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Accident Patients improved with Chiropractic

Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-25.

A study by Woodward, Cook, Gargan and Bannister found 93% of the patients studied under chiropractic care for chronic whiplash injuries had improved.

They further stated “…no conventional (medical) treatment has proven to be effective in these established chronic cases.”


Studies on the efficacy of chiropractic care for patients suffering with pain secondary to whiplash injury are appearing in the literature. In 1996, Woodward et al. published a study in Injury on the efficacy of chiropractic treatment of whiplash injuries.1 The authors of this study were from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in Bristol, England.


“Forty-three per cent of patients will suffer long-term symptoms following ‘whiplash’ injury, for which no conventional treatment has proven to be effective. A retrospective study was undertaken to determine the effects of chiropractic in a group of 28 patients who had been referred with chronic ‘whiplash’ syndrome. The severity of patients’ symptoms was assessed before and after treatment using the Gargan and Bannister (1990) classification. Twenty-six (93 per cent) patients improved following chiropractic treatment (U = 34, P < 0.001). The encouraging results from this retrospective study merit the instigation of a prospective randomized controlled trial to compare conventional with chiropractic treatment in chronic ‘whiplash’ injury.”


Woodward MN, Cook CH, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Chiropractic treatment of chronic whiplash injuries. Injury 1996;27(9):643-645.


In 1994, Gargan and Bannister published a paper on the recovery rate of patients with whiplash injuries and found that if patients were still symptomatic after three months, there was almost a 90% chance they would remain so.2 Gargan MF, Bannister GC. The rate of recovery following whiplash.

Eur Spine J 1994;3:162.


“No conventional medical treatment has been shown to be effective in these established chronic whiplash injury patients.

Barnsely L, Lord S, Bogduk N. Whiplash injury, a clinical review. Pain 1994;58:283.    Bogduk N. Post whiplash syndrome. Aust Fam Phys 1994;23:2303.


(Mealy, K, Brennan H, Fenelon, GCC, “Early Mobilization of Acute Whiplash Injuries,” Brit. Med. Journal,  Vol. 292:8 3/1986), the authors clearly showed that early active care including movement/cavitation of the spinal joints was more effective than cervical collars and bed rest.


At a mean of 15.5 years post whiplash trauma, 70% of the whiplash injured patients continued to complain of symptoms referable and related to the originial accident.     80% of women and 50% of men continued to have symptoms at 15 years.

Squires, B, Gargan, MF, Bannister, GC, “Soft-tissue Injuries of the Cervical Spine: a 15 year Follow-up,” J of Bone and Joint Surg. (British), Vol. 78B(6), 11/96, p 955-7. From the University of Bristol, England

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