Awarded Grant Traumatic Injury Biomechanics

Abstract, Phase 1

Project Period: 9/30/01–9/29/04
Grant Number: CCR519751

Description: Whiplash-associated disorders are a major problem related to motor vehicle crashes, particularly those involving rear-end impact. The cervical facet joints, small synovial joints between the vertebrae, may be subject to excessive strain during whiplash. The aim of this study is to determine if the cervical facet joint capsules are a likely source of whiplash pain. The study investigates the distribution of nerve endings in human and goat cervical facet joint capsules and determines the amount of strain necessary to cause pain fibers to fire in cervical facet joint capsules of the goat. Researchers use neurophysiology, immunocytochemistry, and biomechanical techniques.

Abstract, Phase 2

Project Period: 8/1/04–8/31/08
Grant Number: CE000455

Description: This project builds on previous studies, which implicate the facet joints as perhaps the major source of pain after whiplash. Researchers will use histological, neurophysiological, and biomechanical techniques to determine if nociceptors (pain receptors) in the cervical facet joints can be a source of whiplash pain. The specific aims of this second-phase study are to determine (1) the response of cervical facet nociceptors and mechanoreceptors to low- versus high-rate loading; (2) the response of paraspinal muscles to low-rate facet capsule stain; (3) the morphology of the human cervical facet joint capsules, including the ventral aspect of the joint and synovial folds; and (4) the distribution of nerves and nerve endings in the human facet joint capsule, with focus on anterior aspects and synovial folds. Immunocytochemistry will be used to identify nerves containing substance P (SP) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), neuropeptides associated with pain, and beta amyloid precursor protein (BAPP).