Posted tagged ‘whiplash’

TMJ and the Chiropractor

May 28, 2010

[originally published in KCN, June 2010]

There I sat in the dental waiting room, flipping through a magazine as my toe kept time to the Muzak.  Suddenly, the young dentist poked his head out from behind the door and called my name. He looked worried.  And to tell you the truth, I began to feel the same way — because I wasn’t there to be seen.  It was my wife’s turn in the chair, and I was only waiting.

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Steer Clear of Neck Braces

November 27, 2009

[originally published in KCN, December 2009]

Cervical Soft CollarEver so often I will spot someone wearing a brace around their neck. To be clear, I’m not talking about the rigid neck braces that EMT’s and paramedics employ to stabilize a suspected neck injury when they arrive on an accident scene. I’m talking about the soft, usually white, neck-supporting collars that are worn by people who are suffering from neck pain. These devices are often prescribed by well-meaning doctors, or are purchased by patients themselves at local pharmacies as a form of self-care for neckache. And while they look official, the irony is that they don’t do a bit of good. In fact, according to most research, they actually do more harm than good!

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Railway Spine

September 18, 2009

railway-train-flip[originally published in KCN, May 2000]

Back in the “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” days people suffering from neck pain following train accidents would likely have been diagnosed, or “labeled” I should say, with the downgrading term “railway spine.”  You see, railway spine was a condition that garnered a lot of suspicion, as the genuineness of the suffering patients exhibited was questionable to some.  Unlike other possible aches and pains a person of this era may have experienced, like falling off his horse, this condition was different, in that it involved a liable party — the railroad company — putting the patient in a position of gaining some extra gold nuggets for his pouch.

Fast forward to Y2K.  Ironically, not a lot has changed — except we don’t use gold as common currency, and the term railway spine no longer exists.  It was retired a long time ago — upgraded to a term most of us are more familiar with:  “whiplash.”  Perhaps this change in verbiage was prompted by the fact that automobiles have replaced trains as our primary method of transportation.  With 6 million injuries per year due to automobile accidents — 50% resulting in whiplash-type injuries — it is a rare day when a patient walks into the doctor’s office with whiplash following an Amtrak incident. (more…)


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