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Dynamic Chiropractic – December 1, 2001, Vol. 19, Issue 25

WHO Collaborating Center Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders

By Editorial Staff
Neck pain, headaches, radiating arm and upper back pain are a major problem in today's society. It is estimated that neck pain and its associated disorders disables five percent of the population, and that between 10 and 20 percent of the population experience persistent or chronic neck pain.

The current research literature shows little about the most effective methods of dealing with this important problem, even though the cost of neck pain in North America totals billions of dollars each year and is rapidly increasing.

In 1995 the Quebec Task Force on Whiplash Associated Disorder released the first systematic review of the literature on whiplash.1 This work represents a baseline of the information on this issue. Since then, new scientific studies have been published requiring a new task force to continue and extend the work. This new task force will be working with the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Collaborative Center for Neurotrauma at Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The task force will address several factors to establish the most effective and cost effective manner of treating neck pain:

  • understanding the effectiveness of each form of care;
  • understanding the complications of each form of care;
  • understanding the costs of each form of care;
  • understanding the factors that motivate patients to choose a particular form of care.

The task force will attempt to answer each of these questions as they pertain to neck pain and associated disorders, especially arm pain and headaches, based on original research and a review of the scientific literature. The task force consists of authorities from around the world, representing multiple clinical and research disciplines that have the ability to assess the results of this scientific investigation and literature review; to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines or recommendations which could be used by clinicians and government and private insurers of health care to improve the effectiveness and reduce the costs of treating patients who present with neck pain.

The majority of the task force funding will be provided by NCMIC and the Canadian Chiropractic Protective Association, with additional funded by a number of corporations form Brazil, Canada, Sweden and the U.S.

Objectives of the Task Force

  1. complete a systematic search and critical review of the scientific literature on neck pain and its associated disorders, including the epidemiology, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of neck pain;

  2. complete original research on the risks associated with the treatment of neck pain and associated disorders with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and manipulation of the cervical spine;

  3. complete original research using decision analysis to examine cost-effectiveness and patient preference for various treatment options;

  4. reach a formalized consensus of experts in topic areas where there is no evidence;

  5. combine the above results in a "best evidence synthesis," which addresses risk and prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment risks and benefits, based on the best available scientific evidence.

Members of the Task Force

Administrative Committee (will administrate all aspects of the task force.)

President: Scott Haldeman,DC,MD,PhD,FRCP(C)
Clinical professor, department of neurology, University of California, Irvine. Adjunct professor, Southern California University of Health Sciences.

Vice President: Åke Nygren,DDS, MD,PhD
Professor, Karolinska Institute, and head of the section for personal injury prevention, department of clinical neurosciences.

Scientific Secretary: J. David Cassidy, DC,PhD
Associate professor of epidemiology and medicine, department of public health sciences, University of Alberta; guest research professor, section for personal injury prevention, department of clinical neurosciences, Karolinska Institute.

Administrative Vice President: John Schubert
Accountant; consultant to the insurance, health and rehabilitation industries, with expertise in strategic thinking, disability management, outcomes research, rehabilitation programs and underwriting.

Scientific Secretariat (will complete the systematic review, original research and write the task force report.)
President: Scott Haldeman,DC,PhD, FRCP(C)

Vice President: Åke Nygren,DDS, MD,PhD

Scientific Secretary: J David Cassidy, DC,PhD

Linda Carroll,PhD
Associate professor of epidemiology, department of public health sciences, University of Alberta.

Pierre Côté,DC,M.Sc
PhD candidate in epidemiology and biostatistics in the department of public health sciences at University of Toronto.

Sheila Hogg-Johnson,PhD
Senior biostatistician, Institute for Work and Health.
Associated professor of biostatistics, department of public health sciences, University of Toronto.

Eric Hurwitz,DC,PhD
Assistant professor in residence in the department of epidemiology, school of public health, University of California at Los Angeles, and assistant professor in the department of research, Southern California University of Health Sciences.

Paul Peloso,MD,MSc,FRCP(C)
Associate professor of medicine, University of Saskatchewan, where he also has a rheumatology clinical practice in the department of internal medicine.

Margareta Nordin,PT,PhD
Director, Occupational and Industrial Orthopaedic Center, Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York University Medical Center.

Advisory Board members (acts as an expert resource for the scientific secretariat and participates in the formulation of the conclusions and recommendations based on the "best evidence synthesis.")

Dorcus Beaton,OT,PhD
Research fellow, Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Nikolai Bogduk,MD
Professor and director, Newcastle Bone and Joint Institute, University of Newcastle, Australia.

Claire Bombardier,MD,FRCP(C)
Professor of medicine, University of Toronto.

Eduardo Bracher,DC,MD
Professor, department of experimental physiopathology, school of medicine São Paulo University, Brazil

Eugene Carragee,MD
Department of orthopedic surgery, Stanford University

Jiri Dvorak,MD
Professor of neurology, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Sandra Johnson
Patient advocate

William Johnson,PhD
Professor of health administration and policy, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, U.S.

Hal Morgenstern,PhD
Professor of epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Rachid Salmi,MD,PhD
Professor of epidemiology, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.

James Weinstein,DO,MS
Professor, department of orthopedics, Dartmouth Medical School.
Editor, Spine

Gabrielle van der Velde, DC
Graduate student member.
Department of health policy, management and evaluation, University of Toronto.

  1. Quebec Task Force Rewrites Whiplash Protocols. Dynamic Chiropractic, June 5, 1995.
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