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Eur J Pain. 2008 Jan;12(1):30-47. Epub 2007 Apr 2.

Predictive factors of chronic pain and disability in whiplash: a Delphi poll.

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Departament of Psychology, Rovira i Virgili University, Carretera de Valls, s/n, 43007 Tarragona, Spain.


The purpose of this study was to establish consensus on what factors might predict chronic pain and disability in whiplash injuries following motor vehicle collisions. A Delphi poll involving two rounds of data collection was used as a way to reach consensus among participating experts. Participating experts identified several physical, historical, psychological, and behavioral response factors that they believed were related to the development of chronic pain and related disability in people who have developed whiplash-associated disorders. These included: (1) prior history: previous history of chronic pain; (2) physical factors: high severity of injury, presence of constant neck pain since the accident; (3) psychological factors: belief that pain mean danger and that he or she should avoid exercise, tendency to somatize, to have positive thoughts about pain, catastrophic thinking, low self-efficacy expectancies, and to have symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorders; and (4) behavioral responses to symptoms: avoidance of activities that involve moving the neck through fear of experiencing more pain, and restriction in the use and movement of the neck. These findings may be used to help identify the specific domains that should be assessed in studies seeking to predict which individuals are at risk to develop chronic pain and disability following initial whiplash-associated disorders sustained in crash. If these results are supported by future studies, then they could be used to help develop intervention programs that could prevent long-term pain and disability in whiplash patients who are considered to be at risk to develop chronic disabling pain problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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