Whiplash Causes Hypersensitivity, Aloha Chiropractor Explains

At Oregon Medical Centers, we frequently see whiplash patients who suffer from multiple, seemingly unrelated symptoms. This is often confusing for our Aloha/Beaverton patients, since whiplash is typically only associated with neck pain.

Whiplash, however, is more than just neck pain. Whiplash-associated disorders refer to a broad range of symptoms including jaw or temporomandibular joint disorders, headache, dizziness, shoulder soreness, posttraumatic stress disorder, back pain, and arm pain. This wide variability may be related to a process known as central sensitization, when an injury to the spine causes the central nervous system to kick into overdrive.

The central nervous system is comprised of the spinal cord, brain, and a complex network of neurons. The CNS is responsible for interpreting, sending, and receiving messages from other parts of your body. Injury to one part of the central nervous system--the spine--can disrupt this careful network of messaging. This may cause you to experience symptoms far from the original source of your injury, and make you overly sensitive to painful stimuli. A hallmark of central sensitization is decreased tolerance to pain, or sensory "hyperexcitability."

A new study confirms the presence of sensory hyperexcitability in whiplash patients. Researches performed a meta-analysis of 13 medical studies which included 483 patients with WAD and 334 healthy controls. People with whiplash had increased pain sensitivity, indicated by reduced pain thresholds. They also had challenges correctly detecting heat and cold, suggesting damage to the central nervous system.

Chiropractic is all about restoring healthy central nervous system functioning. That could be why chiropractic treatments -- like those we provide for our Aloha/Beaverton patients -- are so effective in relieving whiplash.

Call Oregon Medical Centers today for lasting relief of whiplash after an auto accident,  at (503) 642-2845.


Stone A, Vicenzino B, Lim E, Sterling M. Measures of central hyperexcitability in chronic whiplash associated disorder- a systematic review and meta-analysis. Manual Therapy 2013; 18: 111-117.

July 22, 2013