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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Whiplash study

BSMS > Research > Neuroscience > Whiplash study

Whiplash study

Be part of a research study funded by Versus Arthritis that aims to find out why some people continue to experience chronic pain after a whiplash injury.

In a joint study led by Professor Andrew Dilley, the Brighton and Sussex Medical School and University of Oxford are investigating why some patients develop chronic pain following a whiplash injury. Although most patients will make a full recovery, some patients have pain that persists. We currently do not know why this happens. Our work suggests that the nerves in the neck and arm may be inflamed. Inflammation is the body’s response to an injury. In this study, we want to determine whether nerve inflammation is responsible for the development of chronic pain following a whiplash injury. we are using MRI and clinical measures to see if inflammation of the nerves in the neck and arm is a cause of chronic pain in some patients following a whiplash injury. If this study is successful, we may be able to better predict which patients develop chronic pain. Our findings may also help clinicians determine the best treatment for these patients.

What will happen to me if I take part?

You will be asked to attend an appointment (~3 hours) with a member of the study team within one month following injury. The appointment will be held at either Brighton and Sussex Medical school, Brighton, or John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. During the appointment, we will perform the following examinations:

  1. An examination to test for changes in strength and movement in your neck and arms
  2. A test called quantitative sensory testing, which will measure how well you can feel different temperatures and pressures that are applied to your skin
  3. Tests that will look at how nerves respond when your limbs are moved 
  4. A blood sample to look for chemical signs of inflammation
  5. A magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) of your nerves in the neck and arm to look for signs of inflammation

We would also like you to complete some questionnaires regarding your symptoms and their possible impact on your life.

After six months, you will be sent the questionnaires again to complete. You may also be invited back for a repeat MRI scan, clinical examination and blood sample. If you have had a recent whiplash injury (< 4 weeks ago) and neck or arm pain, you may be eligible to participate in this study.

Expenses will be paid.

If you are interested in participating in this study, or would like further information please contact by email or telephone: 

Dr Colette Ridehalgh (Brighton site)
Phone: +44 (0)1273 075260

Dr Joel Fundaun (Oxford site)
Phone +44 (0)7719755677

For more information please download the participant information sheet (insert link) This study has received ethical approval from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School Research Governance and Ethics Committee (BSMS RGEC) and the Health Research Authority.

Download a patient information pack for the Whiplash Study >

Illustrated image for a skeleton showing hi lighted pressure on the spinal cord in the neck