If you have ever suffered a neck injury such as whiplash you will be aware of how limiting and painful it can be. We rely on the neck to support our head and when the ligaments and muscles within the neck are damaged, the head’s range of movement is restricted.
Whiplash symptoms may occur immediately or minutes to hours after the initial injury; the sooner after the injury that symptoms develop, the greater the chance of serious damage.
- Neck pain
- Neck swelling
- Tenderness along the back of your neck
- Muscle spasms (in the side or back of your neck)
- Difficulty moving your neck around
- Pain shooting from your neck into either shoulder or arm
This may stop us from carrying out normal day-to-day tasks such as driving, sitting at our desks for long periods of time, and doing the house work and many of us are keen to find relief for whiplash injury symptoms as soon as possible. Some rely on the marvels of modern medicine while others turn to more unconventional techniques such as acupuncture.
In a randomized, controlled study involving 124 patients between the ages of 18 and 65 years, with chronic (85%) or subacute whiplash-associated disorder (grade I or II), treatment with acupuncture (12 treatments over the course of 6 weeks) was found to be associated with significantly greater reduction in pain intensity at 3 and 6 months follow-up, as compared to subjects who received a simulated but not real acupuncture treatment. The authors conclude, “Real acupuncture was associated with a significant reduction in pain intensity over at least 6 months.”
“A Randomized Trial Comparing Acupuncture and Simulated Acupuncture, for Sub-acute and Chronic Whiplash,” Cameron ID, Wang E, et al, Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2011 April 7; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Rehabilitation Studies Unit, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia).