Preventing chronic pain after whiplash injury

Grant ID: EMPJ-379R27-2017

Lay Summary

After whiplash injury, half of patients never fully recover. The human and economic cost is enormous, and current mainstay treatments are ineffective. Most recovery, if it occurs, takes place in the first two to three months. This early time period offers a ‘window of opportunity’ to pro-actively intervene and prevent the chronic pain. The Emergency Department (ED) is ideally placed to provide very early intervention. We have shown that upregulation of pain in the central nervous system occurs soon after whiplash injury and predicts poor recovery. We aim to target these central nervous system processes with pregabalin in conjunction with evidence based physiotherapy advice/exercise in the ED. The results have potential to fundamentally change the treatment of acute whiplash injury.

Leveraged Funds

- Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University: $60,000


- Nikles J, Keijzers G, Leou J, Khan S, Ng J, Bond C, Nakamura G, Le R, Sterling M., "A retrospective descriptive observational study of patients who presented to an Australian hospital Emergency Department with whiplash injury", Emergency Medicine Australasia, 2019 Mar 20. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.13253. [Epub ahead of print]


Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Professor Gerben Keijzers

Co Investigators:
Professor Michele Sterling
Dr Jane Nikles

Associate Investigators:
Dr John Leou
Dr Scott Farrell


Collaborating Institutions


  • Seven Gold Coast_May 2017
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