Whiplash research

Whiplash brainstem

Whiplash confirms what we already know; pain and arthritis. A brainstem injury is not uncommon leading to many of the previously dismissed symptoms.

In the past it has indeed been a domain of controversy, but the scientifically proven facts now conclude that these disputes are largely manufactured, forwarded by those

  • who may benefit unjustly after an MVA, or
  • insurance companies who, reluctant to pay out, are focused on proving that whiplash in the main is of little significance, and 
  • who are simply not up on the facts.

The question as to whether neck pain and headache after an MVA are invented deceptively was the subject of a literature review published in probably the most authoritative medical journal, Spine.

Their conclusion was that reports that MVA injuries are feigned had no scientific foundation.

The validity of whiplash has been discussed and debated in journals for decades. Some writers have published articles suggesting that spinal damage from whiplash could only occur above certain speeds; others have indicated that the condition is purely psychological. Yet still others conclude that in many instances the injury is magnified in order to acquire unjust gain.

The researchers conclude that such reports are in not in accordance with the bulk of the published literature. They state that the consequences of whiplash are not at all uncommon and are experienced by a large proportion of those injured.

The researchers undertook a literature search for articles arguing against the validity of whiplash injuries, and then studied the methodology to determine if the researchers' conclusions were scientifically valid.

The authors of the current critique found that all of the articles contained significant methodologic flaws with regard to their respective authors' statements refuting the validity of the whiplash syndrome.

As a result of the current literature review, it was determined that there is no epidemiologic or scientific basis in the literature for the following statements. THESE STATEMENTS ARE FALSE:

  1. whiplash injuries do not lead to chronic pain,
  2. rear impact collisions that do not result in vehicle damage are unlikely to cause injury, and
  3. whiplash trauma is biomechanically comparable with common movements of daily living.
Cervical kyphosis in bronze

This poor bronze sculpture of the head and neck is in need of research whiplash. See how the normal curve, called the 'lordosis' has been reversed? You can see the bronze in a small Dutch village called Koudum. I'm sorry I didn't buy it, it displays in such a memorable way the neck and arm pain that is so frequently a feature of whiplash.

Here's what it looks like on X-ray.

Kyphosis cervical spine

This, below, is the "normal" lordosis. Chalk and cheese, eh.

Lordosis normal cervical spine


FROM: SPINE JOURNAL 1996 Whiplash research

Objective: To determine the prevalence of cervical facet joint pain among patients with chronic neck pain and headache (more than 3 months' duration) after whiplash injury.

Methods: Two different local anaesthetics and a placebo injection of normal saline were administered in random order and under double-blindfolded conditions.

Results: Among patients with dominant headache revealed that 50% of the patients had C2-C3 facet joint pain. Overall, the prevalence of cervical facet joint pain was 60%.

Conclusion: Cervical facet joint pain is common among patients with chronic neck pain after whiplash. The Symptoms of whiplash abound as anyone in practice will confirm. This research has survived challenge with placebo-controlled investigations and has proven to be of major clinical importance.

The Cervical Facet syndrome is one of the most common conditions seen in the Chiropractic environment. Click here for more about the Cervical Facet Syndrome ...


Whiplash research proves that cervical acceleration deceleration injuries result in significant structural damage.

Uncinate process showing the vertebral artery.

The so called uncinnate processes make up the joints of Luschka. In any whiplash, but particularly that from the side, the uncus is very prone to injury.

Because of their location immediately adjacent to the foramen where the nerve emerges,  and the vertebral artery passes, their predilection to become arthritic after a whiplash, means that untreated whiplash patients are often years later subject to severe pain in the arm.

Arm pain

Arm pain is a common complaint, years later; this is what whiplash research is trying to establish.

Moreover, low grade irritation of the nerve roots is frequently the underlying cause of the many arm pain syndromes that face the chiropractor on a daily basis.

Read more about CHIROPRACTIC HELP Whiplash and the Joints of Luschka ...


FROM: SPINE JOURNAL 2003 Whiplash research

Human subjects were exposed experimentally to a single whiplash-like perturbation, using aware and surprised subjects.

Objective: To determine how awareness of the presence and timing of a whiplash affects the onset and amplitude of the neck muscle response.


  1. Cervical paraspinal amplitudes were 260% larger and angular head accelerations in flexion were 180% larger in surprised subjects than in alerted subjects.
  2. Surprised subjects exhibited a 25% larger head retraction than aware subjects.

Conclusions: The larger retractions observed in surprised likely produce larger tissue strains and may increase injury potential. Females are more prone to injury.

Arthritis: Whiplash untreated leads inexorably to immobilisation arthritis. Read more about neck pain and ARTHRITIS …

Uncinate process on x-ray showing DJD.

Whiplash Chiropractic treatment

Whiplash Chiropractic is an every day event in our clinics. Whether it's a fresh injury, like the girl who fell from her galloping horse this week, or the woman with radiating pain down her arm from a whiplash thirty years ago that was poorly managed at the time, each and every whiplash should be carefully and thoroughly assessed.

Otherwise, this process continues remorsely, with us being unaware that serious, permanent, irreversible changes are occuring:

Whiplash > spinal subluxations > immobilisation arthritis > chronic neck pain, headache and arm pain.

It happens as surely as night follows day.

A sobering whiplash researched fact is that, if you've had neck pain for six months, it will probably never go away completely, no matter what the treatment.

The moral of Whiplash Research is that you have six months after an injury to get it sorted out. What remains at the end of that period is probably with you for life.

Searching for something specific? Just type it in here: 

Immobilisation arthritis

Immobilisation arthritis is a common finding after MVAs, so yields whiplash research.

One of the most disturbing features of whiplash is that years later the spine becomes arthritic. The reason for this is that fixated and subluxated joints do not receive the proper nutrition that they are due. The imbibing of oxygen and nutrient rich synovial fluid is limited with consequential development of what physiologists now call immobilisation arthritis.

Chiropractic help

Chiropractors are inundated years after injury with patients suffering from the consequences of an old whiplash injury.

Complicating the issue is the hoards of lawyers trying to make a very fast buck; but whiplash research is uniquivocal. Motor accidents that forcibly give the spine acceleration deceleration injuries years later yield arthritic spines due to immobilisation arthritis.


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  2. Whiplash chiropractic
  3. Whiplash research

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.

Brachial plexus

The brachial plexus of nerves that supply the arm.

Chiropractic first poster.
The inter scalene triangle through which the nerves to the arm must pass.
Diagram showing how the thoracic outlet can cause arm pain.
Thoracic outlet surgery is a very delicate business.

Arm pain

1. Shoulder

Shoulder pain.

Frozen Shoulder

A man with a frozen shoulder.

Rotator cuff

The muscles involved in a rotator cuff strain.

"My thumb, forefinger and middle finger went weak after cuff surgery."

"Hello John, I take it you've been back to the surgeon.

It's probably temporary inflammation of the median nerve, but of course could be worse... I'm afraid I don't think chiropractic has anything to offer at this stage.

Once everything has healed up, if you don't get the strength back, or your fingers remain numb and tingly, then I'd consult a local chiro to see if there is also a problem in your neck or the first rib.

Dr B"

Letter from reader looking for advice.

Rotator cuff surgery.

2. Elbow

Path of the radial nerve.

Elbow pain

The tennis elbow muscles.

3. Wrist

The median nerve entrapment sites.
Diagram showing how the pronator teres muscle can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.

How bad is your arm shoulder hand pain?