Whiplash injuries from motor vehicle accidents, although common, remain a poorly understood clinical problem. Recent Australian data indicates that up to 60% of people may still have pain 6 months after their injury.

In recent years there has been greater investigation of whiplash and its effects. Research has revealed that people with ongoing symptoms may also have changes in the muscle or motor function of their neck and shoulder girdles. They may also experience balance disturbances; decreased proprioception and increased sensitivity to a variety of stimuli including pressure, light vibration, heat and cold. These changes not only occur in the neck, but also in body areas remote to the site of pain such as the font of the shin. The changes in sensation, where the patient experiences pain to stimuli that are usually innocuous, suggests the presence of disturbances in the neurobiological processing of pain most likely occurring within the central nervous system. Not surprisingly, people with whiplash and ongoing pain may also experience psychological distress. Not all these changes occur in every person and they usually present to varying degrees.

However there is still a lot that we don't know about whiplash and at the present time, research is focussing on several areas:

  • Developing better treatments for early or acute whiplash injury with the aim to prevent the development of chronic symptoms.
  • Determining what factors are predictive of slower recovery following a whiplash injury. This will allow improved treatments for those who need them most.
  • Investigating how stress responses associated with the motor vehicle crash may influence pain, other symptoms and recovery and how these responses are best addressed.
  • Research of the effect of a whiplash injury on the daily life function of individuals.
  • Developing improved assessment methods for Physiotherapists, General Practitioners and Chiropractors to use in their evaluation of people with whiplash such that appropriate treatments can be commenced early.
  • Investigating whether or not some Complimentary and Alternative Medicine treatments may help in recovery following whiplash injury.
  • In order to learn and understand the whiplash condition and to develop improved treatments, we are always in need of volunteers for our research work.

Research volunteers needed

We are currently seeking volunteers for Whiplash Associated Disorders Research.