Objective: To describe symptom patterns and the course for recovery in persons with whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) over 6 months after a car collision, and to investigate associated gender differences.
Methods: The study population was based on insurance claimants, 18-74 years of age, who reported WAD after a collision, between January 2004 and January 2005. At baseline and again 6 months later they were asked to complete a questionnaire that included questions about presence and severity of pain and other possible WAD symptoms. It also included measurements of posttraumatic stress as well as anxiety and depression.
Results: A total of 1105 persons were studied. The most common symptoms at baseline after neck pain were reduced cervical range of motion (in 83.9% of men, 82.2% of women), headache (61.0% and 69.3%, respectively), and low back pain (35.9% and 36.1%). Some symptoms were already transient at baseline and symptoms such as neck pain, reduced cervical range of motion, headache, and low back pain decreased further over the 6 months. Baseline prevalence of depression was around 5% in both women and men, whereas posttraumatic stress and anxiety were more common in women (19.7% and 11.7%, respectively) compared to men (13.2% and 8.6%). The majority of all reported associated symptoms were mild at both baseline and followup.
Conclusion: Our findings support that the symptom pattern of WAD and the prevalence for many of the symptoms decreased over a 6-month period.