Evidence-Based Assessment of Acute Whiplash for Prognosis and Treatment Planning

presented by James Elliott & David Walton

Accreditation Check:

This course is part of our OCS Prep-Program. Learn more about the full prep-program here: MedBridge OCS Prep-Program.

This course will break down the challenge of whiplash, including topics such as its incidence, cost, trajectory, and presentation. You will review the mechanisms that influence clinical presentation and recovery as well as the clinical assessment and evaluation procedures. Dr. Walton and Dr. Elliot will review screening for red flags, key interview questions, clinical tests, appropriate use of diagnostic imaging, recommended self-report questionnaires and outcomes. You will also cover what is known about the factors that influence recovery from acute WAD, and how clinicians can use this information for prognosis-based treatment programs.

Meet Your Instructor s

  • James Elliott, PT, PhD

    James (Jim) Elliott (@elliottjim) completed his PhD at the University of Queensland, Australia (UQ) in 2007 and a post-doctoral fellowship (2010) at UQ’s Centre for Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury and Health and the Centre for Advanced Imaging. He is currently a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Feinberg School of Medicine and the principal investigator of The Neuromuscular Imaging Research Lab (@NIRL_NU) where he supervises five PhD students. Jim is also an Honorary Senior Fellow at UQ and an Affiliate Professor at the Zürich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland. He has been successful as an early career investigator as in evidence of $3.3 million in research funding, over 60 peer-reviewed publications, and numerous speaking invitations at interdisciplinary conferences on a national and international level. The primary focus of Jim’s laboratory is to characterize the underlying neurophysiological and biological mechanisms for poor functional recovery following spinal trauma, in particular, traumatic injuries following a motor vehicle collision (MVC). Broad applications of his work include preventing, diagnosing, and treating neuromuscular related pain and its sequelae. To do this, he utilizes structural and advanced imaging applications to quantify the temporal development of altered spinal cord anatomy and whole-body skeletal muscle degeneration as potential markers of poor functional outcomes. Jim currently serves as an Advisory Board Member for the journal Spine and is a Board of Director for the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Jim played professional baseball for the San Diego Padres (1990-1992), worked in major league baseball operations for the Colorado Rockies (1993-1996), and was recently inducted into the University of Denver Athletic Hall of Fame (2014). In full transparency, Jim admits to needing medication for his life-long love of the Chicago Cubs.

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  • David Walton, PT, PhD, FCAMPT

    David Walton (@uwo_dwalton) completed his BScPT in Physical Therapy from the University of Western Ontario in 1999, MSc in Neuroscience in 2001, and PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Science from Western in 2010. Following a combined 10 years of clinical practice, he is now Associate Professor in the School of Physical Therapy at Western University (London, Canada), an Associate Scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute, and a member of the teaching faculty with Western's Bone and Joint Institute. He is Director and Principal Investigator of the Pain and Quality of Life Integrative Research Lab where he supervises five PhD and one MSc student in addition to several professional and undergraduate students. Dave is active in the University community, having formed two interdisciplinary research groups: the Collaboration for the Integration of Rehabilitation and Consumer Electronics (CIRCLE) and the Solving Traumatic pain and disability through Advanced Research Translation (START) groups. Innovative research and knowledge translation initiatives are underway through these groups that focus on improving measurement, prognosis, and treatment for neuromusculoskeletal pain problems of primarily the neck and low back. He has published over 50 scientific publications, four book chapters, presented at several national and international conferences, and has secured nearly $1 million in research funding. Outside of the University, Dave is currently an Associate Editor with the scientific Manual Therapy and an International Editor for The Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, he is Secretary of the Education Special Interest Group of the International Association for the Study of Pain, a member of the Allied Health subsection of the North American Spine Society, and co-founder / past-Chair of the Pain Science Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Dave has been recognized for this teaching and mentorship through two Faculty Teaching Awards of Excellence and the 2014 National Mentorship Award from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. He is an active member of Western's Teaching Support Centre through which he facilitates workshops for faculty development, and is increasingly sought as a provider of Continuing Professional Development in the area of neck pain management, soft skills development, pain assessment, and adult education for clinicians. Finally, and most importantly, Dave is immensely proud of his role as father to two incredible daughters and husband of an outstanding wife. The phrase 'punching above his weight' most certainly applies.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

  1. The Challenge of Whiplash

    1. The Challenge of Whiplash

    Chapter one of this course will cover the current estimates of annual incidence, costs, anticipated recovery and the wide spectrum of signs and symptoms associated with whiplash.

  2. Initial Clinical Evaluation and Screening Procedures

    2. Initial Clinical Evaluation and Screening Procedures

    Mr. Walton will provide an appropriate step-by-step guide to assessment, evaluation and screening in acute WAD, with a focus on screening for red flags and risk factors for chronicity.

  3. Detailed Mechanical, Neural and Cognitive Evaluation

    3. Detailed Mechanical, Neural and Cognitive Evaluation

    Chapter three will cover how to use key patient-reported outcomes/cognitive screening tools and Mr. Walton will demonstrate clinical assessment procedures.

  4. Establishing a Prognosis

    4. Establishing a Prognosis

    Mr. Walton will describe current best knowledge on conventional imaging applications within the biomedical model and provide foundational evidence for advanced, but available, imaging applications within the context of the heterogeneous whiplash condition.

  5. The Why, When, and How of Diagnostic Imaging for WAD

    5. The Why, When, and How of Diagnostic Imaging for WAD

    The final chapter of the course will go over current evidence on prognosis in acute WAD and provide information on consistent factors that predict chronic problems as well as highlight those that don’t appear to be predictive.