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Chronic neck pain and whiplash: A case-control study of the relationship between acute whiplash injuries and chronic neck pain

updated

Tags: etiology, injury, neck, back pain, pro, pain problems, head/neck, spine

One article on PainSci cites Freeman 2006: The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks

PainSci summary of Freeman 2006: ?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.

About four hundred middle-aged people with neck pain were compared to cases of back pain, their cases described by several dozen chiropractor volunteers for the study. Of 94 chiropractors, only 33 actually got submitted correct and complete data properly, and even then there were some problematic failures to follow instructions — cat herding!

Overall, 37% of the subjects attributed their spinal pain — back or neck pain — to a motor vehicle accident, but there were large differences between the two groups. Neck pain followed car accidents much more than back pain: a whopping four times as many cases in men, and twice as many case in women.

Although simple enough, this data is quite rare, and there are no other similar studies as of 2020.

The authors concluded: “ … it is reasonable to infer that a significant proportion of individuals with chronic neck pain in the general population were originally injured in a motor vehicle accident.”

~ Paul Ingraham

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.

The authors undertook a case-control study of chronic neck pain and whiplash injuries in nine states in the United States to determine whether whiplash injuries contributed significantly to the population of individuals with chronic neck and other spine pain. Four hundred nineteen patients and 246 controls were randomly enrolled. Patients were defined as individuals with chronic neck pain, and controls as those with chronic back pain. The two groups were surveyed for cause of chronic pain as well as demographic information. The two groups were compared using an exposure-odds ratio. Forty-five per cent of the patients attributed their pain to a motor vehicle accident. An OR of 4.0 and 2.1 was calculated for men and women, respectively. Based on the results of the present study, it is reasonable to infer that a significant proportion of individuals with chronic neck pain in the general population were originally injured in a motor vehicle accident.

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