Chiropractic “Only Proven Effective Treatment” for Chronic Whiplash

A vast amount has been written in the last yen years on the problem of whiplash biomechanics.  But little study has been done on treatment of whiplash injuries.  As the authors of a new study write, “Conventional treatment of patients with whiplash symptoms is disappointing.”1

“Woodward et al found improvement in chronic symptoms in 26 of 28 patients (93%) following chiropractic treatment.  Our results confirm the efficacy of chiropractic, with 69 of our 93 patients (74%) improving following treatment.”

“Our study suggests that such a group of non-responders does exist, represented by group 3.  The defining characteristics of patients in this group were the full range of neck movement in association with neck pain, bizarre symptoms, female sex and ongoing litigation.  The mean age of the group at 29.5 (16-43 was lower than that of the other two groups(mean 6.8, range 18-65).”

The results from this study provide further evidence that chiropractic is an effective treatment for chronic whiplash symptoms.

The authors conclude:
Whiplash injuries are common.  Chiropractic is the only proven effective treatment in chronic cases.

1. Khan S, Cook J, Bannister G. A symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment.  Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-25.
2. Woodware MN, Cook JCH, Gargan MF, Bannister GC.  Chiropractic treatment of chronic whiplash injuries. Injury 1996;27:643-645.

93% of Whiplash Patients Improve With Chiropractic Care

The ‘whiplash’ syndrome is a collection of symptoms produced as a result of soft-tissue injury of the cervical spine.  The accumulated literature suggests that 43 percent of patients will suffer long-term symptoms following ‘whiplash’ injury.  If patients are still symptomatic after 3 months then there is almost a 90 percent chance that they will remain so.

The authors of this study examined the effectiveness of Chiropractic in 28 patients with chronic whiplash pain.  Patients were referred for chiropractic treatment at an average of 15.5 months (range, 3-44) after their initial injury and were assessed by both an independent chiropractic and orthopedic physician.  At the time of referral 27 of the patients had group C or D symptoms.

Group                 Symptoms
A                    Nil
B                    Nuisance
C                    Intrusive
D                    Disabling

Following (Chiropractic) treatment, 26 out of 28 (93 percent) of the patients had improved: 16 by one symptom group and 10 by two symptom groups.  In the group who had improved, 17 had stopped their treatment at the time of assessment; symptoms had recurred to a minor degree in four (24 percent) of these patients and they were considering further treatment.

The results of this retrospective study would suggest that benefits can also occur in over 90 percent of patients undergoing chiropractic treatment for chronic ‘whiplash’ injury.

The authors conclude that the encouraging results from this retrospective study merit the investigation of a prospective randomized controlled trial.

Woodward MN, Cook JCH, Gargan MF, Bannister GC.  Chiropractic treatment of chronic ‘whiplash’ injuries.
Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured 1996;27(9):643-645.