PTSD Tied to Worse Symptoms After Whiplash

At our clinic in Aloha, OR, we often see patients experiencing post traumatic stress in addition to auto injuries. For people with whiplash, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can actually impact your rate of recovery.

A growing body of research suggests that patients with whiplash are more likely to develop chronic symptoms if they suffer from PTSD and hypersensitivity. Additionally, hypersensitivity to pain may cause patients to develop abnormal pain processing and chronic symptoms.

In a new study, researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia studied the effects of PTSD and hypersensitivity on pain and disability in whiplash patients. Their study included 331 people who had suffered from whiplash injury after an auto accident within the previous three months. The patients were assessed for cervical range of motion, neck pain, disability, mental health, and PTSD. The researchers also looked for signs of hypersensitivity with tests that measured pain tolerance to pressure pain and cold.

Simply showing signs of hypersensitivity did not raise the risk of increased disability and pain. However having hypersensitivity and PTSD, or just having PTSD alone did increase the likelihood for greater pain and disability. In total, 25.7% of whiplash patients had PTSD tied to worse physical symptoms.

Fortunately, managing PTSD after whiplash could positively impact outcomes for recovery after auto injury. Earlier research has pointed to an improvement in physical and psychological symptoms among whiplash patients receiving cognitive behavioral therapy. These treatments should go hand-in-hand with active conservative treatments aimed at improving mobility, such as chiropractic care and physical therapy. Easing the physical symptoms of whiplash can help to relieve anxiety and stress, which may then help to further reduce pain and disability.

Our Aloha/Beaverton chiropractors are sensitive the needs of our patients, and frequently coordinate with primary care providers and other therapists to ensure our patients needs are met with the highest standard. For relief from whiplash and other auto injuries in Aloha, OR, call First Choice Chiropractic today.

Reference
Pedler A and Sterling M. Patients with chronic whiplash can be subgrouped on the basis of symptoms of sensory hypersensitivity and posttraumatic stress. PAIN 2013; pii: S0304-3959(13)00228-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.05.005.

August 26, 2013
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Sunita Bhasin