Study design: A descriptive case series pre- and post-treatment design, including a 6-month follow-up.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to document the improvements of patients with chronic symptoms after a "whiplash" injury of the neck, who attended a 4-week multimodal treatment program at the Rug AdviesCentra Nederland.
Summary of background data: To the authors' knowledge, no studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of multidisciplinary treatment of chronic symptoms after whiplash injury.
Methods: Twenty-six patients who experienced Quebec type 1 or 2 lesions of the neck (whiplash) with persisting symptoms of longer than 6 months' duration participated in the study. The measures included were pain intensity (according to the visual analog scale), number of painful sites (determined by pain drawing), self-reported disability Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale; and symptoms of somatic and psychological distress and cognitive symptoms (according to selected Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 scales). Furthermore, objective outcome criteria were used regarding return to work, medication, and medical and paramedical treatment. Statistical and clinical significance of treatment results were both assessed.
Results: The patients' symptoms improved significantly on nearly all self-report measures. Their scores for objective outcome criteria reported during the 6-month follow-up evaluation were: complete return to work (65%); complete or partial return to work (92%); no use of analgesics in the past 6 months (58%); and no medical or paramedical treatments in the past 6 months (81%).
Conclusion: These early results indicate that a multimodal treatment program has the potential to be an effective treatment for patients with chronic symptoms after a whiplash injury of the neck--a group of patients who have in the past been considered intractable or, at the very least, puzzling.