Observation and quantification of pathological lesions in the musculoskeletal structures of the cervical spine
This thesis describes the study carried out for the `Observation and Quantification of Pathological Lesions in the Musculoskeletal Structures of the Cervical Spine'. In particular, this study has focused on the identification and quantification of pathological lesions of the musculoskeletal complex of the cervical spine, resulting from a whiplash injury. Whiplash was first recognised in the early 1920's, and since this first report there has been a greater number of road users; which has led to an increase in its incidence. Whiplash is an injury of high socioeconomic importance and the ability to understand and assess this injury would benefit from a diagnostic technique. Whiplash injury is the result of a sudden movement of the head typically occurring as a result of a rear-end vehicle collision. Victims typically report varying levels of pain emanating from the neck region, although the exact cause of pain is yet to be established. This unknown pathoanatomy is a possible reason why a suitable diagnostic procedure has not been established. One suggestion is that damage occurring to the soft tissues of the neck, such as muscle and ligament, is responsible for the pain experienced following a whiplash injury. Diagnostic ultrasound is already well established and recognised for its ability to image the musculoskeletal system and identify pathologies, and for this reason is the chosen imaging modality for this study. The effectiveness of diagnostic ultrasound as a diagnostic tool of the soft tissues of the cervical region; and its ability to identify and quantify the pathoanatomy of whiplash is examined. The results of this research enabled the development of a diagnostic procedure that was carried out on whiplash patients. A future study has been suggested based on these findings for the further development of this procedure.