Whiplash Causes Jaw Problems in Auto Injury Patients

Many of us who treat patients after auto accidents have observed common complaints about jaw pain. We have also seen, among the hundreds of whiplash victims we have treated in Aloha and Beaverton over the years, a prevalence of jaw dysfunction in addition to pain.

Patients with dysfunction in their jaw are more likely to suffer from headaches and severe neck pain. Jaw symptoms have also been shown to manifest themselves in cranial cervical symptoms, post-traumatic stress, and whiplash-associated disorders. Unfortunately for many accident victims who do not seek timely treatment, whiplash can also lead to disorders of the temporomandibular joint, causing a host of other health concerns.

In 2010, researchers sought to find what percentage of whiplash victims have jaw symptoms. They looked to estimate the likelihood of suffering whiplash-associated jaw pain or dysfunction in the first year after a car accident. The study included 146 adults with whiplash, recording their symptoms in the head, neck, and jaw for twelve months after their accidents.

Clinical signs of jaw injury were shown in 37% of the patients in their initial examination immediately following their car accident. The study also found that 24% of whiplash patients still had symptoms in the jaw a year after their auto injury. The women in the study reported more jaw symptoms than the men, suggesting that females may have a higher risk of  jaw problems after a whiplash injury than men.

The one-year follow-up also showed that the patients with jaw disorders continued to suffer from headache, post-traumatic stress, and residual neck problems. The researchers concluded that all whiplash patients should be evaluated by a health-care provider like a chiropractor or physical therapist, who can diagnose jaw disorders, cranial neck symptoms, headaches, and post-traumatic stress.

If you have suffered a whiplash injury in an auto accident, First Choice Chiropractic & Rehabilitation in Aloha can help. We can determine the extent of your injury, including dysfunction in the jaw, and design a treatment plan to address all of your symptoms now and into the future. We also take care of all the insurance paperwork, so you can focus on the task of getting well.

Reference

Severinsson Y, Bunkertorp O, and Wenneberg B. Jaw symptoms and signs and the connection to cranial cervical symptoms and post-traumatic stress during the first year after a whiplash trauma. Disability and Rehabilitation 2010; 32 (24): 1987-1998.

May 13, 2013
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