Why do some auto injury patients have a delayed recovery?
How quickly a person recovers from an auto injury depends on a number of factors. Previous research has indicated that large range of sociodemographic, treatment, and clinical factors can influence a patient's prognosis.
A team of researchers recently conducted a retrospective review of a large database of individuals with neck injuries resulting from car collisions. Groups of acute, early chronic, and chronic injury patients were compared regarding 29 potential prognostic factors and the outcome of treatment.
Analysis found seven prognostic factors to be associated with poor recovery from auto injuries: 1) older age; 2) female; 3) present with lower limb pain; 4) already returned to work prior to first treatment visit; 5) have retained a lawyer; 5) have undergone previous spinal surgery; 6) lag time between date of initial injury and first visit for treatment, 7) higher initial pain intensity. Further investigation of these factors could be valuable for guiding future clinical treatment practices.
Dufton JA, et al. Delayed recovery in patients with whiplash-associated disorders. Injury 2012;43(7):1141-7.