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Real information for victims of Whiplash

(if you have it you already know this)

(check YOUR 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.




Here is a bit of information in a FAQ format.

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.


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 - Worse or different than before accident, 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. This shows up as "foggy", "spaciness", etc.Tiredness, not eating, getting dehydrated all affect you more than they used to.

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!" This is the most consistent symptom I see but you don't often hear about it.

7. NUMBNESS OR TINGLING IN THE HANDS OR AMRS. 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 OR 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. UNUSUAL 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.



We specialize in effective treatment for whiplash. We have developed techniques over the years which can bring the patient back to the point they were before the accident in most cases. If you really talk to people who have had whiplash in the past you will realize just how difficult this is. Many, many of the difficult cases that chiropractors treat can trace their now chronic problems to no treatment or inadequate treatment following their injury.

Following are the most important treatment points to include in a whiplash case.

1. Get treatment as soon as possible. Whiplash can be greatly helped even years later but for the best results treatment should be started within hours if possible. My patients who get in accidents know to call me right away, even if it is 10:00 pm. I will get them in immediately. I recently drove a 150 miles round trip after work to see a patient who had just been in an accident. I did not want her to wait three days until she could get in. I take whiplash very seriously. The sooner treatment is started the better. No one who has whiplash feels like doing anything "extra" at first. If they realized how much better they would immediately feel and function, they would get in right away. Waiting until you feel better to come in allows more scar tissue to form in critical areas. This prolongs recovery, increases symptoms and makes the case more difficult.

2. Use very gentle techniques at first, especially in the injured areas. It is essential to start treatment right away but the some chiropractic techniques can aggravate whiplash in the early stages. Even light adjustments with instruments directly on an injured area can be too much in certain cases. We have developed very effective treatment using gentle, subtle manual and instrument adjustments, soft tissue techniques, cranial-sacral type adjustments, emotional release techniques, trauma release techniques and many others so that you can start feeling better immediately in most cases. Most people come in right after a whiplash injury looking, spacy, bedraggled, disoriented and in pain. Usually they look and feel markedly better as soon as they receive the first treatment. No treatment gets great results in every single whiplash case but our results tend to be remarkably consistent and have gotten more so over the years. 

3. Use the proper nutrition to support the healing process. During the initial stages there are three important areas to address with nutrition. One is inflammation. Inflammation continues to cause further damage to the tissues and there are some great nutritional approaches to inflammation reduction now. Two would be addressing the spaciness, fogginess, memory and mood problems that accompany almost every whiplash case. This can be as important to being able to continue your employment as pain control can be. One of the biggest factors is that the inflammatory chemicals produced by the injury will destroy vitamin B12 in the brain. Proper brain function depends on this and other B vitamins. Proper supplementation can be very effective at reducing the mental and emotional changes that accompany whiplash. The third factor which is important both early in recovery and long term is providing the nutrition needed to rebuild the injured tissues. This can be greatly enhanced by the correct nutritional formulas and can be different for different patients.

4. Use the Cold Laser. The cold laser has been shown to be remarkably effective at promoting the healing of tissues. When used as part of specific chiropractic and kinesiology techniques it can go even farther and can greatly enhance the overall recovery.

5. Use complex kinesiology techniques to tailor each visits treatment to exactly what that patient needs now is a big part of why we get the results we do. In whiplash cases especially it allows more specific and gentler techniques which get better and faster results than chiropractic alone.

6. Release the Trauma! This is an idea and a technique we have developed ourselves. In almost every whiplash cases there is some defensiveness locked in the body. It is almost as if the body is still waiting tensely for the next blow to fall. There are a lot of levels of this. Even if very mild it interferes with healing as the muscle tone and posture is affected by this tension. In stronger cases it can make the person much more nervous driving or being a passenger in a car, sometimes to a debilitating degree. They tend to feel endangered by other drivers and traffic and vehicles in a way they didn't before the accident. This "trauma mode" is not that difficult to undo and get the patient back to normal but it MUST be very specifically done in order to get the best results with the case and to prevent this from being a long term problem for the patient.

7. Continue treatment until the patient is stable! This statement is misleadingly simple. It seems obvious but in very many whiplash cases it is not done. Many cases getting medical treatment or physical therapy and some cases with chiropractors are released before true stability is reached. Often patients are told something like "Well, you've had a whiplash. You can't expect to be pain free now!". Even if the initial care is pretty good, in many cases the patient will start to worsen again fairly quickly if treatment is stopped before true stability is reached. If treatment is continued until the point is stability is reached, the patient has a very good chance of little or no residual problems or worsening of his condition again.

This point of stability is usually pretty easy to determine. Most whiplash cases take a lot of care to keep symptoms under control and this will usually continue for months. There will certainly be continuing improvement for all this time but much more regular care is required than a non whiplash case to keep symptoms down and to keep them from worsening. When not yet stable the whiplash cases will usually get rapidly worse is treatment is discontinued. Then suddenly this is not true. There is little for the chiropractor to do and what does need to be done is more like any case rather than a whiplash case. More importantly the patient does not get worse when treatment is discontinued. The frequency of treatment will be lessened from once a week to two weeks and then to a month. Is there is little change the patient will be released.

Again, this is important! If the patient is treated correctly until this point of stability is reached they will usually do quite well, with little or no residual problems. That is NOT true if they are released before then.     

Please read about "REMODELING" of tissue following whiplash

Please Contact me if you have questions about whiplash or any symptoms following and auto accident.
If you are in Colorado Springs, Pueblo or Denver you may arrange for a no obligation consultation with me about your case.

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Daniel B. Flemming, D.C.
2590 Palmer Park Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80909