"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."

Thomas Edison

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Over 6 million cars are involved in motor vehicle accidents each year in the United States. These collisions cause an estimated 42,000 deaths. The National Transportation Safety Board says that if it weren’t for seatbelts and airbags, the number of deaths due to car accidents would be considerably more.

Whiplash is often a result of car accidents, even those involving vehicles moving at relatively low speeds. In a whiplash type accident, the head is forced in the direction of the impact, slung into the opposite direction, and then back towards the impact site. This often causes symptoms in the area of the head and neck. Some of the main complaints are pain and aching to the neck and back, referred pain to the shoulders, sensory disturbance (such as pins and needles) to the arms & legs, headaches, and TMJ pain. Symptoms can appear directly after the injury, but more often, they are not felt until days afterwards. (Krafft, M; Kullgren A, Lie A, Tingval C (2005-04-01) "Assessment of Whiplash Protection in Rear Impacts”)

It is important to always seek care from a qualified physician if you experience any signs or symptoms of whiplash after an accident. Even a mild stiffness can linger for months or worsen into intermittent or even constant pain. Chiropractors are a great choice for whiplash injuries because they focus on treating the spine and the soft tissues involved in these accidents.


TMJ Complaints

The TMJ is a common cause of pain but is often overlooked by doctors when patients present with associated symptoms. TMJ (temperomandibular joint) is the joint just in front of the ear that connects the mandible to the skull.  TMD (temperomandibular disorders) is a better descriptor for the condition and its associated symptoms. TMD symptoms include headaches, pain on opening, joint noises, pain when chewing, ear pain, dizziness, and abnormal wear of the teeth.

 The most common cause for TMD is a muscular imbalance of the surrounding TMJ muscles. The American Journal of Orthodontics and Oral Surgery states that when treating TMD “treatment should consist of determining the primary muscles and confine attention to these”. When there is a problem with the surrounding muscles of the joint patients tend to limit mouth opening which can cause adhesions to form in the muscles and joint capsule. The Journal of BioMed Central Musculoskeletal Disorders states “methods should be used to minimize the duration of the mouth opening limitation and, accordingly, to minimize the severity of the adhesion and to obtain satisfactory therapeutic effect.”

 Based on the current research this is how TMD should be treated:

  • Mouth opening pattern should be examined and the TMJ should be tested to ensure joint integrity.
  • Then the muscles should be examined in order to find the muscles that are overactive and the muscles that are inactive.
  • Once muscle patterns have been observed the doctor should relax overactive muscles and help encourage proper muscle recruitment for mouth opening.
  • Exercises are then prescribed to the patient to help encourage proper mouth opening patterns and the proper mouth resting position.



Headaches plague most people at some point in time in their lives. Symptoms vary from mild discomfort to severe pain that can keep the sufferer bedridden for days. The good news is that only 5% of headaches are caused by disease. The remaining 95% are classified as primary headaches. The most common ones include tension, migraine, and cluster.

Research suggests that chiropractic is a viable option for those that experience primary headaches. A Duke Evidence Report conducted in 2001 states that “Cervical spine manipulation was associated with significant improvement in headache outcomes in trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache.” Additionally, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics states that “patients who received spinal manipulative therapy experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in all major outcomes in contrast to the patients that received amitriptyline therapy, who reverted to baseline values.” Amitriptyline is commonly used as a preventative medication for migraines.

The following are tips that you can use on a daily basis to help reduce the frequency of headaches:

  • When at work, take time to walk around and stretch your neck muscles. All stretches should be performed in a comfortable range of motion.
  • Light exercise either at the beginning or end of the day will release stress that has built up in the body. If you experience headaches on a regular basis, stay away from strenuous exercise.
  • Try not to clench your teeth. Muscles used for chewing are common culprits of tension headaches.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can be the cause of headaches as well as false sensations of hunger.

If you are concerned about the origin of your headaches, consult a doctor to discuss both treatment and prevention.


Low Back Pain


Do You Or Someone You Know Suffer From Low Back Pain?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people reporting low back pain is 70% for industrialized countries.  They go on to say that “Back Pain is the leading cause of disability and the second-leading cause of missed work, costing Billions of Dollars annually”. 

 What Causes Low Back Pain?

The most common causes of low back pain are strain/sprain, disc problems in people 40 or younger, lumbar spinal stenosis in people 50 or older, and reduced motion.  Spinal motion must be restored in order for the disc to get the nutrients it needs.

 Won’t The Pain Just Go Away?

Scientific studies in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics suggest that “Low Back Pain should not be considered transient and therefore neglected, since the condition rarely seems to be self limiting but merely presents with periodic attacks and temporary remissions.”

 Do I Rest or Exercise?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that “Exercise may be the most effective way to speed recovery from low back pain and help strengthen back and abdominal muscles.”

 What Do I Do?

It is important to have a qualified doctor examine the area of concern to ensure that the cause of the pain is addressed. Doctors of chiropractic have been trained on the anatomy involved, causes, and the best treatments available.  If you do not qualify for chiropractic care, you will be referred to a doctor or therapist that can treat your specific condition.


The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 125, Number 4



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