Standard care same as intensive, says new whiplash study

Weekly whiplash news review: 7 days ended 16 Jan 2013:

A new research study on whiplash injury treatment methods has found that intensive care for soft-tissue neck injury is no more effective than standard care.

A new study appearing in the Lancet has found that, in cases of mild to moderate whiplash injury, the benefits of engaging in intensive treatment – including returning to normal activity levels rapidly – held no positive additional therapeutic effects when compared to standard whiplash treatment methods, and the study, which examined 2,700 neck injury cases, demonstrated that unnecessary treatments conveyed little to no benefit at all, according to medical experts.

The UK economy loses around £3.1 billion every year due to expenses incurred in treating chronic whiplash sufferers, which account for 30 per cent to 50 per cent of all whiplash cases. Whiplash sufferers missing work were also taken into account in that £3.1 billion figure, but one of the largest expenses can originate from personal injury compensation claims made for whiplash, as they have been on the increase for several years, even as the number of road traffic accidents occurring in the UK have declined by around 20 per cent since 2006.

The Government has pledged to find a way to reduce whiplash injury claims, based on promises made earlier in 2012. Some suggestions have been made to revise treatment methods for whiplash and other soft-tissue neck injury by training hospital A&E department staff to advise whiplash sufferers to engage in intensive treatment such as resuming normal activities, including work, as a method to speed recovery.

However, the new research has found that while intensive care may not make things worse when it comes to recovering from neck injury, there are no benefits to be had in comparison to standard care. Physiotherapy as a method for speeding recovery was also investigated by the study, which yielded similar results in that differing levels of physiotherapy neglected to make a difference in recovery times either.

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