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hannah’s case history: whiplash, neck pain, arthritis, and a post-surgical spine


Whiplash Case Study

Every now and then I take it upon myself to do a CASE HISTORY, hopefully helping someone out that is suffering and living life on the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND, having no real idea of what to do or where to turn.  This case was sent to me by “Hannah” as a comment on my post called  NECK PAIN, LOSS OF THE NORMAL CERVICAL CURVE, AND SPINAL DEGENERATION.  It concerns whiplash or WAD (whiplash associated disorders).

I was diagnosed with loss of cervical curve years ago. I have had multiple car accidents (not my fault – went through a windshield head first as a 4 year old in 1974, whiplash from a rear end accident at age 9, then again at age 18). I have DDD in lumbar spine – failed back surgery x2.  I also have idiopathic peripheral polyneuropathy (maybe from Lyme) in my hands, arms, legs and feet. I tend to fall a lot. I tripped the other day and landed head first into a dresser. This of course did nothing for my chronic neck pain!

Anyway I had to change pain management people and my current one is claiming that nothing is ever done for a reverse neck curve and that I am exaggerating the pain from my C5, C6, C7 osteophytes and diagnosed cervical DDD. I have had cervical facet rhizotomy in the past and can no longer look up to the top shelf in the grocery store, nor tip my head all the way back to get the last drop when taking a drink.

I have limited side to side movement (being blind in right eye from car accident – I often have to turn my entire upper body around to the right to see out of my left eye). I can’t watch TV or sit for too long without using a pillow to prop my head up.

Years ago I used to use a cervical foam collar on occasion for support. I can no longer get it under my chin. I also used to use an inflatable pump collar for traction (over the door traction made me nauseous and dog ate pump). Current provider won’t do anything for me (order new collars, etc). She states “it is what it is”.  I currently get pain medication from her – which is being restricted all over the country so I’m limited in my choices of providers/doctors. (Although her office hung up on me the other day so maybe I should go elsewhere.)

Can you just tell me if indeed I should be concerned with the pain, symptoms and limitations with my neck? I’m 47 and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life looking down. Thank you so much for your time.

Firstly, yes you should be concerned about the limitations in your neck’s ability to move because any time there is chronic pain, there is a chance of you ending up with CENTRAL SENSITIZATION.  And with the kind of chronic restriction you are describing (extremely common in chronic whiplash injuries), there’s a 100% probability of ending up with DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS (DJD / DDD). 

Secondly, females are not only about 15x more likely to be injured in a whiplash-related accident, they are much more prone to most disease processes as well, and particularly most AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE PROCESSES, when compared to their male counterparts (BLEEDING EVERY MONTH can be problematic as well).  Add to this the fact that HEAD INJURIES ARE HEAVILY-LINKED TO AUTOIMMUNITY (a fact seen by the three severe MVA’s in her youth), and you can see why this needs to at least be discussed — especially in relationship to IPP.

IPP (Idiopathic Peripheiral Polyneuropathy) is a NEUROPATHY at multiple sites of the body, with an “officially” unknown cause.  The NIH’s Periphrial Neuropathy Fact Sheet (What is Peripheral Neuropathy?) shows why various forms of PN can be so devastating,

An estimated 20 million people in the United States have some form of peripheral neuropathy, a condition that develops as a result of damage to the peripheral nervous system. Damage to nerves that supply internal organs may impair digestion, sweating, sexual function, and urination. In the most extreme cases, breathing may become difficult, or organ failure may occur.

Peripheral nerves send sensory information back to the brain and spinal cord, such as a message that the feet are cold. Peripheral nerves also carry signals from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles to generate movement. Damage to the peripheral nervous system interferes with these vital connections.   Peripheral neuropathies may also be caused by a combination of both axonal damage and demyelination.” 

Although there were many reasons for said neuropathy listed in this article, the most common was said to be trauma (“such as from automobile accidents…“), while the one with the biggest entry was autoimmune (“Autoimmune diseases can lead to nerve damage. When the tissue surrounding nerves becomes inflamed, the inflammation can spread directly into nerve fibers. Over time, these chronic autoimmune conditions can destroy joints, organs, and connective tissues, making nerve fibers more vulnerable to compression injuries and entrapment.“). 

Relief of neuropathy symptoms can often be accomplished with LOW LEVEL LASER THERAPY.  However, long-term regeneration of almost any neuropathy and/or autoimmune condition is going to require a change of diet (be aware that many neurological issues — including some kinds of neuropathy — respond quite well to a KETOGENIC APPROACH.

Not sure from her history whether Hannah actually has Lyme Disease or not, but Lyme is certainly a wildcard.  Even though there are many claims out there, I am not aware of anyone consistently getting great results with Lyme patients.  If she has had Lyme, the standard therapy is to give many months (3-15) of ANTIBIOTICS, hoping that the antibiotics kill the bacteria before it BEFORE THEY MESS YOU UP TOO BADLY (remember that 4/5ths of your body’s immune system resides in the Gut in the form of bacteria — HERE). 

If I see a patent who has autoimmunity (whether the disease has been named or not — in many cases they are not because no one knows for sure what the auto-antigen is or how to test for it) or been on hardcore antibiotics, it is time to start thinking about the most potent treatment that few people are familiar with — FMT.  Now for the arthritis.

What we are seeing over and over again in the practice of medicine (I just saw a study on this topic on KNEES yesterday) is that it is almost impossible to look at the results of an imaging test, whether for DISC HERNIATION, DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS, or ROTATOR CUFF PROBLEMS, and in most cases, have any real idea whether or not the problem you see on the film is causing the patient’s symptoms. 

This is because said symptoms correlate very poorly (emphasis on poorly) with imaging studies — yet another of the MANY DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS that Big Medicine doesn’t want you to know about.  Would I be surprised that Hannah’s pain doctor told her that FHP (FORWARD HEAD POSTURE) doesn’t mean anything?  Certainly not — no more than I am surprised by dentists who claim that a mouthful of CAVITIES is kind of like death and taxes; just another one of life’s unfortunate inevitabilities.

So, beyond addressing these issues systemically (this is done by addressing INFLAMMATION), you’ll need to address the neck issue (whiplash) itself.  This could be a challenge for you Hannah because if you can no longer get a soft collar under your chin, it tells me that you have a whale of a case of FHP.  How do I suggest you deal with this?  You cannot start with adjustments.  Neither can you start with stretching or strengthening exercises.  You will have to go through both PHASE I and PHASE II of the simple rehab protocol I suggest for people with these sorts of issues. 

The good news for you Hannah is that this does not have to be one of those scenarios that always seems to end like this — “the normal cost is fifteen grand, but if you sign up today, we’ll give it to you for half that“.  By the way, it is my experience that medications from the BIG FIVE FAMILY, or procedures like Radio Frequency Ablations (RFA’s are otherwise known as Facet Rhizotomies), rarely work for the long-term because they do absolutely nothing to address underlying causes (unfortunately the ablated nerves always grow back, many times with a vengeance).

The cool thing for many of you in the same situation as Hannah is that I have put together a general protocol that will help at least some of you (HERE is the link to our Case Studies), including many of you injured by whiplash.  Don’t get me wrong, as much as I with it would, I did not say it would help all of you, but best guess is that it’s better than a 50/50 — and it’s not going to make you worse.  Furthermore Hannah, you are going to have to step out of the box.  Making healthcare decisions based largely on what your insurance provider will pay will get you in trouble in way too many cases (the DAKOTA TRACTION UNITS, for instance, are dirt cheap).

To see my GENERAL PROTOCOL for relieving inflammation in those of you struggling with chronic pain, chronic inflammatory degenerative diseases, autoimmunity, or even some conditions that you have probably been told are “GENETIC,” simply follow the link and start reading. And be sure to like, share or follow on FACEBOOK while you are at it!


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