Case Report
Volume 11 Issue 6 - 2022
Adapted Reflextherapy to Relieve Chronic Headaches after Whiplash Injury: A Case Report
Gunnel AL Berry*
Chartered Physiotherapist in Private Practice, Hampshire, United Kingdom
*Corresponding Author: Gunnel AL Berry, Chartered Physiotherapist in Private Practice, Hampshire, United Kingdom.
Received: May 11, 2022; Published: May 27, 2022


We have previously reported on applying peripheral dermal pressure in whiplash injury disorders using Adapted Reflex therapy (AdRx) [1,2].

The aim of this case study is to report outcomes in a patient with a 5-year history of chronic headaches after whiplash injury in a road traffic accident (RTA). It is commonly accepted that a whiplash injury is described as a Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) when multiple symptoms persist after a grade II whiplash injury [3].

Background: Chronic headaches are frequent symptoms after an acceleration/deceleration incident involving the neck (whiplash) in a car accident. It is notoriously difficult to find a therapy to relieve symptoms from WAD.

Subject: 26-year-old female physiotherapist (FP) with a 5-year history of daily cervico-occipital headaches since an RTA where she was the driver.

Additional signs and symptoms: reduced cervical mobility, reduced straight leg raise (SLR), limited forward lumbar flexion, intermittent unilateral pins and needles lower limb, cervical eczema.

Outcome Measures: Daily pain; cervical mobility; SLR; Quality of Life.

Method: Adapted Reflex therapy (AdRx) - a high specificity foot treatment akin to reflexology.

Outcomes: 60% reduced intensity and frequency of headaches; increased cervical flexion/extension; improved SLR; reduced pins and needles.

Cervical rotation and side flexion remained unchanged.

Improvements maintained at 3- and 12-month follow-up.

Reflection: Whiplash injury causes disturbance to the intricate workings of the nervous system resulting in intractable pain patterns. Gentle massage to the skin stimulates production of oxytocin which reduces nervous system hyperactivity [4]. The author suggests a link between the application of peripheral touch and reduction of headaches whereby an action potential creates a central activation which ultimately reduces pain by modulation of central hypersensitivity by nociceptive input [5].


Keywords: Chronic Headaches; Pain; Whiplash Injury; Whiplash Associated Disorder; Adapted Reflextherapy


  1. Berry G. “Adapted Reflextherapy: An Approach to Pain. 2017, Honeybee Publishers, Dorset, UK; Berry G, ‘Chronic pain after reported whiplash injury - a patients case report”. OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine1 (2019).
  2. Udy L and Berry G. “Adapted Reflextherapy as a treatment for chronic neck pain: a randomised controlled pilot study”. North British Pain Association Conference, Poster Presentation (2019).
  3. Moore A., et al. “Clinical Guidelines for the physiotherapy management of whiplash associated disorder”. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, London (2005).
  4. Lund I Ge Y., et al. “Repeat massage-like stimulation induces long-term effect on nociception: contribution of oxytocinergic mechanisms”. European Journal of Neuroscience 16 (2002): 330-338.
  5. Herren-Gaber R., et al. “Modulation of central hypersensitivity by nociceptive input in chronic pain after whiplash injury”. Pain Medicine4 (2004): 366-376.
  6. Berry G. “Adapted Reflextherapy: An Approach to Pain, Honeybee Publishers”. Dorset (2017).
  7. Berry G. “Adapted Reflextherapy – a treatment for spinal pain and whiplash injury”. FACT Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies11 (2007): 7.
  8. Moore A., et al. “Clinical Guidelines for the physiotherapy management of whiplash associated disorder”. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, London (2005).
  9. Curatolo M. “Pharmacological and interventional management of pain after whiplash injury”. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy10 (2016): 845-850.
  10. Meyr AJ and Saffran B. “The pathophysiology of the Chronic Pain Cycle”. Clinics in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery 25 (2008): 327-346.
  11. Berry G. “Chronic Pain after Reported Whiplash Injury - a Patient Case Report”. OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine1 (2019).
  12. Berry G. “Adapted Reflex therapy: An Approach to Pain”. Honey Bee Publishers, Dorset, UK (2017): 130-204.
  13. Butler D. “The Sensitive Nervous System, NOI Group Publications”. Australia (2000).
  14. Berry G. “Chronic Pain after reported whiplash injury - a patient case report”. OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine1 (2019).
  15. Berry G. “Adapted Reflextherapy: Theory and Practice to Treat Musculo-Skeletal Pain, in Leon Berhard (edition.)”. Advances in Medicine and Biology 129 (2018): 85-126.
  16. Bannister K and Dickenson AH. “What the brain tells the spinal cord”. PAIN 157 (2016): 2148-2151.
  17. Priest TD and Hoggart B. “Chronic pain: mechanisms and treatment”. Current Opinion in Pharmacology 3 (2002): 310-315.
  18. Khan S., et al. “The effects of reflexology on foot pain and quality of life in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis: A case report”. The Foot 16 (2006): 112-116.
  19. Rheault W., et al. “Intertester Reliability of the Cervical Range of Motion Device”. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy3 (1992): 147-150.
  20. Capuano-Pucci D., et al. “Intratester and Intertester Reliability of the Cervical Range of Motion Device”. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 72 (1991): 338-340.
  21. Meyr AJ and Saffran B. “The pathophysiology of chronic pain cycle”. Clinics in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery 3 (2008): 327-346.
Citation: Gunnel AL Berry. “Adapted Reflextherapy to Relieve Chronic Headaches after Whiplash Injury: A Case Report”. EC Paediatrics 11.6 (2022): 40-50.

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