Spinal cord metabolism and muscle water diffusion in whiplash

J. M. Elliott*, A. R. Pedler, G. Cowin, M. Sterling, K. McMahon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Study design: Case series. Objectives: To quantify spinal cord metabolites and neck muscle fast and slow water diffusion in a small sample of patients with chronic whiplash and healthy controls. Setting: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Methods: In five subjects with chronic whiplash and seven controls, we performed magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of the cervical spinal cord and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) of the cervical multifidus muscle. Results: Significant reductions in N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratios were found in subjects with chronic whiplash when compared with healthy controls (P=0.02). Significantly higher fast apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) were found in chronic whiplash when compared with the healthy controls (P=0.01). There was no difference in slow ADCs between the two groups (P=0.3). Conclusion: The potential value of MRS and DWI to quantify the presence of neuromuscular degeneration as a potential mechanism underlying chronic whiplash is recognized. Larger-scaled prospective studies are warranted and required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-476
Number of pages3
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • MR spectroscopy
  • diffusion-weighted imaging
  • pain
  • whiplash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Rehabilitation


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