Whiplash is a real pain in the neck!
Thank you to Prof Michelle Sterling who presented her work on whiplash at our weekly Sydney University Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Research Group meeting yesterday. Michelle is the associate director of the RECOVER injury research centre and is a world expert on whiplash. She presented that the prevalence of chronic disability following whiplash is possibly worse than initially suspected with 50% of sufferers not recovering and 30% experiencing ongoing moderate to severe disability. She stated that the psychological impact of whiplash can be profound and that most discomfort, whichever the level, tends to plateau around 2-3 months after the accident.

She reported that radiological investigations have not been able to identify those patients who will develop chronic severe whiplash disorder but those patients tend to have greater initial pain and disability at onset. Whiplash disorder, she advised, also seems to be clinically different from typical chronic neck pain.

So… We don’t know who will become profoundly disabled due to whiplash and we are not even sure what the pain generating structures are or how to treat it. We do know, however, that too much treatment may even be detrimental and that it requires a specialised multifactorial approach. This approach needs to incorporate bio-psycho-social and bio-medical aspects, including exercise, which she advised is better conducted by trained physiotherapists; “Even better than general practitioners”.

Michelle also responded to a question I asked which has often troubled me about injuries in compensatory environments. She stated that there is no such thing as “cure by verdict” which means that even after lump sum payments are made by insurers and compensatory authorities, the profoundly affected patients do not recover. Shame..Michelle Sterling

Larry is a highly skilled physiotherapist who specialises in treating back and neck pain, postural issues and scoliosis. He is certified in Schroth and SEAS methods and through the Egoscue University. Larry has a background in elite gymnastics and springboard diving and also has many years experience in endurance running and triathlons. His specialist knowledge and techniques have seen him appointed as a gymnastics coach and physiotherapist at both the Olympics Games and Special Olympics.

His passion and driving philosophy is about achieving the best outcomes for his patients utilising an amalgam of the latest techniques and theories while recognising there may sometimes be a need for invasive procedures. Where deemed appropriate Larry will then refer to a specialist. To further his holistic understanding and approach, Larry is currently undertaking a Ph.D. in Spinal Deformity and regularly attends and speaks at international conferences and courses and clinics.

Fun fact: Larry is learning how to surf - so be careful next time you go to the beach! Qualifications: B.Sc (Physiotherapy); M.Sc. (Exercise Physiology); Advanced Certificates in Schroth (BSPTS) and Egoscue (PAS) and SEAS Larry is Level II certified (advanced) in the conservative treatment of Scoliosis based on the Schroth method. The training was conducted by Dr Manuel Rigo of the Barcelona School at Scoliosis Rehab Inc in Wisconsin. He has completed his SEAS scoliosis treatment training at ISICO in Milan. Larry has also spent time working with Dr Rigo in the Barcelona clinic. Larry also has advanced certificates in shoulder treatment, posture alignment therapy and acupuncture.