The Premier Integrative Applied Neurology
and Therapeutic Laser Center of Arizona

New Research Hot Off the Press Oct 1, 2015 Featured in SPINE

Smooth pursuit Eye Movement Deficits in Patients with Whiplash and Neck Pain are Modulated by Target Predictability.

What the heck does this mean? Well I will tell you.
What this article says is that there are eye tracking (smooth pursuit) abnormalities or eye movement weakness found in patients with Whiplash, neck pain and increased torsion in their neck. This torsion is called YAW.

Our Thought Process on This

A YAW deviation is when your head or neck is rotated (turned) left or right, with your shoulders remaining in the same static position (i.e. looking over your shoulder).

In this article, it reported that individuals with WAD (Whiplash Associated Disorders) showed abnormalities with both static central positioning of their head and with yaw deviations to the left and to the right at different angles. They came to the conclusion that the position (proprioception) of the neck WAS NOT the only thing that was creating breakdown in the smooth pursuit eye movements.

Simply put, if there are eye tracking problems present, this paper suggests that it could be due to neck pain, YAW deviation (head rotations) or other components.

To look further into this, let’s start with how the eyes see. Light travels through the cornea and lens and contacts light receptors on the back of the eye at a point called the Retina. The retina is interested in whatever you WANT to look at, your visual target so to speak. The rest of the brain, brainstem, cerebellum and vestibular system control the eye’s movements.

In order to have smooth pursuits, you must have adequate gaze stability, vestibular function, pontomedullary function, parietal lobe and frontal lobe function as well as appropriate visual acuity. Glasses take care of the visual acuity while the brain takes care of all the rest of the eye tracking functions. So if the brain is not functioning appropriately, you’re likely to have poor eye movements, and therefore decreased function of brain-body communication.

Now, doesn’t it make sense to have your brain and eye tracking systems evaluated if you have neck pain, if you’ve been in a car accident or hit your head instead of just getting your neck cracked to taking pain killers?

Yes, that’s what we thought too.

For the full PubMed link to the published article >