Neuromuscular Mechanisms Underlying Poor Recovery From Whiplash Injuries

About Whiplash

HyperextensionWhiplash is a condition that consists of patients that display varying degrees of pain and disability. Most patients with whiplash should expect full-recovery within the first 2-3 months post injury.

At the other end of the spectrum is a group of patients (~ 25%) who continue to have moderate-severe pain-related disability in the long-term. Reasons for this transition to chronicity are largely unknown.

The situation would benefit if there were radiological findings of the disorder. However, clear and consistent findings of injured tissues on standard radiological exams remain elusive.

Purpose and Objective of Study

This study is investigating whether changes in the shape and size of bodily muscles and spinal cord anatomy can influence recovery rates following a motor vehicle collision (MVC). The objective is to demonstrate that the presence of muscle and spinal cord degeneration and associated muscle weakness is the consequence of a mild MVC-related injury involving the cervical spinal cord.

Clinical Trial Sponsor

This clinical trial is sponsored by Northwestern University.

Recruiting Location (United States)

Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611
Contact: Marie Wasielewski    312-503-1820
Principal Investigator: James M Elliott, PhD

Eligibility, Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Males and Females (18 - 65 years of age)
  • Individuals less than one week post motor vehicle accident (MVA) with a primary complaint of neck pain
  • Able to give written informed consent and complete interviews in English

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Individuals with a spinal fracture from the MVA, or spinal surgeries
  • History of one or more MVAs or previous diagnosis of cervical or lumbar radiculopathy
  • History of neurological disorders (eg, multiple sclerosis, previous stroke, myelopathy), inflammatory diseases (eg, hepatitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, alzheimers, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia) or metabolic disorders (eg, diabetes, hyper- and hypo-thyroidism)
  • Standard contraindications to MRI: claustrophobia, metallic implants, pacemaker and pregnancy.

* Additional inclusion/exclusion criteria apply. Please consult with your physician to review the complete eligibility criteria.


Updated on: 10/09/15