has been identified to deal with this chronic, frustrating condition.

But help may be on the way. A recent study in Spine suggests that early, active treatment is most effective for managing whiplash symptoms. In the study, “active” treatment consisted of repetitive motion exercises performed at home (10 times every hour, beginning within 96 hours of injury); “standard” treatment involved home exercises performed only a few times each day, starting two weeks after injury.

Results showed that 38% of patients receiving immediate, active treatment reported “no pain” at six-month followup, compared to only 5% of patients receiving delayed standard treatment. The authors note that this type of active home treatment is an “ideal form of rehabilitation” because it expends only small resources within the health care system.

It’s time to whip whiplash! If you or someone you know is suffering from whiplash, schedule an appointment today with a doctor of chiropractic. And for online information on this condition, go to


Rosenfeld M, Gunnarsson R, Borenstein P. Early intervention in whiplash-associated disorders. A comparison of two treatment protocols. Spine 2000: Vol. 25, No. 14, pp1782-87.

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