Whiplash and Chiropractic Care: Children Suffer, Too

This article is the continuation of Dr. Langlitz's article "Symptoms of Whiplash and Chiropractic Care."

The aforementioned does not exclude children. In fact, children involved in automobile accidents are often neglected in these types of injuries when in actuality, they suffer from the same symptoms and are at a greater risk for damages. Adding fuel to the fire, a number of insurance companies object to paying for the care of children involved in automobile accidents.
Female Doctor Examining the neck of a young girl wearing a neck brace.Children involved in automobile accidents are often neglected in these types of injuries when in actuality, they suffer from the same symptoms and are at a greater risk for damages. Photo Source: 123RF.com.Vehicle size. When both are equal, even an 8 mph collision produces two times the force of gravity or a 2-G acceleration of the car, and a 5-G acceleration of the head. This magnification of the force gives rise to the name, Whiplash.

Headrest position. This can make an injury much worse if too low, and even at the right height, it must be close enough to catch the head in time (about 2 inches). A seat that is reclined to far will increase this distance, as will poor posture and driving habits if leaning forward. The position of the head is important. When turned to the side, for instance, it can only move about half as far as a straightforward position. Hence, all the G forces are localized to one side of the spine, substantially increasing the severity of injuries.

Age plays an important role because as the body becomes older, ligaments become less pliable, muscles weaker and less flexible, and decreases in range of motion.

Women and children seem to be injured more seriously than men. This is most notable due to the fact that they tend be shorter. Because of this, they are either too close to the steering wheel/airbag and or have improper fitting shoulder harness/seatbelts.

And pre-existing health problems such as arthritis, lend to the severity of the injuries.


The chiropractic approach to these types of injuries is to use specific, gentle chiropractic adjustments to help restore spinal function. Chiropractic adjustments (also called spinal manipulations) are one of the only proven remedies for whiplash injuries.

The Quebec Automobile Insurance Society provides all car insurance in the Canadian Province of Quebec. They pay so many whiplash claims that in 1989 they commissioned a task force to study all scientific information on the care of whiplash. After three years reviewing 10,382 articles on neck injuries the society concluded that most interventions for whiplash injuries were unproven. Yet, they recommended spinal manipulations. Their conclusions are below.

Don’t Wait to Get Examined

The myth, "If I don’t have pain right away, I’m O.K.". Whiplash injuries can be so slight, at first you don’t even know you are injured, or extremely severe with multiple broken bones. Regardless whether or not there was any damage to the car.

The Truth… Even if you feel normal after an accident, with no symptoms, you should be thoroughly examined. Symptoms can be delayed for days, and in some cased may not surface for years. Worse, whiplash can still be causing symptoms some five years, and in the long run, can cause secondary problems such as osteoarthritis and premature disc degeneration. This delay in symptoms and the long-term consequences make it very important to get examined after any accident.

References: Stephen M. Forman & Arthur Croft. Whiplash Injuries: The Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Syndrome (Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore), 2nd edition, 1995. "Quebec Task Force Rewrites Whiplash Protocols." Dynamic Chiropractic, June 5, 1995, Vol. 13, No. 12, p. 28.

Who Pays the Doctor’s Bills?

Automobile accidents are covered 100% by insurance companies. Workmen’s compensation injuries are covered 100% by insurance companies.

What to do in Case of an Accident

Just follow these simple steps we have outlined here for you. If you have further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information.

Facts on Whiplash

1.In a series of recent human volunteer crash tests of low speed rear impact collisions, it was reported that the threshold for cervical spine soft tissue injury was 5 mph (delta V) (17).

2.Other reports have shown that crashed cars can often withstand collision speeds of 10 mph or more without sustaining damage (13-15,26,41). Thus: the concept of "no crush, no cash" is simply not valid.

3.Recent epidemiological studies have shown that most injury rear impact accidents occur at crash speeds of 6 mph to 12 mph (19,20)--the majority at speeds below the threshold for property damage to the vehicle.

4.A number of risk factors in rear impact accident injury have now been verified including: rear (vs. other vector) impact (5,8,45, 47,48,51,1 54,155,166-174), loss of cervical lordotic curve (55,68), preexisting degenerative changes (50,53,55,155,164), the use of seat belts and shoulder harness (165,167,171,175), poor head restraint geometry (7,19,176), non-awareness of the impending collision (6,9,15,174), female gender (40,43-46,50), and head rotation at impact (23,49).

5.The notion of litigation neurosis has been rather definitively dispelled (23,44,45,50-63).

6.Once thought to suggest minimal injury, a delay in onset of symptoms has been shown to be the norm, rather than the exception (8,15,21,23,63,81,82,84,92,10,147,148,1).

7.Mild traumatic brain injury can result from whiplash trauma. Often the symptoms are referred as the postconcussion syndrome. This condition, often maligned in the past, has now been well-validated in recent medical literature (88,159-161).

8.A recent outcome study of whiplash patients reported in the European Spine Journal found that between one and two years post injury, 22% of patients' conditions deteriorated (153). This second wave of symptoms has been observed by others as well (81).

9.Radanov et al. (23) followed whiplash patients through time and reported that 45% remained symptomatic at 12 weeks, and 25% were symptomatic at 6 months. Other researchers have reported time to recovery in the most minor of cases at 8 weeks; time to stabilization in the more severe cases at 17 weeks; and time to plateau in the most severe categories as 20.5 weeks (153). Thus, the notion that whiplash injuries heal in 6-12 weeks is challenged. (Incidentally, there never has been any real support for this common myth.)

10.Each year, 1.99 million Americans is injured in whiplash accidents (1,35).

11.Of the 31 important whiplash outcome studies published since 1956 (19 published since 1990 pooling patients from all vectors of collision (i. e., rear, frontal, and side impacts), a mean of 40% still symptomatic is found. For rear impact only, a mean of 59% remain symptomatic at long- follow-up.

12.Although estimates vary, about 10% of all whiplash victims becomes disabled (79).

13.The Quebec Task Force on Whiplash-Associated Disorders (2) has been criticized on the basis of potential bias, study design, the use of ambiguous and misleading terminology, and for developing conclusions that are not supported by the literature.

14.The chiropractic profession has developed its own guidelines for management of whiplash patients.

Material © Healthy Spine
Used by Permission

Updated on: 01/08/19
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Chiropractic Care: Symptoms of Whiplash
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Chiropractic Care: Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash injuries, whether from a car accident, sports, or an accident at work, require a thorough chiropractic examination.
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