Monday, November 20, 2017

Treatment And Prevention Of Whiplash Injuries


By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

The unique forces generated during a motor vehicle collision (MVC) cause more than 100,000 whiplash cases in Canada each year.  This article will specifically focus on the treatment and prevention of whiplash injuries.

The term WAD (Whiplash Associated Disorder) is used to describe a range of injuries that can be attributed to whiplash.  This may include:  neck pain, whole body muscle pain/ache, jaw pain, referred arm pain, shoulder or other joint pain, mid back pain, low back pain, headaches, dizziness, and tinnitus.

WAD Grades 1 and 2 represent the majority of whiplash cases and are amendable to conservative management.  Early treatment and consultation can greatly improve the recovery process and prevent future complications and chronic pain.  Effective treatment strategies may include: pain controlling modalities such as electrotherapy and acupuncture to help facilitate and promote activity and functioning; manual and soft tissue therapy to assist in the healing of injured tissues; education on how to safely re-integrate into activities of daily living; and rehabilitative exercises that may include range of motion, flexibility, strengthening, and balance/coordination training.  An independent home exercise program should also be provided.

The goal of treatment is to get the injured individual back on their feet and up to their normal level of activity.  The majority of people with WAD Grades 1 and 2 experience no significant disruption to their normal activities of daily living.  Some may experience a temporary disruption to their normal activities, but usually improve after a few days or weeks.  Occasionally, symptoms may persist over a longer period of time.  A return to normal activities of daily living may be assisted by active treatment and rehabilitative exercise prescription as described above.

Included below are some tips that may help prevent a MVC and/or whiplash injury (courtesy of the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors):

1.    Drive defensively.  Always anticipate the actions of other drivers.

2.    Wear your seatbelt at all times.

3.    Make sure your headrest is positioned properly, that is, the top of the headrest should be no lower than the top of your ear.  If more than one driver uses the car, remind each other to always check the headrest height.

4.    Never operate cell phones or other electronic equipment while driving.

5.    When road conditions are poor (i.e. icy, wet, dark, or crowded), slow down accordingly.

6.    Be sure your car is always in good working order, particularly your brakes, tail lights, headlights, and directional signals.

7.   Engage in regular physical activity consisting of cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training.  This will help keep your body strong and offer some protection in the event your are involved in a MVC.

If a whiplash injury is interfering with your activities of daily living, consider chiropractic care.  A chiropractor can prescribe appropriate conservative therapy, rehabilitation and self-management strategies specifically for you.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Understanding Whiplash Injuries

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

Whiplash is a common injury that can be experienced following a motor vehicle collision (MVC).  There are more than 100,000 whiplash cases in Canada each year.  The unique forces generated during these collisions can stress biological tissues and result in pain and decreased functioning for those affected.  This article provides a review of whiplash specifically focusing on the mechanics of injury, the associated symptoms, and general guidelines for the evaluation of any accompanying injuries.

Although rear-end collisions are the most commonly reported mechanism of whiplash injury, an injury may also occur following side and head-on collisions.  The forces generated from these types of impacts thrust the head (and to a lesser extent the entire body) back and forth, much like a snapping whip.  Injury results because the body is unable to compensate adequately for the speed of head and torso movement from the acceleration forces generated at the time of impact.  This will put stretch, compressive and shear stresses on biological tissues such as muscles, ligaments, joints and nerves.  As a result, this can generate pain symptoms, and affect range of motion, strength, coordination, and balance.  The onset of whiplash symptoms may immediately follow a MVC or may gradually develop over the first 24-72 hours.  A later onset of symptoms does not necessarily indicate a more serious injury.

Neck pain is frequently associated with whiplash injuries.  However, the whiplash mechanism may also cause injury and symptoms that include: whole body muscle pain/ache, jaw pain, referred arm pain, shoulder or other joint pain, mid back pain, low back pain, headaches, dizziness, and tinnitus.  The term WAD (Whiplash Associated Disorder) encompasses all of these potential symptoms and is commonly used to grade the degree of injury present.  Of the four Grades of WAD, Grades 1 and 2 represent the majority of whiplash cases.

Evaluation of whiplash injuries should include a proper medical history, along with a physical examination consisting of inspection, palpation for tenderness, range of motion, strength, neurological, orthopaedic and functional testing.  Signs of serious injury, such as fracture, are usually evident in early assessments and may require further diagnostic testing such as x-ray, CT scan, or MRI.  Chiropractors are healthcare professionals skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of whiplash injuries and are commonly involved in the management of WAD.

When an individual sustains a whiplash injury, injured tissues can become stiff and weak when they are not used, which can further exacerbate pain symptoms.  Therefore, a return to daily activities after whiplash injury is extremely important for successful healing as extended rest may prolong recovery.  Healing and a return to daily activities may be facilitated with active treatment and rehabilitative exercise prescription.  Join us next time when we specifically take a closer look at the treatment and prevention of whiplash injuries.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Monday, November 6, 2017

2017 Record Reader Award Results

The results of the 2017 Record Reader Awards were recently published and...

WE WON!!!




New Hamburg Wellness Centre was awarded the following:

  • Favourite Chiropractic Clinic - DIAMOND

  • Favourite Massage Therapy Clinic - GOLD

  • Favourite Alternative Medicine Clinic - DIAMOND


Thank you for your support.  We are extremely proud and honoured to have received your nominations and votes for the last four years in a row!


Come visit us at 338 Waterloo Street, Unit 9 in New Hamburg.
New patients are always welcome!
519-662-4441