Some people with trauma due to whiplash dynamics from an auto accident respond very well to chiropractic care, while others continue to have problems and eventually seek help from doctor after doctor.
At the Chiropractic Health Center we have had the opportunity to examine many patients with ongoing problems even after two or three years of chiropractic treatment. After prolonged treatment the insurance company requests an independent examination and designates a doctor who never finds objective reason for the continuing complaints. The insurance company then denies further treatment. The patient, still having problems and knowing s/he at least gets temporary relief seeks an attorney for advice, who refers the patient to us.
This type of case creates an additional problem for the attorney especially if the insurance is of the no fault type where the patient’s insurance is responsible for his or her care. In these protracted cases there has probably been considerable lost time from work, and the attorney wants to collect from the person who caused the accident. When the patient’s own insurance company is denying there is a problem, the patient is classified as a malingerer. When treatment is changed and the patient responds, these allegations are laid to rest.
Those who fail to respond usually have disturbance in the cranial-sacral primary respiratory mechanism as a cause of many of their symptoms; this mechanism includes the temporomandibular joint, and importantly the muscles of the jaw, neck and shoulders. It is unfortunate that there are not more doctors who are aware of this mechanism and can examine and treat it effectively.
Often the patients who fit into this category have problems with vision, equilibrium, digestion, general neurologic confusion, neck pain, headaches, facial pain, low back pain, and a myriad other problems. They often complain, "My teeth don't fit together right any more." These problems have one common denominator: they all relate in one way or another to cranial nerves. This alone should give an observant doctor the clues necessary to examine the cranial-sacral primary respiratory mechanism. The teeth not fitting together properly is an indication of cranial bone distortion and/or imbalance of the muscles of mastication.
Subtle entrapment of cranial nerve V may produce imbalances in the muscles of mastication affecting occlusion and creating strain on cranial and TMJ motion. (Cuthbert & Rosner, 2010; Blum & Cuthbert, 2006; Chaitow, 2005)
An accident victim may see a dentist because of an uncomfortable bite. Upon examination malocclusion is indeed observed, and the dentist proceeds with selective grinding to make the teeth again fit together properly. This equilibration is fine for the bite complaint, but what does it do about the distorted cranium and cranial nerve entrapment? Unfortunately, this locks in the cranial faults because now the individual's bite matches the distorted skull. Hopefully the accident victim will find a doctor knowledgeable about the cranial primary respiratory mechanism, one with the ability to evaluate the organization within the total stomatognathic system. When cranial corrections are made, there will now be malocclusion because the teeth have been equilibrated to an abnormal skull; correcting it causes malocclusion that tends to push the skull back to the distorted state when chewing, swallowing, and clenching the teeth.
Whiplash injuries involve far more than just the head and neck. A failure in any part of this system of interconnected muscles, structures and functions may disturb all the others. The examination tool used at the Chiropractic Health Center, applied kinesiology, helps the doctor diagnose the persisting tissue-trouble in the post-motor-vehicle-accident victim, guiding the most appropriate treatment.
The doctor who examines his patients with orthopedic and neurologic tests, as well as applied kinesiology, has an optimum ability to find the basic underlying cause and correct it. The correction may occasionally require consultation and work with a doctor in another area of specialization, such as dentistry.
Cuthbert S, Rosner AL. Applied kinesiology management of long-term head pain following automotive injuries: a case report. Chiropr J Aust. 2010;40:109-116. (Paper available at: http://www.chiroindex.org/?search_page=articles&action=&articleId=21424
- Blum CL, Cuthbert S. Cranial Therapeutic Care: Is There any Evidence? Chiropr Osteo. 2006;. (Paper available at: http://chiromt.com/content/14/1/10/comments#237535
- Chaitow L. Cranial Manipulation: Theory and Practice. Churchill-Livingstone; 2005.