The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on September 10, 2018, documenting chiropractic helping a teenage boy with neck pain following a car accident. The study was also able to show improvement in the boy’s neck curvature.
The study authors begin by noting that the most common diagnosis from U.S. hospital emergency departments given to people involved in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) is neck sprain/strain. These types of injuries are often painful, progressive and permanent if not corrected. One common finding in lateral x-rays of patients involved in MVA is a loss or reversal of the normal forward neck curvature. Neck curvature may not be directly from the MVA, but having an abnormal curve seems to be associated with a poor outcome. The study also reported that there is a higher incidence of forward head position in patients who have had a MVA as compared to those who have not.
Typical medical care of either medications or a “wait and see” approach have been shown to help in acute situations, but do not do as well for chronic pain, and do nothing to address the aberrant neck curvature or forward head position.
In this case, a 14-year-old boy who was involved in a MVA a year earlier was brought to a chiropractor by his parents. The boy was suffering with chronic headaches and neck pain that he and his parents related to the MVA a year earlier. The boy had no history of his neck pain or headaches prior to the accident. The accident occurred when the boy was riding in the front passenger seat of a minivan which was then rear-ended by a full sized pickup truck.
Within the first three months after the accident, the boy did receive some chiropractic care which had given him some relief. However, care was not continued until a year after the MVA when specific forms of chiropractic were utilized after an examination and additional x-rays. The neck x-rays specifically showed a loss of the neck curvature and a forward head position.
Prior to the specific chiropractic care, the boy’s pain level was reported to be 7 out of 10, with 10 being the worst. After 11 weeks of specific chiropractic care, his pain had been reduced to 0 out of 10. Additionally, the reversal of the neck curve that was seen on the initial x-rays had began to show a curvature in the proper direction according to the follow-up neck x-rays.