NHMRC Research Fellowship (SRF A): Whiplash injury: Mechanisms, prediction and directives for improved management strategies (2011–2014)
Whiplash injury incurs substantial personal and economic costs to the Australian community. Many people develop chronic pain and disability following the injury and whilst we have some understanding of 'who' will develop chronic pain, we do not understand 'why' this occurs. The research to be undertaken as part of this fellowship will broadly fit into the following themes:
1. Investigate processes underlying the transition to chronic pain via exploration of peripheral and central pain processing mechanisms (temporal summation, inhibitory processes, supraspinal processes using fMRI); stress system responses and the role in inflammatory processes.
2. The prediction of outcome following whiplash via the recognition of new and potentially modifiable prognostic indicators. Clinical translation will be facilitated by the development of assessment methods that could be used in the clinical environment such that at risk individuals are identified for appropriate early intervention.
3. Development and testing of new and innovative interventions for whiplash. This line of research will include the testing of new exercise interventions and complimentary medicine approaches to chronic whiplash. It will also combine psychological (trauma-focussed therapy) and physical rehabilitation methods to improve outcomes for injure people.
4. Development of new care models in primary care. This line of research will aim to improve the management of whiplash and musculoskeletal pain in primary care. It will investigate an internet based model of patient centred care involving communicative collaboration between health care providers as well as the testing of aggressive early pain relief for this at high risk of poor recovery.
The results of this research will change the way whiplash is managed leading to improved outcomes for injured people and reduced costs associated with the condition.