Purpose: To assess the clinical outcomes of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme for early intervention of chronic whiplash associated disorders (WAD). The primary aim of the programme was to increase levels of activity and independence in patients suffering WAD.
Methods: Ninety subjects with purported chronic symptoms associated with whiplash associated disorder (WAD) were referred to a multi-centre multi-modal 5- and 8-week rehabilitation programme in 1997-1998, during which prospective and retrospective functional and psychological evaluations were conducted, the follow-up was to 6 months.
Results: Subjects indicated they were satisfied with the programme. Retrospective evaluation indicated increased ability to cope with and control pain and, to some extent, psychological aspects. The pain intensity in the neck and upper back were significantly decreased at 6 months follow-up. However, for most of the functional and psychological markers, no significant changes were found.
Conclusions: A multi-modal rehabilitation programme for the chronic suffering attributed to WAD had positive effects according to several aspects of the retrospective evaluations, but according to most of the aspects evaluated prospectively the programme does not appear to have significant benefits.