Logo Medical Science Monitor

Call: +1.631.470.9640
Mon - Fri 10:00 am - 02:00 pm EST

Contact Us

Logo Medical Science Monitor Logo Medical Science Monitor Logo Medical Science Monitor

03 November 2003

From railway spine to whiplash – the recycling of nervous irritation

Robert Ferrari, Edward Shorter

Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(11): HY27-37 :: ID: 13274

Abstract

The search for a specific structural basis for chronic whiplash and other chronic pain and fatigue syndromes has been in progress for decades, and yet currently there remains no ‘structural’ solution to these enigmata. In light of the failure of research to identify the chronic ‘damage’ or pathology as lying in a muscular, bony, or ‘connective tissue’ sites for many chronic pain syndromes like whiplash, fibromyalgia, et cetera, more recent attention has been paid to nervous system structures. Nerve irritation has been implicated as the basis for the pain and other symptoms that are common to many chronic disability syndromes. We postulate here, however, that the concept of nervous irritation has been prostituted for centuries whenever more concrete structural explanations for chronic pain and other controversial illness have been untenable. We suggest that, after each cycle of nervous irritation as a disease, and subsequent dismissal of the notion, the doctrine of irritation as a disease was too good to go away. First, with the hypersthenic and asthenic diseases of the nineteenth century, then railway spine, whiplash, thoracic outlet syndrome, and now brachial plexus irritation, we detect the same pattern: patients with symptoms, but no objective evidence of nerve disease. Nervous irritation has repeatedly served this purpose for the last 200 years. It is our intent that bringing an understanding of this trend will encourage current clinicians and researchers to appreciate the need to abandon this form of speculation without historical insight when dealing with today’s controversial syndromes.

Keywords: Chronic Disease, Neck Pain - etiology, Nervous System - pathology, Pain - etiology, Psychophysiologic Disorders, Spine - pathology, Whiplash Injuries

Add Comment 0 Comments

Editorial

01 April 2024 : Editorial  

Editorial: Forty Years of Waiting for Prevention and Cure of HIV Infection – Ongoing Challenges and Hopes for Vaccine Development and Overcoming Antiretroviral Drug Resistance

Dinah V. Parums

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.944600

Med Sci Monit 2024; 30:e944600

0:00

In Press

10 Apr 2024 : Clinical Research  

Predicting Acute Cardiovascular Complications in COVID-19: Insights from a Specialized Cardiac Referral Dep...

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.942612  

06 Mar 2024 : Clinical Research  

Enhanced Surgical Outcomes of Popliteal Cyst Excision: A Retrospective Study Comparing Arthroscopic Debride...

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.941102  

06 Mar 2024 : Clinical Research  

Prevalence and Variation of Medical Comorbidities in Oral Surgery Patients: A Retrospective Study at Jazan ...

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.943884  

08 Mar 2024 : Clinical Research  

Evaluation of Foot Structure in Preschool Children Based on Body Mass

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.943765  

Most Viewed Current Articles

17 Jan 2024 : Review article  

Vaccination Guidelines for Pregnant Women: Addressing COVID-19 and the Omicron Variant

DOI :10.12659/MSM.942799

Med Sci Monit 2024; 30:e942799

0:00

14 Dec 2022 : Clinical Research  

Prevalence and Variability of Allergen-Specific Immunoglobulin E in Patients with Elevated Tryptase Levels

DOI :10.12659/MSM.937990

Med Sci Monit 2022; 28:e937990

0:00

16 May 2023 : Clinical Research  

Electrophysiological Testing for an Auditory Processing Disorder and Reading Performance in 54 School Stude...

DOI :10.12659/MSM.940387

Med Sci Monit 2023; 29:e940387

0:00

01 Jan 2022 : Editorial  

Editorial: Current Status of Oral Antiviral Drug Treatments for SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Non-Hospitalized Pa...

DOI :10.12659/MSM.935952

Med Sci Monit 2022; 28:e935952

0:00

Your Privacy

We use cookies to ensure the functionality of our website, to personalize content and advertising, to provide social media features, and to analyze our traffic. If you allow us to do so, we also inform our social media, advertising and analysis partners about your use of our website, You can decise for yourself which categories you you want to deny or allow. Please note that based on your settings not all functionalities of the site are available. View our privacy policy.

Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750