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Chronic Whiplash Caused by PTSD

Chronic Whiplash Caused by PTSD - El Paso Chiropractor
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According to new research, post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can increase an individual’s chance for developing severe symptoms after suffering a whiplash-type injury during an automobile accident.

The new study found that approximately 25.7% of individuals with whiplash injuries also experienced post traumatic stress disorder which adversely influenced their physical symptoms. Prior studies had suggested that PTSD and hypersensitivity to pain could ultimately increase the risk for an individual to develop chronic whiplash symptoms. From the research however, it remained unclear how psychological symptoms could influence an individual’s experience with pain and impairment. Furthermore, other conditions associated with whiplash injuries include a wide variety of symptoms, from which not all people suffered from PTSD or hypersensitivity.

A study conducted by Ashley Pedler and Michele Sterling of the University of Queensland in Australia was utilized to determine whether individuals with whiplash and hypersensitivity could be categorized according to their symptoms. The study involved 331 patients who had experienced a whiplash injury approximately within 3 months from the automobile accident. Each patient was evaluated for neck pain, disability, cervical range of motion, mental health, and PTSD as well as hypersensitivity.

The researchers found that 43.5% of the individuals did not experience symptoms of hypersensitivity or PTSD, in spite of them being encountered with symptoms of pain and disability. From the individuals who had moderate to severe hypersensitivity and PTSD, their symptoms for neck pain and disability were considerably worse. These were also mostly identified as older individuals compared to those with no hypersensitivity or PTSD symptoms. The study also indicated that hypersensitivity alone did not affect the severity of physical symptoms in individuals with whiplash injuries but, in fact, those with PTSD alone demonstrated much more severe symptoms of pain and impairment.  

Almost a quarter of the people in the study presented signs and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, implying that PTSD management treatment could benefit these individuals. Prior research concluded that cognitive behavioral therapy can impact both the physical and psychological consequences of developing chronic whiplash symptoms.

Whiplash, PTSD and Muscle Injury


When treating individuals with whiplash-associated disorders, its essential to diagnose the presence of both psychological as well as physical symptoms. Reducing the pain, discomfort, and impairment symptoms an individual might be experiencing could help decrease overall levels of stress and anxiety, which can further help reduce any symptoms. Chiropractic treatment can efficiently help relieve an individual’s physical symptoms as well as helping reduce their psychological symptoms.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez



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