Prolonged functional impairments after whiplash injury
Hagström Y, Carlsson J.
Department of Physiotherapy, Sahlgrenska Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.
Thirty patients with whiplash injuries were examined 1 to 55 months after the accidents. Pain had appeared on the day of the accident in 24 (80%) of the patients and with different delays in the remainder. The mean pain intensity was 43 mm (SD 26) on a visual analogue scale (VAS). All patients had pain in the neck, 17-33% had headache and 6-17% had pain in various regions of the arms. Thirteen patients (43%) suffered from constant pain, while 17 (57%) had pain-free periods. Muscle tenderness was higher at all tested sites compared with controls. The tolerance level to pressure pain in the index finger as well as grip strength and neck mobility was reduced compared with controls. The whiplash patients showed poorer mental well-being compared with a reference group representing the general population and compared with a group of tension-type headache patients.
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