Car Accident Whiplash Treatment: Why Drugs Are NOT the Answer

Car Accident Whiplash Treatment: Why Drugs Are NOT the Answer

car accident neck pain medicationsBeen in a car accident recently? If you  went to the Emergency Room (ER) or visited your primary medical doctor afterwards, it is almost a certainty you were prescribed between 1 and 4 drugs. This article will try to explain why this is a mistake and why you should seriously consider altering your car accident treatment.

Medical doctors commonly prescribe a variety of medications to their auto accident patients in the belief they will help the victim recover.

Most commonly prescribed drugs for car accidents:

  • Opioid Narcotic Painkillers (analgesic): oxycodone, codeine, and fentanyl
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s): aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen
  • Muscle relaxant: Soma, Flexeril
  • Tranquilizer drugs: Valium, Xanax, Serax, Ativan

There are a few reasons why this practice of dispensing drugs for car accidents is not medically sound:

  • Medications have not been shown in the scientific literature to be effective for treating car accident injuries.
  • Opioids are very strong and extremely addictive; given that most car accident pain is moderate in nature, it is overkill to use such powerful drugs with the inherent risks of painkillers
  • Even strong narcotic pain relievers and muscle relaxants, in many cases, cannot eliminate car accident pain unless the dosage is quite high at which point you are completely unable to function
  • Tranquilizers in combination with narcotic painkillers causes severe mental impairment

Some car crash victims are in moderate to severe pain and may need a medication to reduce their pain enough to perform daily activities, attend therapy for their injuries or to sleep.  In these cases, an anti-inflammatory may be effective to control pain for a short period of time; about 2 weeks then discontinued.

Car accident pain relief methods that have been proven to work:

  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Cold laser therapy
  • Ice packs
  • Hot packs
  • Stretching exercises

A car accident chiropractor specialist will employ an arsenal of pain relieving treatments and modalities to help you achieve pain control without side effects or risk of addiction. If you require pain medication while undergoing care, your chiropractor will be able to refer you to a medical specialist who will help you.

Chiropractic treatment of whiplash has been heavily researched and found to be the most effective form of care. In fact, studies by Woodward, Cook, Gargan and Bannister (1) found that 93% of whiplash patients improved with chiropractic treatment.

The key to pain management is to address the underlying reason for pain. New studies indicate that the muscles may not be the main culprit behind moderate and severe neck pain after a car accident. It’s been shown that the main cause of the pain is the joint receptors and ligaments in the neck signalling pain. By restoring normal joint function through chiropractic manipulative therapy (adjustments), the cause is being corrected and the pain subsides much quicker. Patients who undergo physical therapy and or medications only have more persistent pain, pain management is poor and long term pain and impairment is more likely.

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(1) Woodward MN, Cook JCH, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Chiropractic treatment of chronic ‘whiplash’ injuries. Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured 1996;27(9):643-645



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