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Whiplash Facts

Whiplash is a common injury that can occur from a car accident, a fall, a sports-related collision, and other activities. Whiplash occurs when the neck is suddenly forced forwards and backwards.

In 1995, medical professionals introduced the term “whiplash associated disorders”, or WAD. Today, we have three main categories of whiplash patients based on WAD classifications, including WAD I, II, and II. Here are the basic WAD categories we use when assessing whiplash patients at our chiropractic clinic in Lakewood, Colorado:

WAD I: The patient has complaints but there are no objective findings, which means we cannot reproduce your pain during an examination.

WAD IIa: The patient has complaints and we’re able to replicate those complaints objectively, but the patient has a normal range of movement of the neck and no neurological findings, including normal strength and sensation abilities.

WAD IIb: This is the same as WAD IIa, except that neck movements are decreased.

WAD III: Abnormal neurological findings (like weakness and/or sensations) are present.

WAD IV: The patient has fractures and dislocations. WAD IV isn’t always included on the scale of WAD symptoms, which is why we typically only use WAD I, II, and III.

The WAD system can be used to predict and improve patient outcomes following therapy.

Whiplash can be devastating because it’s difficult to protect yourself against abnormal forces in the neck at all times – especially when an impact comes from behind or from an unexpected direction. The abnormal force affects our neck faster than we can voluntarily contract our muscles, which means our body cannot effectively protect itself against damage.

Furthermore, many patients have whiplash symptoms from a vehicle collision even when their vehicle is undamaged. A minor collision can lead to severe whiplash injuries. Your car might be totally undamaged, but you could have severe whiplash symptoms. In a low-speed collision – like a fender bender in a parking lot – your car isn’t impacted hard enough to compress the metal. However, that just means the energy of the force is absorbed by your softer body.

Symptoms of whiplash vary widely. The most common symptoms we see at Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, CO include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, shoulder pain and stiffness, dizziness, fatigue, jaw pain, arm pain, arm weakness, visual disturbances, ringing ear noises, and back pain.

If symptoms continue, the patient could develop chronic WAD problems, including depression, anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, drug dependency, post-traumatic stress syndrome, sleep disturbances, and social isolation.

Whiplash diagnoses are based on a physical exam, an x-ray, an MRI, and, if nerve damage occurs (say, with WAD III), an EMG. Available whiplash treatment options at Renew Chiropractic include rest, ice, heat, exercise, pain management, and prolonged use of a collar. Dr. Jumper and our team of experienced professionals can also use techniques like manipulation, mobilization, active release technique, trigger point therapy, Chiropractic BioPhysics, the Pettibon System, 3-dimensional mirror image exercises, and patient education. We encourage patients to return to normal activity – like work – when safe to avoid spiraling into long-term disability.

If you were in an auto accident or experienced whiplash from any other event, call Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, CO for a free consultation at 720-493-5885.

Pettibon Phases of Care

The Pettibon System is a popular chiropractic protocol with a proven track record of improving postural alignment of a patient’s spine. The Pettibon System consists of three distinct phases, including acute care, rehabilitation and correction, and maintenance and supportive care.

Phase 1) Acute Care

The acute care phase lasts 14 to 21 days. During the acute care phase, the goal is to reduce or eliminate the patient’s symptoms as quickly as possible. The chiropractor will help the patient improve his or her range of motion. The chiropractor will also begin working to restore normal sagittal spine alignment.

Patients will also receive instructions on how to perform various therapeutic procedures at home. These at-home procedures will strengthen postural muscles and build endurance.

The chiropractor will perform an x-ray at the end of the acute care phase. The x-ray will be used to assess the patient’s progress – including whether or not they’re ready for the rehabilitation and correction phase.

Phase 2) Rehabilitation and Correction

The rehabilitation and correction phase requires three treatments per week. When the muscles undergo three treatments per week, it allows them to maximize strength and endurance gains while still enjoying sufficient rest to heal.

Rehabilitation and correction continues until the patient achieves normal sagittal and coronal spine alignments. This can take anywhere from 90 days to 24 months. Recovery time will depend on the age of the patient, the extent of injuries, and patient compliance, among other factors.

Phase 3) Maintenance and Supportive Care

The maintenance and supportive care phase focuses on making the structural changes achieved in the first two phases last long-term. This phase consists of weekly workouts. Patients will also receive lifestyle habit coaching to support their long-term health goals.

By completing the three phases of the Pettibon System, patients can maximize their spinal health and relieve symptoms of various conditions. The Pettibon System is a popular and proven chiropractic care procedure shown to significantly relieve symptoms in patients around the word.

Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, Colorado specializes in the Pettibon System. As a skilled Pettibon System practitioner, Dr. Jumper can walk patients through all three phases of treatment, putting them on the path to long-term health and wellness. Schedule a free consultation for Pettibon treatment in Lakewood by calling 720-493-5885.