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Chiropractic Research Review

Early Intervention Benefits Whiplash Patients

Despite innovations in automotive design, the number and proportion of whiplash injuries to the cervical spine have increased substantially from the 1970s to the 1990s. Although no single treatment protocol has been demonstrated as effective for managing whiplash, several studies provide evidence in favor of active movement and/or encouragement to return to the preinjury activity level.

This study compares the effectiveness of an active repetitive motion self-mobilization protocol (consistent with

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
McKenzie principles) with the use of a standard treatment for acute whiplash injuries. The standard treatment consisted of a patient educational brochure, a soft cervical collar and instruction on movement exercises. Active treatment and standard treatment differed primarily in the number and nature of the home exercises: active treatment included rotation exercises to be performed 10 times every hour; standard treatment included exercises performed only a few times each day. Specific attention was paid to the relative importance of early vs. delayed initiation of treatment.

Results showed that initiation of early repetitive motion after whiplash injury decreased neck pain more than standard treatment. The authors suggest in their conclusion that this type of active home treatment is an ideal form of rehabilitation because it expends only small resources within the health care system.

Rosenfeld M, Gunnarsson R, Borenstein P. Early intervention in whiplash-associated disorders. A comparison of two treatment protocols. Spine 2000:25(14), pp1782-87.

Chiropractic Research Review

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