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Posted on 03-02-2015

The Use of Neck Braces For Whiplash Patients Following Baltimore Auto Accidents

As a chiropractor that spends the majority of my time treating acutely injured patients that suffer from neck pain, back pain, and headaches, I spend a lot of my time treating patients in this area that have suffered whiplash injuries following Baltimore car accidents. These are injuries to the neck and upper back that present with pain and stiffness as well as occasionally numbness and tingling as well.

Many times these patients go to an urgent care or hospital emergency department prior to presenting for treatment. In some instances these clients come in wearing a neck brace or some form of other immobilizing structure on their neck. Traditionally patients have been taught that they should keep the neck brace on to prevent motion of the spine. Recent evidence suggests that immobilization with a neck brace actually prolongs symptoms and prevents a patient from recovering quickly.

In an article seen here, it suggests that the use of soft collars should be limited to no more than 10 days following the trauma. The article states:

"Based on these studies, Logan et al. concluded that the traditional use of soft collars for neck sprains and strains is no longer considered best practice. The temporary relief of pain and support given by a soft collar may prolong recovery of patients. They recommend the following protocol for management of whiplash injuries: No cervical collar, regular analgesia, early home exercise program, and physiotherapy if symptoms persist."

While it may seem counterintuitive to take the neck brace off quickly following a motor vehicle collision, the research suggests that leaving the brace on can lead to worse long term outcomes. That is why in my office we co-treat all of our whiplash patients with a traditional medical provider who can prescribe short term medications to help relax muscles as healing occurs. That is, we want to help you feel better short term (medication) while we work to rebuild your tissues (time and chiropractic care).

If you, or someone you know has suffered from whiplash or neck pain following a Baltimore auto accident, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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