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Cervical Collars and Whiplash

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The majority of people who suffer a whiplash type injury as a result of an automobile accident are instructed to wear a neck brace but, an abundant amount of research suggests that neck braces, also known as cervical collars, may actually cause more harm than good.

A new study shows that individuals who experienced whiplash have a better chance of recovering from their injury and symptoms without the use of a cervical collar. In addition, these findings, together with previous studies, also suggest that individuals may have better recovery results with active treatments such as chiropractic care and exercise.

Researchers from the Mexican Institute of Social Security analyzed and evaluated the medical records of 100 individuals with whiplash that had received treatment in emergency rooms. From them, 68% of the affected people were recommended to wear cervical collars along with anti-inflammatory drugs while 32% of the affected people were only recommended the medications. The results of the research indicated that the people wearing cervical collars were most likely to miss work than those people who didn’t wear cervical collars. Even within the 15% of individuals who didn’t miss work, they admitted to not wearing their neck braces.

Other studies have also demonstrated that the use of cervical collars can prolong pain and disability in individuals with whiplash injuries. A 2008 meta-analysis of recent studies on whiplash treatment found that cervical collars are fundamentally meant to be used in cases of spinal fractures for it to be beneficial. It’s use in other types of injuries or conditions can actually prevent recovery.

The function of cervical collars is to immobilize the spine in order to prevent further damage or injury. Nonetheless, the neck’s inactivity resulting from the use of cervical collars can eventually cause muscle degeneration and decreased function. Studies today show that the use of active treatments for whiplash injuries as a result of an automobile accident, or other sources, are more effective in treating the musculoskeletal injuries.

Chiropractic treatment is most commonly sought to treat whiplash. Chiropractic care for treating this type of injury includes neck adjustments and manual manipulation, followed by gentle stretches and exercises to help speed up the rehabilitation process. By re-aligning the cervical spine and correcting tissue damage as a result of the injury, a chiropractor can help restore the affected individual’s normal mobility and decrease their pain and other symptoms. Including one study demonstrated that chiropractic treatment considerably improved the symptoms of up to 93% of individuals with whiplash injuries.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez

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The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to contact us. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN* email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com phone: 915-850-0900 Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*