Whiplash Can Be Life-Changing

Part of the confusion and controversy related to whiplash is caused by the fact that there are really two types, or levels of whiplash. The appropriate treatment depends upon which type/level you have. Most patients (80-85 percent) with whiplash recover in a few weeks or months, but in study after study 15-20 percent develop chronic pain lasting two years or longer.

  • The lucky 80-85 percent group usually have a sprain/strain type injury to the muscles or ligaments that responds well to restored movement by physical therapists or chiropractors, NSAIDS (like Advil, Motrin, etc.), and/or muscle relaxants.
  • The unlucky 15-20 percent with chronic pain is likely to have an injury to the facet joints, one or more intervertebral discs, or both.

These chronic whiplash cases usually respond best to more aggressive therapy, injections and occasionally surgery. Since it is often difficult for health care providers to determine immediately what type/level of whiplash that you have, early treatment is usually based on the assumption that you are one of the lucky 80-85 percent.

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Active Intervention Care

For decades the accepted initial medical treatment for whiplash was rest, limited motion (sometimes with a soft collar) for about 14 days and then gradual self mobilization. However, the more recent medical studies indicate that active intervention care to restore motion such as physical therapy or chiropractic care begun within 96 hours produces a much better long-term result.

This delayed treatment versus early treatment may explain why some older studies indicate that chiropractic manipulation is generally more effective for treatment of whiplash than medical care. So how can you get active intervention care started within 96 hours to get the best result? There are three basic problems:

  1. You cannot get physical therapy without a prescription from a physician.
  2. ER physicians do not prescribe physical therapy, and if you have a managed health plan, you cannot get an appointment with a primary care doctor for referral to a medical specialist or physical therapist within the optimum 96 hours.
  3. Even though you can see chiropractors without a prescription, most health plans or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) will not pay for them.

Recommendations For Treatment

Here at the Temple and Killeen law firm of Cure & Francis, our attorneys have worked with many personal injury clients injured by whiplash. Our standard recommendations are:

  1. If you are in pain and have not already been to the emergency room (ER) to get checked out, go as soon as practical.
  2. Call the office manager/head nurse of your primary care physician, tell about your symptoms and ask to be worked in for an unscheduled appointment.
  3. If you have already seen the ER physician or you do not have health coverage, you can use your "no fault" PIP or MEDPAY auto coverages (they will NOT make your premiums go up) to go directly to a chiropractor for treatment.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

If you are suffering from whiplash due to a car or truck accident, contact a whiplash lawyer at our Temple or Killeen, Texas, law offices or fill out our personal injury intake form.