Ongoing Neck Pain after Whiplash InjuryPeople can have chronic neck pain after a whiplash injury whether the trauma was mild or severe. What factors predict chronic disability after whiplash injury? That's the focus of this study from South Australia.
Patients in the study came from local hospital emergency rooms, medical offices, and physical therapy clinics. All had a whiplash injury within the last six weeks. Patient results were measured based on pain, treatment received, return to work, and settlement of the claim. Everyone was rechecked 12 months later.
Researchers found patients had less improvement when a lawyer was involved in the case. In fact there was less chance the claim would be settled when a lawyer was involved. Patients who filed a claim were more likely to still be in treatment a full year after the injury. The amount of damage to a car didn't seem to have any bearing on the final result.
The authors conclude an insurance system is needed to reduce legal cases. Recovery after accidents is slowed down or stopped when the settlement depends on pain. Other studies support the idea that our current insurance system actually promotes delayed healing.
Richard Townsend Gun, MB, BS, et al. Risk Factors for Prolonged Disability after Whiplash Injury: A Prospective Study. In Spine. February 15, 2005. Vol. 30. No. 4. Pp. 386-391.
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