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Aust Fam Physician. 2010 Nov;39(11):863-6.

Predicting central sensitisation - whiplash patients.

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Department of Medicine, Research Transition Facility, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.



Central sensitisation is associated with chronic pain in whiplash patients. Predicting which patients will develop central sensitisation is difficult but patient expectations of recovery predict a variety of outcomes in whiplash patients.


Ninety-one whiplash patients were assessed within 1 week of their collision in order to ascertain their expectations of recovery and were then re-examined 3 months later with the Brachial Plexus Provocation Test (BPPT) as a sign of central sensitisation.


Adjusting for a number of predictors, patient expectation of recovery was found to predict the results of the BPPT. Subjects who expected 'to get better soon' had a BPPT angle that was 42 degrees less (ie. closer to normal or full range) than any of the subjects who had poor recovery expectations.


Whiplash patients who expect 'never to get better' or 'don't know' have a much higher likelihood of developing at least one sign of central sensitisation 3 months after their collision.

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