Subjective health complaints in patients with chronic Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD). Relationships with physical, psychological, and collision associated factors
AbstractAims: Investigate subjective health complaints (SHC) in chronic whiplash associated disorder (WAD, grade I & II) patients, and to identify physical, psychological, and collision associated factors that might be associated with high levels of comorbidity. Method: During the years 2000-2002 171 chronic WAD patients filled in questionnaires and underwent physical examination. The prevalence of SHC was recorded and compared with a representative sample of the Norwegian population (n=1014). Results: The chronic WAD patients reported higher number of subjective health complaints (median: 9) than the general population (median: 5). They showed significantly higher risk of reporting all musculoskeletal complaints, palpitation, heat flushes, sleep problems, tiredness, dizziness, anxiety, depression, breathing difficulties, chest pain, coughing, heartburn, gas discomfort, and obstipation. The patients with the highest level of comorbid subjective health complaints also reported more function loss, reading difficulties, poorer quality of life, higher psychological distress, higher use of medication, and less optimism about their situation. There were no differences however, in any collision factors or physical meassures recorded by physiotherapists between the high, medium and low comorbidity groups. Conclusion: The high comorbidity of other complaints, the strong relationships between degree of comorbidity and psychological factors, and the lack of relationships between degree of comorbidity and collision factors and physical tests, suggest that chronic WAD is best understood as a syndrome and not simply as a neck injury. Sensitization is suggested as a possible psychobiological mechanism
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