The new science of whiplash

by | Aug 10, 2010 | Neck Pain, Headache and Pinched Nerves | 0 comments

whiplash injury

…and how to put the knowledge to work for you

Neck pain, muscle tension headaches, and pinched nerves can show up after an auto accident, sometimes months – or even years – later.

Doctors used to be frustrated trying to treat whiplash patients.

But now we know much more about whiplash, the type of long-term damage it can cause, and the best types of whiplash treatment.

Here are three important facts revealed by the latest research:

  1. Whiplash sufferers are likely to have muscle knots in the muscle right below the base of the skull (the semispinalis capitus).  Problems in this muscle can cause neck pain, headache, or facial pain.
  2. Even years after an auto accident you can have restricted range of motion of the neck.  That’s because of damage to the important spinal joints in this region.  The problem can persist for years if it isn’t taken care of properly.
  3. Whiplash victims are also more likely to have weak neck muscles, especially in the smaller, deeper muscles that guide neck posture.  Instead, the larger muscles take over and develop tightness, muscle knots, and pain.

The good news is that research (conducted by AR Gross and others and published in the Journal of Rheumatology in 2007) points us towards the best treatment for whiplash.  Their article covers a variety of treatment methods for neck pain, headache, and pinched nerves, three common whiplash symptoms.

Only one type of treatment was backed by the strongest level of evidence: the combination of

  • exercise,
  • stretching and
  • hands-on (manual) therapy to mobilize the joints and eliminate the muscle knots.

Dr. Lavine has been an innovator in the use of movement and touch to promote health since 1981. He practices in New York City and Princeton, NJ.


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