Whiplash Injuries from Past Accidents Can Be Linked to Chronic Conditions

What is whiplash? It is defined as a neck injury caused by sudden forward, backward, or sideways movement of the head. We generally hear the term ‘whiplash’ in reference to car accidents. For example, when a person is hit head on, rear-ended, or hit from the side. But did you know that whiplash can occur during bike accidents, blows to the head, falls, ski accidents, and other head and neck trauma? What are some symptoms of whiplash?

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Pain in the arms, hands, feet or legs
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Neck stiffness and/or pain
  • Depression
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Nausea
  • Jaw or facial pain
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Fatigue
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Low back pain or stiffness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or even hearing loss
  • And many, many more!

You might wonder, “Isn’t it true that if I don’t have symptoms right away that I am okay?” No! Symptoms after many sports-related or auto accident-related traumas can be mild at first. A person may not even realize they have been injured. It is always a good idea to be examined, even if a person feels relatively fine after an accident. Symptoms may not show up for days, months, or even years.

What are some of these more severe conditions that result from neck/head injuries, sometimes years later? They can be immune related, neurological, pain and conditions such as:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Susceptibility to infection
  • ADHD
  • Seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis

Facts About Whiplash

Tests of low-speed, rear-impact collisions show that even at speeds of 5 mph a person can be injured. Most rear-impact accidents happen at speeds of 6-12 mph which place them below the threshold for property damage while still being able to cause neck trauma.

Some two million people are exposed to whiplash through auto accidents in the US every year.

Ligaments that support the neck can be overstretched (sprained) or torn when the head is suddenly jerked side to side or back and forth farther than normal. This results in vertebrae being forced out of their normal position.

Whiplash injuries can occur in falls on stairs or an icy sidewalk. They can occur in sports like hockey, football, skiing, cycling, gymnastics, ice skating, or boxing.

Can Upper Cervical Help Sufferers? How?

When a person of any age suffers an accident, they should have a proper spinal examination. This is necessary to assess whether there has been an injury to the neck. An upper cervical chiropractic specialist, such as Dr. Dan Spinato of Rancho Penasquitos, California, will use a specialized test and specific X-rays of the neck to see if there has, in fact, been injury to the upper neck. If so, an adjustment by hand is given to correct the subluxation. This can reverse, improve, and prevent numerous whiplash symptoms.


To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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Whiplash: when, why and what’s next.

You may have just been in a major auto accident and now have pain and symptoms diagnosed as whiplash. Whiplash is most commonly caused by rear end collisions which account for 15% of auto accidents in America. Recent studies are showing that whiplash can happen in even the smallest of fender benders at speeds as low as 5 miles per hour.1-4

What it is:

Whiplash is the result of the head being forced backwards suddenly and then all the way forward as a reflex as the head comes to a stop. This motion is like that of cracking a whip, hence the name. When the head goes forward it causes damage to the muscles, ligaments, and vertebral discs in the neck.

  • This can cause pain and disrupt the proper position of the bones in the neck.
  • 84% of people have reported pain after a rear end accident.
  • Seatbelts increase the chance of whiplash by 20%.
  • 25% of people have chronic whiplash symptoms for 5 years.
  • 86% continue to have conditions for 10.8 years.
  • 68% of people have damage and degeneration to the neck/cervical spine.

What to do:

The Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine has stated: “The Chiropractic Answer to Whiplash Chiropractic may offer the best opportunity for relief from the pain of whiplash”. In a study they conducted of 93 patients with varying symptoms, 83% improved under chiropractic care and 31% had complete resolution of symptoms.

In another study of 57 patients showed an average recovery time of 29 weeks under Chiropractic care. These patients all had whiplash and were only examined for the presence of misalignments/Vertebral Subluxation in the spine, and most importantly the upper neck. Not only was there relief of pain but also, improved range of motion, muscle strength, and alignment of the neck demonstrated by x-rays. The most important part of this study showed that patients who stayed under care for longer periods of time and received fewer chiropractic adjustments continuously improved to the point of maximum benefit.


1. Severy DM, Mathewson JH, Bechtol CO. Controlled automobile rear-end collisions: an investigation of related engineering and mechanical phenomenon. Can Services Med J 11:727-758, 1955.

2. McConnell WE, Howard RP, Guzman HM, et al. Analysis of human test subject kinematic responses to low-velocity rear-end impacts. SAE Tech Paper Series 930889, 21-31, 1993.

3. McConnell WE, Howard RP, Poppel JV, et al. Human head and neck Kinematic after low-velocity rear-end impacts: understanding "whiplash." 39th Stapp Car Crash Conference Proceedings 952724, 215-238, 1995.

4. Szabo TJ, Welcher JB, Anderson RD, et al. Human occupant kinematic response to low-speed rear-end impacts. SAE Tech Paper Series 940532, 23-35m 1994.

5. Deans GT,Magalliard JN,Malcolm K,Rutherford WH.Neck sprain-a major cause of disability following car accidents.Injury 1987;18:10-12.

6. Deans GT,Magalliard JN,Rutherford WH.Incidence and duration of neck pain among patients injured in car accidents. British Medial Jouranal 1986;292:94-95.

7. Watkinson A, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Prognostic factors in soft tissue injuries of the cervical spine.Injury 1991;22(4):307-309.

8. Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, Bannister G. Symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment. J Of Orthopedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-24.

9. McCoy HG, McCoy M. A multiple parameter assessment of whiplash injury patients undergoing subluxation based chiropractic care: a retrospective study. JVSR. 1997;1(3):51-61.


To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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Natural Alternative to Blood Pressure Medications: High Blood Pressure and Neck Problems

Hypertension and Neck Injuries 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension is the most common cause of preventable death in developed countries and it is a major risk factor for cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks and strokes which are the first and third leading cause of death in the US.

Traditionally, the treatment method of choice has been through the use of anti-hypertensive medication. Considering that anti-hypertensive medication has been on the market since the 1950s and the usage of these medications has increased over the years and the incidence of hypertension is also increasing; the current prevention and treatment methods appear to be unsuccessful and we should start looking for alternative methods of treatment.

One such alternative that warrants a closer look is specific chiropractic adjustments to the first cervical vertebra (referred to as C1 or the Atlas vertebra) which has been associated with reducing blood pressure to the equivalent of two-drug combination therapies in patients. This landmark study was published in 2007, indicating the connection between the upper neck and high blood pressure.

Natural Alternative to Blood Pressure Medications

A recent case study published by Dr. Jonathan Chung further investigates the connection. Dr. Chung, Dr. Brown and Dr. Busa published a compelling case study in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research. The patient in the case study was taking 2 blood pressure medications when beginning care. After the completion of an upper cervical chiropractic care program of 16 adjustments over several months the patient no longer needed to take any blood pressure medications.

As is a common situation the patient in the case study was involved in several motor vehicle accidents that resulted in head and neck trauma. It is believed that this type of head and neck injury can lead to problems with the brain stem and a reactionary increase in blood pressure.

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and you are looking for natural alternative to blood pressure medications then you should have a thorough neck evaluation by a trained upper cervical specialist.

To schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

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Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at http://www.powaychiropractor.net.

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NUCCA Chiropractic Care

What is NUCCA
The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) is an organization of Doctors of Chiropractic dedicated to patient care, education and research.

Spinal health care using the NUCCA procedures focuses on detecting and correcting a small misalignment in the upper neck area. Gentle, non-invasive adjustments don’t require any turning, twisting or popping.

Your upper cervical spine (neck) area influences all areas of your body. Injury or chronic misalignments can cause headaches, migraines, neck pain, low back pain, weakness and more.

The NUCCA technique is currently offered by less than 1% of all the Doctors of Chiropractic.

Before the NUCCA procedure can be performed, I will sit down with you and discuss your history and symptoms. If I determine that NUCCA can help, a thorough examination and x-rays will be done. A complete report of your findings and treatment options will be discussed. 

First adjustment
Precision x-rays are taken of the spine before any treatment begins. The adjustment is performed with the patient lying on their side and the doctor applying a very light pressure behind the earlobe. A full demonstration can be seen on the video above.

The NUCCA procedure can be summed up with 5 major distinctions as compared to traditional Chiropractic:

  • Gentle adjustment to the neck with no turning, twisting or popping.
  • Precision x-rays to measure before and after corrections.
  • Total body posture and balance improvement
  • Greater stability to the spine
  • Hold adjustments longer with fewer visits

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