Real information for victims of Whiplash



(if you have it you already know this)

(check YOUR Whiplash symptoms below)

(Without the correct treatment)


I will be dedicating this site to providing real information on whiplash injuries, what whiplash is, how it affects your body and mind, what to expect with this injury, what treatments are effective and nutritional support that can speed recovery remarkably. There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation on whiplash type injuries out there. Whiplash is very real, with predictable symptoms and course of recovery. Without proper treatment there is a very high probability of long term consequences and I want people to know this and what it takes to help prevent this condition from creating permanent problems.

Remember always that only YOU are in charge of your case. It is your well being both physical and in some cases financial that is on the line. The doctors are not in charge, the insurance companies are not in charge, the lawyers are not in charge - YOU ARE! Those people all work for you in some capacity or in the case of the insurance companies or opposing lawyers, they may work against you. In no way, however, are they in charge. They will often try to take charge or act like they are in charge or tell you that you have to do what they say but they are NOT in charge of your case. If you feel like you need better or different treatment or better or different representation, then it is up to you to change that. You usually have much more power to do this than you think. Be civil, but stand your ground. Whiplash can cause too many permanent problems to let yourself get talked out of proper treatment.

Whiplash FAQs

Q: Isn't whiplash a sort of exaggerated or faked phenomenon in most cases. I have heard that most people are just trying to get money and claim all sorts of problems that don't exist.
A: In all my years of treating whiplash victims, I saw exaggeration only a couple of times. Even then the people really were hurt but it was obvious that they were exaggerating a little thinking of the settlement. It is amazingly easy to detect for two reasons. One, the pattern of symptoms with whiplash is very clear and predictable, especially in the early phases. Two, the objective findings such as the palpable inflammation you can easily feel over the injured areas and not in uninjured areas, muscle spasm, range of motion, fixation of the vertebral joints, none of which can be effectively faked. In fact there was a study done in which they had a set of doctors treat patients which included real whiplash victims and "ringers" who were not injured but trying to fake a whiplash. In not a single case were any of the doctors fooled. In some cases some of the fakers had whiplash victims currently in their families and even they could not effectively fake it. It is very easy to tell real whiplash injuries. Most of the problem I had in practice was getting people to be straight with me about their symptoms because they were so afraid of looking like they were exaggerating. So they would minimize or not tell me things. I learned after a while to educate them thoroughly to monitor and report their symptoms accurately. No exaggerating and no minimizing. 

Q: I am having headaches since my accident but I had headaches before too. I can't see how they can be attributed to the accident.
A: This is pretty straight forward and applies to any symptoms. Ask yourself two questions. One is "How bad are these headaches right now and over the period of time since the accident?" For instance where is the severity on a scale of 1-10, how often are you getting them, where in the head are they, how much are they interfering in your life such as not being able to do things, grumpiness with your family etc. Two is to remember as clearly as possible your life a month or two BEFORE the accident and go through the same set of questions. If there is a significant worsening or changes in the pattern or quality of headaches after the accident then it's a pretty good bet that the auto accident and whiplash  is causing some of your problems. You would be hard pressed to find someone who never had ANY head, neck, back or mood symptoms before they were in an accident, you have to compare as objectively as possible and reach a conclusion. It is not that subtle usually, you can tell if you think about it in this fashion. I will list a set of symptoms to go through this process with below. Keep in mind that whiplash symptoms can continue to worsen for several months, sometimes longer. This is especially true if you don't get  expert and EFFECTIVE treatment.

Q: Isn't it true that whiplash is essentially "self limiting"? Meaning it will get better with or without treatment.
A: While it is true that in many cases the symptoms will calm down some on their own, in the vast majority of cases there will be some level of permanent problems if the whiplash is not treated effectively. You would be amazed at how often a chiropractor hears something like "You know Doc, I had an accident back in 1982 and hurt my neck. I thought I was getting better and didn't see anybody about it, but it never completely got well and after a couple of years started getting worse again. I've had neck problems ever since." A very large percentage of the chronic, hard to treat patients in a chiropractors office can attribute their problems to an auto accident, often many years before. With effective, early treatment these permanent changes can be significantly reduced or eliminated.

That is the reason for my passion about whiplash education. This type of injury to the delicate and extremely important structures in the neck can have far reaching, permanent effect and THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE. There ARE effective treatments for whiplash but the quality of care varies tremendously. There is also a lot of ignorance and misinformation, partly because for so long medical doctors classed this as a primarily psychological or fake problem. Even with the amount of research showing this is not true and that whiplash is a very real injury, some of those attitudes still prevail.

Below are a few of the symptoms to look for. If you had a symptom to some degree before, apply the principals above to compare before and after the auto accident. I tried to list these in the order of most common but that can vary some from cases to case. Some of these are obvious but many people never associate them with a whiplash, especially if they don't appear for days, weeks or months after the auto accident.

Remember - Look objectively how you are NOW. How severe, how often, how much it interferes with your life makes you irritable etc. Then picture your life a month or two before the accident and look at that objectively. What symptoms, how bad, how often, were they interfering with your life. Compare that to now to get an idea of what the accident and whiplash injury has actually caused. Don't try to be "right" about whether you were injured or not, just look at the facts without minimizing or exaggerating any changes you have observed. Minimizing whiplash is the most common as most people are afraid they will be seen as a faker or exaggerating their symptoms. Since very few people are aware of what the symptoms of whiplash truly are, people will often discount what they are feeling or assume it is unrelated to the injury.

Whiplash Symptoms



1. Neck Pain - this can be anything from a mild ache and stiffness to severe pain especially with movement. This is the most common whiplash complaint but almost never the only complaint.

2. Restricted movement of the neck. Perhaps overall stiffness and limited motion, sometimes you can turn or bend your head one way but not another. Immediately following an auto accident and whiplash injury the neck may be very stiff as the muscles "guard" it from movement so the injured areas are not aggravated. Later, chronic spasm, pain and points of internal scar tissue restrict movement.

3. Palpable inflammation of the neck. This means you can feel the heat and sometimes swelling over the areas of the neck injured, when compared to the temperature of the rest of the body. This is usually most apparent early, especially during the first six weeks following a whiplash. This indicates that the whiplash caused torn and/or bruised tissue. Ruptured cells (tears) release chemicals that start the inflammatory process. The reason there can be tears is that during a whiplash injury the head and neck move faster than the muscles can adapt to. Since the muscles cannot lengthen fast enough to accommodate the movement, you can get small tears along muscles, tendons, ligaments and other tissue.

4. Headaches - again compare using the questions above.

5. Short term memory problems or less ability to focus and concentrate. This is present to some degree in most whiplash victims! Sometimes this shows up as getting disoriented or lost when you didn't used to. Also some people find they have less ability to handle numbers or other facets of their work, sometimes even a mild form of dyslexia or getting things backwards more than usual. Sometimes less awareness of where your body is in space which results in bumping into corners, desks etc.

6. Mood changes including irritability, "fragile" emotions, nervousness driving or even riding in a car, changes in personality etc. Ask your spouse or close friends and don't discount what they say about changes they have observed. It's harder to tell about these changes yourself than it is for someone to observe them. Again these changes are extremely common after an auto accident and are not something most people know to watch for. I used to run an ad about whiplash that started "YOU'RE NOT NUTS!"

7. Numbness or tingling in arms or hands. This comes both from the malfunctioning neck vertebra, the swelling and the chemical changes from inflamed tissue in the neck.

8. Low Back Pain - If you had some low back problems when you got in the auto accident, then you will likely experience a worsening of this within a couple of weeks. If you were not having significant low back problems when you got in the accident then it will likely start right about 2 months after the auto accident. The neck and low back are very interdependent. The spasm and malfunction in the neck will eventually reflect itself in the low back as well.

9. Sciatica or numbness and tingling in the legs or feet. - This can accompany low back problems for the same reason as numbness and tingling in the arms can accompany neck problems. The whiplash has either directly injured the nerve roots, or more likely, the inflammation, swelling and joint dysfunction from the whiplash injured tissue is irritating or compressing the nerve roots.

10. FATIGUE As with the mood and memory problems this is often caused by the inflammation affecting your brain. It can be a physical tiredness or can be one of the ways depression shows up.

11. Immune system problems. Often showing up as increased allergies or allergies you have never had before. This can also show up as increased susceptibility to colds, flu etc. Sometimes you just don't get over colds or flu as easily or they turn into bronchitis when they didn't used to. I see this in a fairly large percentage of whiplash cases. For instance I personally became allergic to poison ivy for the first time in my life after a severe whiplash and remained so for almost two years.

12. There are LOTS of other symptoms associated with whiplash so don't count anything out if it is something that appeared or got worse after your auto accident.