How whiplash affects your nervous system

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In many cases, patients with whiplash injuries report a wide range of symptoms, including headaches, neck pain, leg pain, and widespread pain. This array of symptoms has long confounded doctors, but new research has found a potential explanation for the symptoms.

Over the past few years, several studies have found whiplash injuries to cause hyper-excitability of the central nervous system. A team of researchers recently conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 27 trials examining the relationship between whiplash and the central nervous system dysfunction.

The researchers conclude that there is compelling evidence pointing to central hyperexcitability in patients with chronic whiplash. Changes in the central nervous system could make whiplash patients more sensitive to other types pain.

The fact that spinal adjustments can soothe sensitization of the central nervous system may be one reason why chiropractic can effectively ease pain in many whiplash patients.

Reference

Stone AM, Vicenzino B, Lim EC, Sterling M. Measures of central hyperexcitability in chronic whiplash associated disorder – A systematic review and meta-analysis. Manual Therapy 2012; doi 10.1016/j.math.2012.07.009.

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