Whiplash is a fairly common condition that occurs when the neck is suddenly forced forwards and backwards, usually from motor vehicle collisions / auto accidents. Before 1928, whiplash was sometimes called “railway spine” as it was used to describe injuries that occurred to people involved in train accidents.
Since 1928, much has been studied and reported about this condition and in 1995, the term, “whiplash associated disorders” or WAD, was introduced. The WAD classification of whiplash patients includes 3 main category (WAD I, II and III) and a few years later, WAD II was broken into 2 sub-categories (WAD I, IIa, IIb, III). This occurred because some patients in WAD II took a longer time to heal than others. Here are the basic definitions of WAD I, II, III we use at Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood Colorado.:
- WAD I: Patients have complaints but no objective findings meaning we cannot reproduce your pain during our examinations
- WAD IIa: Patients have complaints with objective findings but a normal range of movement of the neck and no neurological findings (normal strength and sensation ability)
- WAD IIb: Same as WAD IIa except here, neck movements are decreased
- WAD III: Here, neurological abnormal findings (weakness and/or sensation) are present.
- WAD IV: Includes fractures and dislocations. Because of this unique difference, this category is often left out of the research that uses this category system to determine prognosis of the WAD case.
This system is very useful for the health care community in Lakewood, CO as it has the ability to predict the results in a case long before the conclusion of the case. Dr. Jason Jumper at Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, CO has discussed the cause of whiplash in previous articles and what happens when we are hit from behind unexpectedly. In essence, we cannot guard against the abnormal forces that occur in the neck as it all happens faster than we can voluntarily contract our muscles. Also, the myth about no car damage = no injury is just that – a myth! In fact, in low speed impacts, less damage to the car transfers greater forces to the contents inside because the energy of the force is not absorbed by crushing metal (elastic vs. plastic deformity).
Symptoms of whiplash vary widely. Most common symptoms seen at Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, CO include neck pain and stiffness, headache shoulder pain / stiffness, dizziness, fatigue, jaw pain, arm pain, arm weakness, visual disturbances, ringing ear noises, and sometimes back pain. If symptoms continue and chronic WAD occurs, depression, anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, drug dependency, post-traumatic stress syndrome, sleep disturbance, and social isolation can occur.
Diagnosis is based on the history, physical exam, x-ray, MRI, and if nerve damage occurs (WAD III), an EMG. Treatment options available at Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, CO include rest, ice and later heat, exercise, pain management and avoiding prolonged use of a collar. Chiropractic care at a Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, CO includes all of these as well as manipulation, mobilization, Active Release Technique, Trigger Point Therapy, Chiropractic Biophysics, Pettibon Technique, 3-Dimensional mirror image exercises and patient education. Prompt return to normal activity including work is important to avoid the negative spiral into long term disability. If you were involved in an auto accident call Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood at 720-493-5885.