Study findings show that the connection between whiplash and brain injury is more significant than thought
While it has long been known that whiplash can cause injuries to the cervical spine, a study published in the journal Brain Injury, (“Chiari and Whiplash Injury,” co-authored by Ezriel E. Kornel, M.D. F.A.C.S., Michael D. Freeman, Ph.D., and others) shows that whiplash may also cause anatomical changes that can result in brain injury.
The study, one of the few to look at the connection between whiplash and brain injury, examined the MRI scans of 1200 neck pain patients and found that those patients suffering from whiplash were more likely to have anatomical changes to the brain resulting in brain injury, specifically, a herniation of the brain called Chiari malformation, in which the bottom part of the brain (the cerebellum) dips through an opening in the base of the skull after a whiplash injury.
Preliminary findings showed that brain injury occurred in 23% of the whiplash cases studied.
According to Dr. Kornel, a principal with Brain & Spine Surgeons of New York in White Plains, New York, “This condition can be quite painful and endanger the patient’s health, with symptoms that may include headaches, neck pain, upper extremity numbness and tingling, and weakness. In a few cases, there can also be lower extremity weakness and brain dysfunction.” Dr. Kornel advises anyone suffering from whiplash to see a physician immediately.
Dr. Kornel is a leader in minimally invasive endoscopic surgery of the spine as well as minimally invasive approaches in the surgical treatment of brain tumors. He has been a principal of Brain & Spine Surgeons of New York since 1990 and currently serves on the board of directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Dr. Kornel is in the forefront of minimally invasive neurosurgery (MIS). MIS is used to minimize the trauma of surgery and increase the speed of recovery. Because of his particular interest in cervical spine surgery, he is one of the first neurosurgeons in the New York metropolitan area to replace damaged cervical discs with the newly introduced artificial discs. For more information, visit Dr. Kornel’s website, www.brainandspinesurgeon.com