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The Whiplash Puzzle: Part 4 – Treatment

Updated: Sep 9, 2023


Recovery from Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD) is often achievable, particularly when a conservative care program is combined with guidance on daily activities and personalized exercise routines. However, WAD symptoms can persist and lead to chronic issues. Early treatment implementation plays a crucial role in preventing WAD from becoming a long-term condition.


Studies have shown that 15% to 40% of those who suffer from whiplash injuries may develop chronic neck pain. By intervening early, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming part of these statistics.


What Type of Treatment is Most Effective?

Initiating manual therapy promptly after a comprehensive physical examination (including orthopedic and neurological testing), as well as obtaining the necessary diagnostic images to rule out fractures, is crucial. Evidence consistently indicates that manual therapy effectively reduces pain and enhances functionality.


Chosen therapeutic interventions should address both soft tissue and joint injuries. Given the often significant pain in the initial treatment stages, I advocate for a multidisciplinary strategy. Here, a musculoskeletal professional provides Conservative Care, while a medical doctor prescribes appropriate medication to manage acute pain and inflammation.


Note: Contrary to what might be expected, research indicates that using a soft neck collar (cervical collar) does NOT enhance treatment outcomes. It could, in fact, lead to a delayed return to normal activities.

 

Addressing Soft Tissue Restrictions In The Cervical Spine

4 Point Neck Pain Protocol - MSR

In this video, we delve into the importance of recognizing and addressing neck pain as a unique dysfunction that differs for each individual. It is crucial to approach every case with a tailored strategy, regardless of whether the pain originates from structures near the pain site or a more extensive kinetic chain. Dr. Abelson showcases some of his MSR treatment protocols and how it can effectively alleviate neck pain.

 

ADDRESSING JOINT RESTRICTIONS

In addition to removing soft-tissue restrictions, it is equally important to remove osseous joint restrictions in the cervical spine. Without the removal of these osseous restrictions, Many patients never see a resolution of their WAD symptoms. Joint restrictions in the cervical spine can be released, by a certified practitioner, with either Neck Adjustments or through Neck Mobilization.

The Power of Chiropractic Adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments are effective procedures, especially in managing whiplash injuries. Research indicates that patients suffering from neck or back pain due to whiplash significantly benefit from Chiropractic care. These patients typically experience pain relief sooner and recover much faster compared to those who don't receive such care. In this video, Dr. Abelson demonstrates some of the procedures we employ to address joint restrictions resulting from whiplash injuries throughout the body.


Choosing Between Neck Adjustment and Neck Mobilization - What's Best for You?


It's crucial for the practitioner to evaluate whether neck adjustments are suitable for each patient's particular circumstances. For those who prefer to avoid neck manipulation, we provide a safe and effective alternative in the form of Neck Mobilization, which effectively releases restrictions in the cervical region.


While Neck Manipulation is a powerful tool for alleviating joint restrictions, it's not always the best choice for many of our patients. For instance, we refrain from performing neck manipulation on patients of advanced age, individuals with severe osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, those suffering from certain autoimmune conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis, and various other conditions.

Neck Adjustments or Neck Mobilization - The Choice Is Yours!

Neck Adjustments or Neck Mobilization Techniques, the choice is yours! Most patients do not realize that they have choices in how restrictions in the joints of their necks are addressed. In this video Dr. Abelson shows you examples of Cervical Joint Mobilization.

 

Conclusion


In conclusion, early intervention with a holistic and patient-specific approach is crucial to the successful resolution of Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD). Utilizing a range of treatments such as manual therapy, joint adjustments or mobilization, and a targeted exercise program can significantly enhance recovery outcomes. It's important to remember that each case is unique, requiring individualized treatment protocols tailored to the patient's specific needs.


In the upcoming Part Five of "Resolving Whiplash Injuries", we will explore the pivotal role of exercise in managing WAD, underscoring its efficacy through practical examples.


 

DR. BRIAN ABELSON DC. - The Author


Dr. Abelson is committed to running an evidence-based practice (EBP) incorporating the most up-to-date research evidence. He combines his clinical expertise with each patient's specific values and needs to deliver effective, patient-centred personalized care.


As the Motion Specific Release (MSR) Treatment Systems developer, Dr. Abelson operates a clinical practice in Calgary, Alberta, under Kinetic Health. He has authored ten publications and continues offering online courses and his live programs to healthcare professionals seeking to expand their knowledge and skills in treating musculoskeletal conditions. By staying current with the latest research and offering innovative treatment options, Dr. Abelson is dedicated to helping his patients achieve optimal health and wellness.

 

Please Note: References for all five sections of this article can be found at the end of Part Five.



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