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How does the neck contribute to post-concussion symptoms?

Research profile

Concussion injuries are characterised by a broad range of symptoms such as headache, dizziness, neck pain, cognitive and emotional disturbance.

physio_ewan kennedy 2019 B+W 418A particular challenge is that concussion injuries can injure the brain, vestibular and visual systems, the neck, and more – all of which are capable of contributing to symptoms.

To help individuals with persistent post-concussion symptoms effectively, our research team think it is important to understand the underlying sources of symptoms and tailor treatment appropriately.

Our main focus is to better understand how the neck contributes to persistent post-concussion symptoms.

The neck is known to cause headaches, dizziness and neck pain, which can be effectively treated with physiotherapy.

This project area is led by Dr Ewan Kennedy

Projects

Characteristics of  neck problems in people with persistent post-concussion symptoms

In collaboration with local Physiotherapists and ACC concussion service providers we have been working on studies to describe the contribution of the neck to persistent post-concussion symptoms, with particular attention to headaches, dizziness and/or neck pain.

Research team

  • Dr Ewan Kennedy (University of Otago)
  • Mr Dusty Quinn (Back in Motion Ltd.)
  • Dr Cathy Chapple (University of Otago)
  • Dr Steve Tumilty (University of Otago)

MRI study: Concussion and whiplash

Comparing the neck features of people with concussion and whiplash using advanced imaging techniques.

Currently recruiting for Concussion and whiplash study

Research team

  • Dr Ewan Kennedy (University of Otago)
  • Dr Steve Tumilty (University of Otago)
  • Dr Cathy Chapple (University of Otago)
  • Dr Grant Meikle (Pacific Radiology Group)

National and international collaborators

  • Dr Jon Cornwall (Victoria University – Wellington, New Zealand)
  • Dr Scott Farrell (Griffith University – Queensland, Australia)
  • Dr James Elliott (Northwestern University – Chicago, USA)

Publications

van der Walt, K., Tyson, A., & Kennedy, E. (2018). How often is neck and vestibulo-ocular physiotherapy treatment recommended in people with persistent post-concussion symptoms? A retrospective analysis. Musculoskeletal Science & Practice. 39: 130-135. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2018.12.004

Elliott, J. M., Cornwall, J., Kennedy, E., Abbott, R., & Crawford, R. J. (2018). Towards defining muscular regions of interest from axial magnetic resonance imaging with anatomical cross-reference: Part II: Cervical spine musculature. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 19, 171. doi: 10.1186/s12891-018-2074-y

Kennedy,E., Quinn, D. Chapple, C., Tumilty, S,. (2018) Cervical Spine Dysfunction in People With Persistent Postconcussion Symptoms: A Prospective Case Series, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2017 Volume:48 Issue:1 Pages:A1–A29

Kennedy, E., Quinn, D., Tumilty, S., & Chapple, C. (2017). Clinical characteristics and outcomes of treatment of the cervical spine in patients with persistent post-concussion symptoms: A retrospective analysis. Musculoskeletal Science & Practice, 29, 91-98. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2017.03.002

Kennedy, E., Albert, M., & Nicholson, H. (2017). Do longus capitis and colli really stabilise the cervical spine? A study of their fascicular anatomy and peak force capabilities. Musculoskeletal Science & Practice, 32, 104-113

Presentations 

Upcoming presentations


Kennedy, E. Quinn, D. Invited workshop at New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapists Association 50th Anniversary Symposium: Saturday 15th June, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand Kennedy, E. 

Previous presentations

Kennedy, E. Invited speaker invitation:  “Concussion – a changing culture 2018” www.braininjuryhb.org.nz/event/concussion-conference/a-changing-culture

Kennedy, E., Quinn, D., Chapple, C., Tumilty, S,. (2018, February) Cervical Spine Dysfunction in People With Persistent Post-Concussion Symptoms: A Prospective Case Series. Oral presentation at the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM), New Orleans, USA. [Proceedings: Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2017 Volume:48 Issue:1 Pages:A1–A29]

Kennedy, E. (2018, September). Towards integrating neck and concussion rehabilitation in New Zealand. Korero/facilitated discussion forum at the Physiotherapy New Zealand conference, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Kennedy, E. (2017, November). It's not all in your head: Persistent post-concussion symptoms can be neck-related. Invited oral presentation at the Southern Physiotherapy Symposium 8, Queenstown, New Zealand.

Kennedy, E. (2017, August). How does the neck contribute to persistent post-concussion symptoms? A prospective case series. Oral presentation at the New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapists Association (NZMPA) Biennial Scientific Conference, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Kennedy, E. (2017, February). How does the neck contribute to persistent post-concussion symptoms? School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Department Seminar].

Research students

Sophie Maxtone (Honours 2019). How are physiotherapists involved in the recognition, assessment and management of concussion in New Zealand? A national survey.

Karla van der Walt (Honours, 2018) How often does the neck contribute to persistent post-concussion symptoms?

Jack Gifford, Rebecca Herkt, Alexia Parker, Aiden Toder (459 project, 2018) Screening people with concussion for neck injuries: What is current practice? A scoping review

Research funding

This research is generously supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy, funded by the Alumni of the University of Otago in America, Inc.

Collaborators

APM Workcare Limited - Amy Tyson
Head Injury Clinic, School of Physiotherapy