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What is The Best Treatment for Whiplash? | Car Accident Doctor Atlanta

October 25, 2011

Whiplash usually occurs when the head is suddenly whipped or snapped due to a sudden jolt, usually involving a motor vehicle collision. However, it can also occur from a slip and fall injury. So the question on deck is, which of the health care services best addresses the injured whiplash patient?

This question was investigated in a published study titled, A symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment (Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-25). The authors’ reference a study that demonstrated chiropractic treatment benefited 26 of 28 patients with chronic whiplash syndrome. The objective of their study was to determine which type of chronic whiplash patient would benefit the most from chiropractic treatment. They separated patients into one of 3 groups:

Group 1: patients with “neck pain radiating to the top of the shoulders, with restricted range of neck movement but with no neurological deficit”

Group 2: patients with “neurological symptoms, signs or both in association with neck pain and a restricted range of neck movement”

Group 3: patients who described “severe neck pain but all of whom had a full range of motion and no neurological symptoms or signs distributed over specific myotomes or dermatomes.” These patients also “described an unusual complex of symptoms,” including “blackouts, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting and chest pain, along with a nondermatomal distribution of pain.”

The patients underwent an average of 19 treatments over the course of 4 months. The patients were then surveyed and their improvement was reported:


Group 1: 24% did not have any symptoms, 48% showed significant improvement, 28% no improvement

Group 2: 38% did not have any symptoms, 56% showed significant improvement, 6% no improvement

Group 3: 27% showed significant improvement, 64% no improvement, 9% got worse

These findings show the best chiropractic treatment results occur in patients with mechanical neck pain (group 1) and / or those with neurological losses (group 2). The exaggerated group (group 3) was the most challenging and, the only group where a small percentage worsened. The good news is, the number of cases that responded well to chiropractic treatment (groups 1 & 2) far out number those that don’t (group 3).

Hence, most patients with whiplash injuries should consider chiropractic as their first choice of health care provision. For more serious injuries that don’t respond well to conservative treatment, a combination of chiropractic, anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers, and injections may be beneficial.


If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident and needs medical treatment, please call us at 678-223-3900 now so we can help you get out of pain fast!


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