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Chiropractic For Whiplash

Here is an interesting fact for you: according to a study conducted on behalf of Cooper Tire, the average American spends around 8.5 hours driving per week.¹ With that much time spent on the road, it is no wonder that there is an average of 16,438 car crashes in the United States per day. And while some of these crashes may seem minor – like a mid-morning fender bender in slow-moving, rush hour traffic – it is important not to underestimate the impact that an auto collision can have on your body. 

Your neck, for example, is particularly vulnerable during a crash. This is due to the “whipping” motion that rapid acceleration or deceleration can create on the head, causing damage within the soft tissue/structure of the neck. This type of damage can lead to misalignments of the vertebrae in your neck as well as injure the muscles and nerves.  

Once you have experienced whiplash, it may be hard to know the extent of the damage that has been done. You may wonder, what symptoms should I be looking out for? 


The 4 Grades Of Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD)

  • WAD I: when dealing with a low-level whiplash injury, a person may show very little to no symptoms. They aren’t experiencing any neck pain or stiffness and show no physical signs during an examination. This type of whiplash injury is the least severe but can still create misalignments in the body. For example, 82% of whiplash patients end up having an altered curve in their cervical spine². Chiropractic care has been shown to significantly help patients with WAD and correct any misalignments that have occurred in order to avoid any type of long term impact. 
  • WAD II: the most common level of injury comes with symptoms such as neck pain or stiffness, decreased range of motion, swelling, muscle spasms and weakness, etc. These symptoms can interfere with a person’s daily activities pretty significantly. It has been suggested that almost half of whiplash patients will suffer long term symptoms if they are still symptomatic after 3 months. Luckily, this is where chiropractic comes in! As experts in spinal health, Doctors of Chiropractic can evaluate your spine, muscles and nerves and then safely correct any misalignments that are showing as the primary source of pain or dysfunction. 
  • WAD III: symptoms of this level include everything listed above plus physical signs of nerve issues. These issues include reduced sensation, weak or absent reflexes, shooting pains, etc. A person with WAD III can still benefit from chiropractic care; however, based on the severity of symptoms, this care would be included as part of a larger care plan. 
  • WAD IV: as the highest grade of whiplash, WAD IV involves serious structural issues such as fractures or dislocations. These types of injuries should be immediately evaluated by a surgeon in order to address possible instability of the neck.


As you can see, there is a broad range of whiplash severity. This is why it is important to make an appointment with your chiropractor after even a minor auto accident. Addressing any issues right away is critical in order to avoid long term damage. In fact, up to 93% of chronic whiplash patients that receive chiropractic care see improvements³

At Summit Chiropractic Center, we are here to offer proper examinations of your spine and create an effective treatment plan to help you heal. If you are someone that is suffering from Whiplash Associated Disorder, give us a call or visit our website to schedule your new patient consultation today! 




¹ “Study: Americans spend 18 days in their car per year, forge close bonds with a vehicle.” Sean Szymkowski. 2019.

² “Whiplash and Chiropractic.” The Healing Series. Wellness Media Resource Materials, Inc. 2014.

³  Woodward MN, Cook JCH, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Chiropractic treatment of chronic ‘whiplash’ injuries. Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured 1996;27(9):643-645.

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