The presence and severity of concussion related symptoms after acute whiplash injury are debatable. In this study we examine the distribution and development of the burden of concussion related symptoms in whiplash patients.
Consecutively 141 acute whiplash patients and 40 ankle injured controls were recruited from emergency units and were examined after 1 week, 1, 3, 6, 12 months obtaining neck/head VAS score, number-of-non-painful complaints, epidemiological, social, psychological data and neurological examination, active neck mobility, and furthermore muscle tenderness and pain response, strength and duration of neck muscles. Risk factors derived (reduced CROM, intense neckpain/headache, multiple non-pain complaints) were applied in a Risk Assessment Score and divided into 7 risk-strata (refer Kasch et al., Spine 2011). After 1 week and 6 months whiplash patients fulfilled the Rivermead Oxford Head Injury questionnaire (10 items, score from 0 = no change to 4 = very marked change, Danish Version, total score range from 0 to 40).
138 acute whiplash patients fulfilled the Rivermead Oxford Head Injury questionnaire after 1 week and 111 after 6 months. The distribution was markedly different in the risk strata, in stratum 7 the sum score was a factor 10 higher than stratum 1 after 1 week (Kruskal-Wallis, p < 1.4 × 10–7) and remained high 6 months after injury (p < 0.05).
Mild concussion symptoms do not necessarily reflect eventual concussion, but are found after injuries with no direct head trauma and amnesia e.g. whiplash injuries. The Risk Assessment Score fits nicely with the burden of concussion related symptoms after whiplash injury.
© 2012 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain