Can a Simple, Inexpensive Blood Lab Test Really Prove Whiplash?
The problem with whiplash and other injuries associated with car accidents, is that many times there is very little evidence of an injury except for subjective complaints of pain. The doctor caring for a car accident injury victim needs to be able to scientifically prove injuries exist and then be able to follow up and show the problem has gotten better. X-rays and MRI's can be normal, but the patient still complains of pain. What to do?
JW Pritchett writing in the American Journal of Orthopedics* presented a study in which a blood test usually used to indicate inflammation, "C-reactive Protein" or "CRP" was elevated in the presence of disc, ligament and tendon tears 48 hours after an injury. Blood samples taken too early were found to miss the elevated CRP as it takes time to rise.
His research indicated that the more damage was done, the higher the CRP levels in the blood, but that also different structures caused differing levels of elevation of CRP. But as proof of an actual ligament or tendon tear, he found that patients with pain, but no demonstrable tears on MRI the CRP levels stayed below 1.0 mg/dl and those patients with tears remained above 1.1 mg/dl. He further found that patients who undergo joint replacement, disc surgery, suffer fractures or sustained major trauma will have CRP levels increased by several hundred times the normal. (The normal value for 99% of the population is less than 1.0 mg/dl)
A simple blood test, CRP, can detect if discs, ligaments and/or tendons are torn after a trauma such as a car accident. This gives the doctor treating car accident injuries a way to monitor treatment, but also prove the existence of a major injury.
Dr Barry Marks Chiropractor and Car Accident Treatment Specialist
1745 W. Orangewood Ave #114
Orange, CA 92868
+1 (714) 938-0575
* Pritchett JW. "C-reactive protein levels determine the severity of soft tissue injuries." The American Journal of Orthopedics 1996; Nov:759-761.