Improving whiplash diagnosis

April 30, 2014

A team of researchers from ANU, the University of Aarhus in Denmark and Canberra Hospital want to know whether new technology can help identify whiplash injuries in the neck that could lead to better treatment of chronic neck pain and disability.

ANU anatomist and the study's lead investigator, Dr Alexandra Webb, says participants in the study will have their neck scanned using a 3 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, which provides more detail and clarity than the more common 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner.

"There has been substantial speculation regarding the source of neck pain and disability following whiplash, largely stemming from the elusiveness of structural damage in the neck," Dr Webb says.

"However, recent advances in imaging technology have facilitated improvements in the identification of structural changes affecting the neck's joints and muscles."

Whiplash is a term commonly used to describe an injury from when a person's head rapidly moves backwards and forwards as a result of a car crash. Injuries from whiplash can vary with symptoms including neck pain, stiffness and headaches that gradually disappear. In some cases, patient recovery can be slower with continued neck pain and reduced function.

A 2013 report found the number of casualties in the ACT who received medical treatment almost tripled from 238 in 2003 to 670 in 2012. According to the NSW Motor Accidents Authority, is the most frequently recorded injury amongst third-party personal injury claimants in New South Wales, making up approximately 45 per cent of all claims.

The associated costs of whiplash, including medical care and lost work productivity are substantial, with the NSW Motor Accidents Authority reporting 50,000 claims made in NSW from 1989-1998 at a cost of about $1.5 billion.

Dr Webb is looking for people between the ages of 18-29 years, who have sustained a neck injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

"We are interested in acute patients who have suffered a neck in the past few weeks, but also those chronic patients with that has lasted between 12 weeks and three years," Dr Webb says.

Explore further: Patients' expectation of getting better is crucial in recovery from whiplash

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

Strict diet combats rare progeria aging disorders

August 25, 2016

Mice with a severe aging disease live three times longer if they eat thirty percent less. Moreover, they age much healthier than mice that eat as much as they want. These are findings of a joint study being published today ...

New avenue for understanding cause of common diseases

August 25, 2016

A ground-breaking Auckland study could lead to discoveries about many common diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. The new finding could also illuminate the broader role of the enigmatic mitochondria in human development.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.