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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Freeman 1998.

“Whiplash associated disorders: redefining whiplash and its management” by the Quebec Task Force. A critical evaluation

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Tags: neck, injury, head, exercise, head/neck, spine, pain problems, self-treatment, treatment

PainSci summary of Freeman 1998?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

This is a strongly negative review of the well-known 1995 papers published by the Quebec Task Force on Whiplash-Associated Disorders. “Five distinct and significant categories of methodologic error were found.… Although the Task Force set out to redefine whiplash and its management … its publications instead have confused the subject further.”

original abstractAbstracts 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: The two publications of the Quebec Task Force on Whiplash-Associated Disorders were evaluated by the authors of this report for methodologic error and bias.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether the conclusions and recommendations of the Quebec Task Force on Whiplash-Associated Disorders regarding the natural history and epidemiology of whiplash injuries are valid.

SUMMARY OF THE BACKGROUND DATA: In 1995, the Quebec Task Force authored a text (published by the Societe de l'Assurance Automobile du Quebec) and a pullout supplement in Spine entitled "Whiplash-Associated Disorders: Redefining Whiplash and its Management." The Quebec Task Force concluded that whiplash injuries result in "temporary discomfort," are "usually self-limited," and have a "favorable prognosis," and that the "pain [resulting from whiplash injuries] is not harmful."

METHODS: The authors of the current report reviewed the text and the supplement for methodologic flaws that may have threatened the validity of the conclusions and recommendations of the Quebec Task Force.

RESULTS: Five distinct and significant categories of methodologic error were found. They were: selection bias, information bias, confusing and unconventional use of terminology, unsupported conclusions and recommendations, and inappropriate generalizations from the Quebec Cohort Study.

CONCLUSION: The validity of the conclusions and recommendations of the Quebec Task Force regarding the natural course and epidemiology of whiplash injuries is questionable. This lack of validity stems from the presence of bias, the use of unconventional terminology, and conclusions that are not concurrent with the literature the Task Force accepted for review. Although the Task Force set out to redefine whiplash and its management, striving for the desirable goal of clarification of the numerous contentious issues surrounding the injury, its publications instead have confused the subject further.

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