Elliott, James, PT, PhD



Elliott, James, PT, PhD


Assistant Professor



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Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences


645 North Michigan Ave, Suite 100 Chicago



Areas of Research

Motor Control, Movement & Rehabilitation, Neurobiology of Disease

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Current Research

Current Research

<strong>Neuromuscular mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain</strong>

My laboratory is studying the neuromuscular mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain following whiplash injuries from a motor vehicle crash (MVC).

Many of our ongoing experiments focus on the use of structural and advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) applications to quantify the temporal development of paraspinal muscle degeneration and altered metabolism of the spinal cord as potential cellular and molecular substrates of persistent pain following whiplash injuries. Broad applications of my work includes preventing, diagnosing, and treating whiplash related pain and its sequelae. This research is based on my clinical and research experience and has expanded through interdisciplinary efforts involving the fields of magnetic resonance physics, radiology, biomedical engineering, neurophysiology and physical therapy.

Recent experiments have focused on the temporal development of muscle fatty infiltrates on structural MRI and their role in the transition to chronic pain. We are also using advanced imaging applications (MR spectroscopy and diffusion weighted imaging) of the spinal cord and soft-aqueous tissues following whiplash injury and other neuromusculoskeletal conditions to better understand the cellular and systems changes involved in the development of chronic pain. The goal of these experiments is to use them to assist in exploring and developing more informed treatments for whiplash and other neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

Other ongoing and developing experimental lines include high field MRI applications in rats and humans to understand parallels between peripheral and central nervous system functioning in rats and humans; the effects of stress on cord metabolism and muscle structure and functioning and the exploration of neuroprotective measures in the acute stages of traumatic spinal injury.