Can patient education prevent whiplash from leading to chronic neck pain?
Three articles on PainSci cite Brison 2005: 1. The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain 2. The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks 3. Mind Over Pain
PainSci notes on Brison 2005:
This is one of a few studies showing a benefit to education for neck pain specifically. Researchers showed a reassuring educational video to more than 200 patients with “whiplash associated disorders” (i.e. whiplash injuries that become chronic neck cricks), and found that they had less severe symptoms than patients who received no educational intervention. The effectiveness of education probably depends a lot on the type of neck pain and the type of education, making it very hard to study. A recent review of the scientific literature found that most such studies are negative (see Haines or Ainpradub), but I believe that there are still reasons to be optimistic about education for pain problems. Above all, it depends on the type and quality of the education! The right education may be effective, and the wrong could even be harmful. The fact that some education has been shown to be beneficial is promising.
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
STUDY DESIGN: Concealed allocation, multicenter, single-blind, randomized controlled clinical trial.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of an educational video in the tertiary prevention of persistent WAD symptoms following rear-end motor vehicle collisions (MVCs).
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) are an important and costly health problem. There is a lack of high quality evidence surrounding efficacy of treatments for WAD. Existing research supports active interventions and early return to regular activities.
METHODS: Consecutive patients presenting to four tertiary care emergency departments following rear-end MVCs were eligible. Following informed consent, patients were allocated, using central randomization, to receive an educational video plus usual care or usual care alone. The video provided reassurance, and advice about posture, return to regular activities, exercises, and pain-relief methods. Data were collected by telephone using standardized questionnaires. The primary outcome was presence of Persistent WAD Symptoms at 24 weeks postinjury, based on the frequency and severity of neck, shoulder, or upper back pain. The absolute difference in proportion of patients with persistent WAD symptoms and rate ratios were calculated. Changes in pain scores were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test.
RESULTS: The intervention (n = 206) and control (n = 199) groups were similar at baseline (mean age 38.4 years; 64% female). Overall, the proportion of subjects with Persistent WAD Symptoms decreased from 89.1% at baseline to 33.6% at 24 weeks after injury. At 24 weeks, the proportion of subjects with persistent WAD symptoms in the intervention group was 7.9% (95% CI, -2.0, 17.8) lower than the control group. The median improvement in pain score at 24 weeks was 3 for the intervention group and 2 for the control group (P = 0.016).
CONCLUSION: The presence of persistent WAD symptoms following simple rear-end MVCs was high in this sample. The video group demonstrated a trend toward less severe WAD symptoms. We recommend evaluating other educational interventions that could reduce WAD symptoms.
- “A Cochrane review of patient education for neck pain,” Haines et al, The Spine Journal, 2009.
- “The therapy might work, but does it work in the manner you think it does?,” Lorimer Moseley, BodyInMind.org.
- “Treatment of neck pain: noninvasive interventions: results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders,” Hurwitz et al, Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2008.
- “The Pain Course: A Randomised Controlled Trial Examining an Internet-Delivered Pain Management Program when Provided with Different Levels of Clinician Support,” Dear et al, Pain, 2015.
- “Effect of education on non-specific neck and low back pain: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials,” Ainpradub et al, Manual Therapy, 2015.
- “Back Pain Spending Surge Shows No Benefit,” Tara Parker-Pope, Well.blogs.NYTimes.com.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.