Chronic Auto Injury Pain and Functional Impairments
This study examined 30 car crash patients an average of 13 months after their accidents. The researchers found that:
- Pain appeared on the day of the accident in 80% of the patients. "The other 6 patients reported a pain-free interval from the accident of varying length; in 4 patients the delay exceeded 3 months."
- "All patients had pain in the neck, 17-33% had headache and 6-17% had pain in various regions of the arms. Thirteen patients (43%) suffered from constant pain, while 17 (57%) had pain-free periods."
- "Muscle tenderness was higher at all tested sites compared with controls."
- "The whiplash patients showed poorer mental well-being compared with a reference group representing the general population and compared with a group of tension-type headache patients."
- Eighty percent of the patients were involved in litigation, but the study unfortunately did not discuss differences in symptoms between litigating and nonlitigating patients.
The authors conclude that, "patients with prolonged disability after a whiplash injury present a complex clinical picture, with both somatic and mental symptoms, most of which are hard to explain. This should be seen as reflecting the inadequacy of our diagnostic methods and not as a reason for classifying the whiplash injury syndrome as a non-organic disorder arising from neurosis and the desire for compensation."
Hagström Y, Carlsson J. Prolonged functional impairments after whiplash injury. Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 1996;28:139-146.