New MRI Technique Can Help Identify Chronic Pain in Whiplash Patients

According to a new article, posted here, scientists have developed a special MRI imaging technique that will allow professionals to predict which patients who are suffering from a whiplash injury will later develop chronic pain, disability, and PTSD.  This new MRI imaging technique works by measuring the fat to water ratio in the muscles.  Patients who are more likely to develop chronic pain having more fat enter the injured neck muscles than the average patient. This infiltration of fat into the neck muscles leads to accelerated atrophy.  If physicians can identify these differences in the specialized MRI scans early enough, they may be able to change their treatment plan to better help their patients who are prone to more long-term injury. 
This research is especially relevant, given that about a quarter of all whiplash patients will have pain that lasts several months or years. Whiplash-associated issues affect over 4 million Americans every year.  Whiplash is a painful and common cause of complaint after an injury such as an automobile accident.  In some cases, the pain associated with whiplash is so severe that it interferes with work and sleep, thus leading to both fatigue and irritability.  In even more severe cases, these problems can develop into depression and lowered cognitive abilities, such as problems with memory and concentration.  Disc herniation may also have occurred during the accident and will need to be addressed by a physician.  It is important to realize that the symptoms of whiplash may not manifest themselves until a few days after an accident, so if you or a loved one are in an automobile accident and have unexplained neck and back pain a few days later, whiplash may be the cause of your discomfort. The most common way to experience whiplash from an automobile accident is from a rear-end collision.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA and serves the central and western Pennsylvania area.  For more information on him and his firm, please call 814-946-4100. 

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