Content » Vol 44, Issue 9

Original report

Number and frequency of physiotherapy services for motor vehicle-induced whiplash: Interrogating motor accident insurance data 2006–2009

Karen Grimmer-Somers, Steve Milanese , Saravana Kumar , Carolyn Brennan , Ivan Mifsud
International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, Adelaide 5000, Australia. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1018


Objective: Whilst prognostic factors for recovery from whiplash associated disorders have been documented, factors related to high physiotherapy use are not well recognized. This study profiles predictors for high use of physiotherapy services from a large dataset from an Australian state insurer for motor vehicle accidents.
Method: A dataset of Motor Accident Commission claims in South Australia for whiplash associated disorders (2006–2009) was interrogated.
Results: The median number of physiotherapy services per claimant was 15 (range: 1–194). The typical high user of physiotherapy was female, aged 25–59 years, living in a high socio-economic area, with legal representation, who delayed obtaining physiotherapy for at least 28 days after the accident. The largest mean number of days between treatments (5.4 days) in the first 5 treatments related to the lowest subsequent use of physiotherapy services.
Conclusion: This represents the first review of physio-therapy service use based on an insurance dataset. A range of
factors were related to high use of physiotherapy services. It is hoped that identifying the mean number and spread of physiotherapy interventions for whiplash associated disorders, and the profile of high users of physiotherapy will help gauge the success of strategies to maximize the efficacy of physiotherapy management of whiplash associated disorders.

Lay Abstract


Do you want to comment on this paper? The comments will show up here and if appropriate the comments will also separately be forwarded to the authors. You need to login/create an account to comment on articles. Click here to login/create an account.