Can Whiplash Really Happen to YOU?

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Clear Lake Area Chiropractor Comments: You’re stopped at a red light awaiting a left turn into the grocery store when out of nowhere, you  hear the screeching of tires, you turn your head and look into the rear view mirror and see that you’re about to be hit from behind. Then “POW!”  The sudden force of the impact propels you back into your seat; your head hits the headrest and then bounces forwards, almost hitting the steering wheel.  You feel your body twist due to the angle of the seat belt and your sunglasses fly off and your purse sitting on the seat next to you flies into the dashboard and lands on the floor spilling its contents.  You’re not sure what just happened as it all happened so fast.  Is this a dream?

Can Whiplash Really Happen?


Tiny Car Accident flickr photo by cito17 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

After collecting yourself and calming down, you get out of the car to inspect the damage and talk to the driver that just ran into you.  You notice that right now, you don’t really hurt that much…. but you feel kind of dazed.  When you inspect your car, you surprisingly notice very little damage, but it sure felt like your car should be totaled based on the way it felt.  The other driver said he was checking the station on the radio and saw you too late.  He tried to stop and slammed on the brakes but it was too late.  He said, “…I couldn’t have been moving more than 5-10 mph when I hit you!”  You ask, “How could this possibly feel so….. hard an impact?  Was he lying to me? Do I have Whiplash? Can whiplash really happen?” There certainly wasn’t much damage to your car…maybe he was right???  When he asked you if you would, “…let it go,” and not call the police, you almost agree, but something stops you.  Even though there is little car damage and, “…he is a nice guy….,” you just don’t feel right in, “…letting it go.”

Within 15-30 minutes, you’re REALLY HAPPY you didn’t give in and take his advice as by now, your neck is really starting to hurt. You feel kind of nauseated and light headed.  Your head is beginning to pound and you feel like you better sit down.  When the police officer approaches he seems distant and you’re having difficulty hearing him.  Pretty soon, you notice others helping you onto a stretcher and attaching a neck brace prior to taking you to a local emergency room.  At the ER, you are confused about the details of the accident but piece together the best you can the events of the evening.  They take x-rays, recommend some Advil and ice, and tell you to contact your primary care physician if you have problems. They tell you that you’re going to hurt for a few days and “…that‘s normal.”  However, over the next several days, pain intensifies to a point where neck and headache pain is constant, you can’t sleep, your memory seems blurry, you can’t seem to concentrate and loose your place during thought and conversation…. something is REALLY WRONG!

Low Speed Collision Related Injury

This scenario is not atypical of a low speed collision related injury.  In fact, the less the car is damaged, the greater the impact is to the contents inside the car (this is called “elastic deformity”).  That’s because crushing metal absorbs the energy of the force (ie, “plastic deformity) and if the speed is “…too low” and little metal crushing/energy absorption occurs, the G-forces that occurred during the collision are transferred to the contents inside the vehicle and that force can be significantly greater than a crash that occurs at 2-4 times the 5-10 mph speed.  In general, when there is less damage to the car, be alert that the force exerted on the contents is greater than when car damage occurs.  This is why when cars crash during a car race, the race car basically falls apart, leaving the driver enclosed in a cage that prevents bodily damage, and they often walk away from the accident.

If you, a loved one, or a friend is struggling with whiplash residuals from a motor vehicle collision, you can depend on receiving an in-depth assessment and therapeutic approach at our chiropractic facility.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

The Body & Mind and Connection of Whiplash?

Clear Lake Chiropractor

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: The term “whiplash” refers to an injury to the neck muscles, the muscle attachments (tendons), ligaments, and sometimes the disks that lie between the vertebral bodies of the spine.  In a rear-end collision, the cause of whiplash occurs from a sudden, rapid acceleration of the body and neck as the car is pushed forwards.  In these first moments following impact, the head remains in the same place while the body is propelled forward.  This is followed by a “crack-the-whip” movement of the head and neck when the muscles in the front of the neck stretch like rubber bands and suddenly spring the head forwards, all occurring in less than 1 second.  The force on the head and neck is further intensified if the seat back is too springy, or angled back too far.  Also, if the headrest is too low, the head may ride over the top and more injury can result.

Treatment of whiplash

Neck x-ray flickr photo by TSayles shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

The treatment of whiplash varies from “watchful waiting” to a multidisciplinary team approach that includes neurology, physical therapy, chiropractic, psychology, and possibly surgery (rare).  In an article published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the relationship between clinical, psychological and functional health status factors was investigated in a group of patients with chronic whiplash-associated disorder (WAD).  A total of 86 patients with chronic WAD participated in the study and outcomes were tracked using questionnaires that measure pain, disability and psychological issues including depression, anxiety and catastrophizing.  Physical examination factors included measuring the cervical range of motion.  An analysis of the degree of neck disability and the relative contribution of physical vs. psychological factors revealed catastrophizing and depression played greater roles than did cervical range of motion.  This suggests psychological factors play an important role in the outcome of whiplash.

Finding a Chirpractor

The importance of this is that more than just the physical factors like range of motion should be focused on when treating chronic whiplash patients.  Answering the patient’s questions, explaining the mechanism of injury and how that relates to their specific condition, and addressing depression, anxiety, coping, and other psychological issues is very important. Discussing treatment goals with patients is also very important.  For example, making light of the injury by stating something like, “…you’ll be fine after the treatments,” may harm the patient as anything short of “fine” may be interpreted as failed treatment by the patient.  It is also important not to paint too dismal of a picture as that can have negative psychological effects as well, as this may suggest that they will never improve.  Explaining the difference between “hurt” and “harm” is of great value to the chronic whiplash patient as they are often told, “if it hurts, don’t do it.”  This sends an unfortunate message to the patient that any activity where an increase in pain occurs is “bad” when in fact, that activity may help the patient get better in the long run.  This can make or break an acceptable outcome as many may feel like they shouldn’t do anything and this can lead to unemployment, boredom, and the many psychological issues previously described.  The best advice is to remain active and try to ignore discomfort by staying within “reasonable activity boundaries.” Reasonable activity tolerance is learned as time passes and trying different activities for different lengths of time.  This type of coaching should be at the center of chronic whiplash management rather than over focusing on physical factors such as range of motion. If you would like to know more about whiplash or would like treatment, please contact your Houston chiropractor, Beecher Chiropractic!

What is Chiropractic Treatment of Whiplash?

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Clear Lake City Chiropractor Comments: Whiplash is basically an injury to the muscles, the muscle attachments (tendons), ligaments, and sometimes the nerves that exit the cervical spine.  The degree of injury is highly variable and depends on many factors, some of which include gender/body size (slender woman are especially at risk), awareness of the impending collision, head position at time of impact, the angle of the seat back (bent back is worse that upright), the position of the headrest (too low is common), the amount of vehicle damage (less damage can be worse due to energy transferred to the contents/occupants), the speed of the collision, and many others.

Self Portrait: Neck Brace. flickr photo by Jenny Leigh shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Therefore, when discussing the treatment approaches used by chiropractors, it is not appropriate to generalize since each case is so unique.  With that said, when a whiplash patient visits a chiropractor, the first step is obtaining as much information as possible.  A thorough history and examination are important in determining the treatment plan and help to determine severity of the injury.  Chiropractors often offer different types of treatment that may include: manipulation, physical therapy modalities such as muscle stimulation, relaxation, ultrasound, low level laser therapy, cervical traction, and others. Spinal manipulation (often referred to as an adjustment) addresses joint dysfunction and can be performed with one of several approaches. The first and quite common approach uses a high velocity, low amplitude (quick) approach where joint cavitation (the “crack”) often occurs.  Another approach is a low velocity, low amplitude technique where mobilization is used, which is more of a stretch to the end-range of intersegmental (between the vertebrae) motion and rarely, is there joint noise/cavitation.

Muscle relaxation or stimulation is performed for muscle dysfunction, which may include relaxation or stimulation techniques.  Gentle stretches to a muscle that has excessive tightness or, repeated contractions of a weak (“inhibited”) muscle is also commonly utilized and very helpful when muscle dysfunction is present.

Exercises are frequently prescribed by chiropractors.  These are taught in a supervised manner and when it is safely performed and understood, they can be performed at home, work, outside the office setting.  It may require a few sessions to ensure accuracy of the exercise performance.  Because of muscle spasm, joint dysfunction, and pain, patients often develop faulty postures or compromised movements that become “bad habits.”  To break these “bad habit” positions/postures, stabilization and sensory-motor retraining exercises can be very helpful.  These exercises retrain the nervous system to achieve better coordination and control movements and to maintain stability of the weakened neck muscles.

Advice on bend/lift/pull/push and/or work related activity is extremely important in order to avoid repeat exacerbations or “flare-ups” if not properly dwelt within the clinic.  Advice on recreational and home related activities is also very important for the same reasons.

The chiropractic whiplash treatment plan is unique for every individual person given the significant number of variable initially discussed.  One or more of the approaches discussed may be utilized.  If needed, chiropractors often partner with other doctors if there are medication or surgical requirements.  If you, a loved one, or a friend is struggling with whiplash residuals from a motor vehicle collision, you can depend on receiving a multi-dimensional chiropractic assessment and therapeutic approach at this office. We sincerely appreciate your confidence in choosing our office for your health care needs!

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment with the best chiroprator in Houston or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

Whiplash: Where Is My Neck Pain Coming From?

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Houston Chiropractic Doctor Comments: Last week while driving to work, you’re stopped at a red light and glance in the rearview mirror and notice that a car is approaching from behind way too fast.  The next thing you remember is the squeal of the tires and a loud crash with an accompanied sudden jolt as your car is propelled forward by the impact. Your initial reaction is one of shock, wondering is anyone hurt? How bad is my car damaged? Will there be another hit? Should I get out of the car? I’m going to be late for work! Within a few minutes, the police arrive and after about an hour of taking statements from the two drivers and a few witnesses, you decline an ambulance offer to take you to a nearby hospital for an examination as, “…this little stiffness and ache in my neck is no big deal.”  Happy you can still drive your car, you arrive at work an hour and a half late.  After reviewing the details of the crash with co-workers several times, you begin to notice a headache, your neck stiffening up and movements becoming limited and painful.  After another couple of hours and a few Ibuprofen, the neck pain has increased and you now have a whopping headache. You decide, “I better go see my chiropractor to see if something is wrong.”


After the exam and x-rays, the chiropractor shows you a chart and explains the mechanism of injury that usually occurs in a low Houston Whiplash Treatmentspeed rear-end collision.  A couple of things that were said really hit home in helping you to understand how such a seemingly minor crash can create so much pain.  The first is that it is not possible to voluntarily contract a muscle quick enough and “brace” to prevent the acceleration of the head. Upon impact, as the car is propelled forwards, the head initially goes backwards and then when the muscles in front of the neck are stretched to their limits, the head is then “whipped” forwards in a “crack the whip” type of response and all of this takes less than 600-700 milliseconds!  Because of the far limits of neck motion being reached during this process, the ligaments that hold the vertebra together are often stretched and/or torn.  This can be appreciated on the bending neck x-rays which shows one vertebra sliding forwards on the one below and the angle created being greater when compared to the surrounding vertebra.  The second point of discussion that stands out was the fact that your head was rotated at the time of impact from looking in the rearview mirror places the neck at a greater risk of injury because of the twisting motion that occurs during the “crack the whip” process.  Another interesting point: because there wasn’t a lot of car damage, the shock and force of the impact was not absorbed by crushing metal and that energy is therefore transferred to the contents in the vehicle, including the occupants.  That is why your briefcase ended up on the floor and your glasses flew off during the crash. Another point of discussion was made concerning the difference between genders and the degree of injury, as women are more likely to be injured more severely because of the less muscular and sometimes longer female neck.  The degree of injury is also at greater risk when there is osteoarthritis in the neck that pre-exists the crash.  An analogy of how a young sapling branch can bend without breaking verses the “old oak branch” which snaps and breaks when its only bent slightly. So, if you are a middle aged, female with a long slender neck with pre-existing arthritis looking in the rearview mirror prior to impact in a rear-end collision, ligament over stretching / tearing is highly probable.


In summary, it is important to obtain prompt evaluation and treatment by your chiropractor as soon as possible as when time passes without treatment, it is more difficult to bring about a reduction of pain and increased motion and, it will generally take longer.  Taking medication for pain only postpones the needed process of restoring movement and function of the neck so that should not be the only treatment.  In general, a “wait and watch” approach is not wise in these types of injuries. If you or a loved one is suffering with whiplash, sharing this information may be one of most significant acts of kindness that you can give to those that you care about.


Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!



Whiplash – The Cause of Pain

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Houston Chiropractor Comments: Many patients ask the question: “…why do I hurt so much now, and hardly hurt at all right after the accident?”  Another common question is: “…why neck pain after a minor car collision can last so long?”


Whiplash Cause of PainA study that investigated chronic pain and dysfunction in whiplash cases reported a soft tissue origin for injuries associated with low-speed collisions. This means the pain comes from the muscles, ligaments, joint capsules, the disk, but not from a pinched nerve that would send pain down the arm and/or create hand numbness or grip weakness.  The study also reported the point at which the neck buckles would only take one fifth to one-fourth of the weight of the person’s head (approximately 2.5 to 3 pounds) if one were to remove all of the supporting muscles, ligaments, and joint capsules.  With the muscles and soft tissues intact, there is a very complex buckling pattern that occurs in the neck during most rear-end collisions where the lower half of the neck bends opposite to that of the upper half creating an S-shaped curve (when looking at the neck from the side).  When this occurs, the vertebrae in the lower half of the cervical spine extend backwards while the upper half flex forwards, stretching the ligaments beyond the maximum elastic point and tissue tearing occurs. When ligaments stretch or strain, microscopic tearing starts at only 3-5% of tissue strain and when the strain reaches 7-8%, the ligament begins to lose its load carrying capacity and more significant tearing occurs.  Unfortunately, none of this can be seen on a standard x-ray and usually goes undiagnosed.


Many variables exist that make assessing the amount of tissue damage difficult to predict or understand.  One of these variables is the strength and amount of elasticity of a ligament prior to tearing. Also, the age, gender, and phenotype – that is, skinny, normal, or over weight – makes a difference.  Generally, due to a reduced muscle mass in a female compared to most males, women are at greater risk of injury.  The position of the person in the car, whether a seatbelt was used or not, if the head was turned before impact, if the collision was anticipated prior to impact, the speed at which one person compared to another can voluntarily contract a muscle are all additional factors affecting the degree of injury and corresponding pain.  Another factor is the size of the spinal canal (the place where the spinal cord runs from the brain to the low back) as some people are born with narrow canals, making them more susceptible to injury. Other neurological variables include the degree of the excitability of the nervous system as the more excitable, the lower the pain threshold and pain is perceived more quickly. The type of pain from the deep tissues (ligaments, joint capsules, etc) is different than pain arising from superficial tissues as the former lasts longer and doesn’t follow known neurological pathways into an arm.  Also, over time, if pain becomes chronic (pain lasting >3 months), a significantly lower pain threshold is found in these cases vs. normal control subjects.


Hence, when discussing your case with our office, it is important that you share your history of the accident, the time it took after the impact for symptoms to be initially noted, whether it is gradually worsening over time, and any other symptom that is unique to your situation that may not have been discussed here.


Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment with the best chiropractor in Houston or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!



Minimizing Your Whiplash Risk

Houston Area Chiropractor Comments: While it is hard to prevent someone from crashing their car into your car, there are some things you can do to minimize whiplash injuries.

The first preventive measure is making sure your seat is upright and the head rest touches the top of your head. If there is a lot of distance between your head and the rest, it will do little to help in the event of a collision. Also, if the headrest is too low, in can act as fulcrum, leveraging your neck into a worse position, and increasing injury risk.Minimizing Your Whiplash Risk

Another thing we can do minimize injury risk is being in the best possible shape prior to the trauma. Research has shown people with good aerobic fitness seem to be more resilient after whiplash accidents.

If you are aware you are about to be hit, it is probably best to remain in a neutral position with eyes facing forward. People with their head turned prior to impact seem to have worse ligament injuries.

If you can afford it, a larger car will lessen the momentum of your vehicle after a collision. There are now vehicles with whiplash-protection seats (e.g. Saab) that dampen the effects of rear end-accidents. Frontal collisions tend to be less severe to the neck if the speeds are equal because the chin can hit the chest preventing forward motion of the neck. Rear-end and side-impact collisions do not have this benefit.

Unfortunately, there are many simply unavoidable risk factors. Women and children seem to be more vulnerable, possibly because of the increased head to neck size ratio. Also if you’ve ever had a head or neck trauma before and or have a degenerated disk in the neck, these factors elevate your risk for a more pronounced injury. Other factors that can slow your recovery include wearing a neck brace/collar, taking to bed rest, or getting vertical traction treatments. Inhibiting movements can feel good initially but is not good in the long term because of decreased muscle function and strength. Getting diagnosed as soon as possible can determine the best course of action for getting you to back to a speedy recovery. Just letting things go is rarely a good solution.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

Your Neck is Your Life Line

Chiropractor in Clear Lake Comments: The nervous system is the master control network for your body, directing virtually every function and action, from monitoring your life needs, to precisely responding to threats to your health.

Each system, from your heart and blood vessels, to your digestive and immune systems, is directed through nerve impulses originating in your brain or spinal cord that travel through its protective bony structure: the spinal column.Neck Pain Houston

The neck region is the most vulnerable region of the spine to injury. Indeed, even death can be brought through significant trauma to the neck. When the trauma is not fatal, the consequences can still be severe, such as when paralysis strikes.

Most people will not experience these severe injuries, however sprains of the delicate ligaments with subluxation (misalignment) do commonly occur. Despite the injury being smaller, their location (the neck) makes their impact more profound. Functions throughout the body can be impaired when the nerves in the upper neck are compromised.

Within chiropractic, there are specialists who focus their entire care on the uppermost two vertebrae of the spine.

Because every nerve passes through the neck, if irritation or compression is present, virtually any system of the body can be affected. The point being is that a neck disorder will not necessarily just cause neck pain or headache. Dizziness, digestive problems, fatigue, high blood pressure and generally reduced quality of life are some of the symptoms patients commonly experience.

If you have suffered a severe whiplash, you may have noticed far more than neck pain or a stiff neck. Indeed, recent research suggests whiplash needs to more thought of as a whole body disorder.

We take these injuries in our office and address them in both a specific and comprehensive manner. Most patients who have suffered a neck trauma will require x-rays to analyze the posture of their spine.  X-rays may also need to be taken in motion to test the stability of your ligaments and to determine precise levels of impaired movements. Without this road map, it is difficult to determine how care should be directed and factors that could influence your long-term prognosis, such as degeneration.

Our health care team is dedicated to drugless natural methods to restore vitality. We try to work with your body with techniques that don’t carry the all too common side effects commonly seen with long-term drug use or surgery. If you’re suffering from neck pain in Houston, we will provide the relief you need and take steps to prevent further damage to your neck and spine.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment with the best chiropractor in houston by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

The Many “Faces” of Whiplash

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Clear Lake City Chiropractor comments: Motor vehicle collisions (MVC), usually result in injuries to the neck and upper back.  However, there are often other complaints that can occur immediately or after a delayed time frame. The mechanism of injury or, “how did the accident happen?” is very important to discuss in detail.  For example, a low speed crash such as 5-10 mph may not result in much damage to the car. However when this occurs, the contents inside the car are jostled and thrown about more than if there had been car damage. This is because the impact was too slow to dent or crush the metal and the energy of the crash was not absorbed but rather, transferred to the contents inside the car – that is, the passengers.

Another cause might be a roll over accident. If a person is suspended upside down in the vehicle, injury can occur from the seat belt, from falling from the seat upon releasing the seat belt, cuts or Whiplash in Car Accidentscrapes from broken glass, and so on.  Many people involved in MVC’s are initially in “shock” and may not realize they are hurt until hours or days later.  Upon rising the next morning, a significant increase in pain intensity often prompts the person to seek emergency room care where medications are usually prescribed and a “wait and watch” recommendation is given.  Within the initial several days to a week, gradual increases of pain and other symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, “foggy thinking,” and loss of appetite due to the high pain intensity can occur, and the person may then visit a chiropractic clinic, as the “waiting and watching” approach just doesn’t make sense.

The initial examination findings often reveal significant muscle spasms and pinching of the nerves in the upper part of the neck, resulting in headaches.  Patients may have difficulty describing their complaints including problems communicating with others such as, “I just can’t find the words I want to use.”  This lack of mental clarity is often caused by a concussion and can last weeks to months.  Some patients do well and may feel 50-75% better after 3-6 weeks of chiropractic treatment with respect to neck pain and headache intensity and frequency but of course, this varies from patient to patient.  During this time, exercises are usually given to help stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak muscles in the neck and upper back region. Temporary work restrictions may be required, especially if the patient had not been able to work prior to seeking chiropractic treatment.  A quick return to work is usually very important.

Hence, a “wait and watch” approach usually does not work very well.  In addition, the use of medications may prohibit being able to drive a car or adequately function at work.  Certain medications can also affect a person’s ability to responsibly manage their children.  It can be very confusing for many people when trying to decide from whom they should seek treatment after a whiplash injury.  The primary goal of the chiropractic physician is to achieve a reduction in symptoms and return the patient to a productive, functional lifestyle as quickly as possible.  We sincerely appreciate the trust that our patient’s place in us when choosing our clinic to treat their problems associated with motor vehicle accidents and whiplash.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. If you’ve suffered whiplash in a car accident, you can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

Whiplash and Treatment Delay: Does It Matter?


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Clear Lake Doctor of Chiropractic comments: When a person is involved in a car accident, the inevitable question comes up: should I see a doctor? In most cases the answer is yes. But why is this important?

A collision between two vehicles imparts a considerable amount of force on the body and spine. Even in low speed Clear Lake Whiplash Treatment-001collisions, the forces add up to several times the force of gravity. So what does this mean? It means your body generally cannot resist such large forces without being injured. These injuries may be minor, such as a muscle strain or more substantial, involving stretching of the disks and ligaments of the spine.

Will these injuries always cause pain right after the collision? Only if there is severe damage to tissues will you experience immediate pain after a collision. In fact, having instant severe pain is a good indicator that you suffered a severe trauma. But most low speed collisions do not produce this type of instantaneous and intense pain. Instead, the person may feel “shaken up” or a little stiff. Unfortunately many patients interpret this stiffness as nothing more than a simple muscle strain and do not seek medical or chiropractic attention. Up to two weeks can go by before you start to feel the effects of a whiplash injury. This is why it is important to see a doctor immediately to see if things are truly ok following an accident.

Only a doctor can examine your spine, pressing on different structures and seeing if your movements are fluid, pain-free and symmetrical. You will find it difficult to do this type of examination on yourself. In addition, x-rays may be needed to see the posture and alignment of your cervical spine. If you had radiating pain or symptoms of a brain injury, then an MRI may also be needed to see the soft tissues that x-rays cannot detect.

Without these types of important examinations it is hard to say if you’ve been injured significantly following an accident. Treatment delay, if you have been injured, will not help to get you back to health quickly. In fact, if you limited your activities and neck movements, this could impair your function down the road. Simply taking pain medications to restore the alignment of your spine will not be enough.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

Whiplash Problems Down the Road

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Clear Lake Chiropractor comments: Whiplash injuries of the neck and spine commonly occur in motor vehicle collisions. Even minor impacts with little vehicle damage can put significant stress on the spinal ligaments, disks, and delicate nerves. Some people get symptoms right after the accident (which is a very bad sign) but most people feel somewhat unscathed, at least initially.Houston Whiplash Treatment

It’s important to think how spinal injuries can affect you over the long term. When ligaments are injured, there can
be substantial changes over the years, such as arthritis and disk degeneration.

A study in the science journal SPINE (Dec. 15, 1994) looked at fifty patients with MRI and bending x-rays, one and five years after injury. The researchers found that neck pain persisted in 24/50 (48%) patients and radiating pain developed within 6 weeks in 19 patients or 38%. Radiating pain occurs when a disk protrudes and bulges onto a nerve root exiting your spinal column. In patients with these persistent symptoms, the MRI was helpful in showing the disk injury.

Although surgery is considered by many, most patients do well under conservative, even minimal care. It’s important to consider non-surgical options first, since surgery does entail substantial risks, and how well it works is also subject to debate.

X-rays and palpation are used to see the posture of your neck and how the vertebrae move in stressed positions. These tests can help determine how your spine functions and whether the disk is injured and/or also if you have pre-existing signs of arthritis, which can impair how you resist and recover from trauma.

Chiropractic adjustments are directed at reducing pain and improving mobility in spinal areas that are blocked. In general it’s important to keep your neck moving while you recover. Staying in bed and not moving the spine at all are not advised since this can impair recovery. Even patients with severe injuries can have some movements preserved and these should be encouraged.

Because symptoms and even disk disease can show up later, it is important to have a detailed neurological examination following a neck injury.  Whiplash trauma is significant, especially when you consider how many patients still suffer years down the road with neck and arm pain. Getting diagnosed properly is the first step to determining what type of care will be best for you.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!