Predicting recovery from whiplash injury in the primary care setting

Aust Fam Physician. 2014 Aug;43(8):559-62.


Background: The effect of expectation of recovery on the recovery rate of whiplash patients in the primary care setting is not known.

Methods: Whiplash patients were assessed in a primary care setting within 1 week of their collision for their expectations of recovery and were re-examined 3 months later for recovery.

Results: Initial expectations of recovery predicted recovery. According to adjusted odds ratios, subjects who expected 'to get better slowly' had a recovery rate that was nearly 1.9 times that of subjects with poor recovery expectations. Subjects who expected 'to get better soon' had a recovery rate that was 2.6 times greater than either of those with poor recovery expectations.

Discussion: In the primary care setting, asking patients with whiplash about their expectations of recovery is a useful predictor of their outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / etiology
  • Perception
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function
  • Time Factors
  • Whiplash Injuries / complications
  • Whiplash Injuries / physiopathology
  • Whiplash Injuries / psychology*
  • Young Adult