Psychosocial Factors Predict Recovery from Auto Injuries
Long-term pain and disability following auto injuries have become an increasingly significant problem, causing substantial individual and social costs. Some patients recover relatively quickly, while others experience chronic pain and long-term disability. However, risk factors influencing prognosis are not well-understood. In recent dissertation published in the Danish Medical Journal, researchers used questionnaire data to determine whether pre-collision health-related and socio-demographic factors affect recovery from auto collisions.
The study involved patients who had been in auto collisions in Denmark from 2001 to 2003. Thirty-six percent of these patients reported considerable neck pain one year after the collision. Certain self-reported characteristics were found to be important for recovery following the trauma. The researchers found the following factors to predict future neck pain: pre-collision self-reported pain, high psychological distress, low educational level, and female gender.
This study suggests that data on pre-accident factors could provide valuable information about prognosis following acute trauma, and help to identify patients who may at risk of chronic pain following car crashes.
In another recent study, researchers tested new guidelines that could help doctors predict recovery.
Carstensen TB. The influence of psychosocial factors on recovery following acute whiplash trauma. Danish Medical Journal 2012;59(12):B4560.