Objectives: We report on a patient with whiplash injury who had central pain, due to injury of the spinothalamic tract (STT), but who was misdiagnosed as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Case description: While a minivan in which a 43-year-old female was seated in the passenger seat was stopped for a signal, a truck collided with the minivan from behind, and the minivan then repeatedly collided with trucks in front and behind the minivan. Her head repeatedly struck the minivan seat resulting in whiplash injuries. After onset, she felt pain in both legs with mild motor weakness in all four extremities and memory impairment. Eight years after onset, she was diagnosed at a university hospital as CRPS type 1 with the clinical features of hyperalgesia and mild edema and motor weakness of both legs. She visited another university hospital nine years after onset and complained of pain in the right arm and both legs, constant tingling and burning pain along with allodynia and hyperalgesia. She also showed mild weakness in the four extremities, mild edema of both legs, and memory impairment. On diffusion tensor tractography (DTT), the left spinothalamic tract (STT) showed marked narrowing, and the right STT revealed mild narrowing and partial tearing. In addition, partial tears were observed in both corticospinal tracts and the right corticoreticulospinal tract. Discontinuations were observed in the left corticoreticulospinal tract and the left fornical crus. Conclusion: Injury of the STT was demonstrated on DTT in a patient with central pain following whiplash injury. Previously, the patient was misdiagnosed as CRPS.
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