Effects of Whiplash Injury on Median Nerve Mobility: A Comparative Study

Abstract

Chronic pain following whiplash injury is a challenging condition for healthcare professionals. Clinical signs of changes in neural mobility have been observed in these patients, which may be responsible for symptoms. The present study used ultrasound imaging to evaluate and compare median nerve movement in subjects who have previously had a whiplash associated disorder (WAD) (n=7) with a control group (n=10). Longitudinal and transverse nerve sliding was measured at mid-forearm during neck movement from neutral to contralateral side flexion. Data were analyzed using descriptive and non-parametric statistical methods.Longitudinal nerve movement was reduced by 24% in WAD group compared with control group, where the mean movement was 1.31 (SD=0.49) mm and 1.73 (SD=0.92) mm respectively. Transverse movement was reduced by 66.7% in patient group compared with control group, where the mean movement was -0.06 (SD=0.51) mm and -0.18 (SD=0.54) mm respectively. Overall there was a trend of reduced nerve sliding in whiplash patients but this did not achieve statistical significance. Further research should utilise a larger sample to further evaluate the nature and extend of changes in neural mobility in a patient population.

Keywords: Whiplash; Median nerve; Ultrasound imaging; Nerve movement.


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