Have you or any of your loved ones ever been involved in a car accident? Are you familiar with the health repercussions following a car collision? One of the most common issues that develop after a car accident is known as “whiplash associated disorder.” Whiplash associated disorder is a post-concussion syndrome that manifests in a range of symptoms following neck injury and that can be present for many years following the accident. A clinical case study conducted by Dr. Theresa Lee, member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, found that acupuncture orwas an extremely successful treatment option for a patient suffering from Whiplash associated disorder symptoms for over two decades.
Dr. Lee’s patient was involved in a car accident while she was pregnant with her youngest son. After suffering a car accident that lead her to develop whiplash associated disorder and struggling for over 23 years post-accident with the detrimental and debilitating health symptoms, acupuncture provided the relief she was desperately needing. Due to the pregnancy, proper diagnostic imaging was not performed in order to protect the fetus from exposure to radiation. Since imaging wasn’t performed on this patient, the neck injury she suffered from the accident wasn’t correctly identified and she was sent home with a prescription of pain killers. On the years following the accident, Dr. Lee’s patient suffered from severe headaches and chronic pain in her upper body, back and neck. The patient tried multiple treatment options and none of them yielded the results that she was looking for until she was treated with acupuncture. After the first acupuncture treatment the patient stopped having headaches and felt emotionally relieved despite the continuation of her back pain. After the fourth treatment, the trigger points that the patient had on her neck area due to the accident disappeared. After the sixth treatment, the patient no longer reported bodily pain or discomfort. The results of this case study suggest that acupuncture could be a successful treatment option for patients suffering from whiplash associated disorder and other post- car accident symptoms. For more information about acupuncture and whiplash associated symptoms, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or Seattle Car Accident Help.
Filed under Acupuncture, Back pain, Chronic pain, Cupping, Headache, knee pain, Neck pain, osteoarthritis, Pain relief, Shoulder pain, TMJ
Sam Robinson* is a healthy 60 years old male. He has gone through many physical traumas in his life such as multiple broken bones and different work related injuries but he is otherwise healthy. He presented to our clinic because of his brother’s referral. At initial visit, he reported that his left shoulder pain is an insidious onset and was worsening over the last 2 weeks. He did not recall any trauma and injury to the left shoulder. Sam explained that although he has been through many injuries and traumas, this pain was nothing like them. It was the WORSE pain he has ever felt. The shoulder pain was dull and occasionally sharp. He was getting about one hour of sleep every night due to his shoulder pain. During physical exam, it was found that he has decreased range of motion with the arm secondary to pain.
Acupuncture was performed and pain subsided tremendously. He reported pain to be 1-2/10 after the first treatment. We also talked about naturopathic treatments that can be conducted at home to help speed up healing. Sam was advised to taking omega-3s to help decrease inflammation of the shoulder. We also spoke about dietary changes such as avoid nightshades (potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes) which can potentially aggravate his symptoms.
Sam was asked to return for the second treatment the same week but was not able to make it until one week after the first treatment. He reported that he has been following the naturopathic treatment protocols and that the pain relieved for 4 days and is now started slowing coming back. The second treatment was preform and again he noticed pain decreased to about 1/10. He range of motion noticeably improved after the treatment.
After a series of six treatments, Sam is pain-free. He is now receiving acupuncture once every month for general health maintenance and wellness.
*name changed for confidentially purposes.
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).