Content » Vol 45, Issue 2

Review article

Cervical motor dysfunction and its predictive value for long-term recovery in patients with acute whiplash-associated disorders: A systematic review

Liesbeth Daenen, Jo Nijs, Bonny Raadsen, Nathalie Roussel, Patrick Cras , Wim Dankaerts
Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Antwerp (UA), Belgium
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1091


Objective: To study the presence of cervical motor dysfunctions in acute whiplash-associated disorders, evaluate their course and assess their predictive value for long-term recovery.
Design: Systematic literature review.
Methods: PubMed and Web of Science databases were used to select studies of the presence of cervical motor dysfunctions within the acute stage (< 6 weeks) after whiplash trauma and/or their predictive value for the development of chronic whiplash-associated disorders.
Results: The presence of cervical motor dysfunctions in the acute stage after whiplash trauma was investigated in 4 cohorts. The course of cervical motor dysfunctions in whiplash-associated disorders was examined in 4 cohorts, and the predictive value on outcome 1 year post-whiplash trauma was assessed in 3 cohorts. Reduced cervical mobility, disturbed kinaesthesia, and altered muscle activity were found in the acute stage, and these persisted over time in the moderate/severe group. The predictive value of examining the presence of cervical motor dysfunctions was doubtful. The course and predictive value of initial reduced cervical mobility was inconsistent.
Conclusion: Cervical motor dysfunctions are present soon after whiplash trauma persisting in those with moderate/severe symptoms. However, these dysfunctions have limited predictive value, and hence may not explain the complex clinical picture of whiplash-associated disorders. This systematic review highlights the need for differentiating between patients with acute whiplash-associated disorders taking into account the biopsychological framework.

Lay Abstract


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