Whiplash has been suggested to cause chronic symptoms and long term disability. This study was designed to assess long term function after whiplash injury.

Material & Methods:

A random sample of patients in the outpatient clinic was interviewed, questionnaire completed and clinical examination performed. Assessment was made of passive cervical range of movement and Visual Analogue Scale pain scores. One hundred and sixty-four patients were divided into four different groups including patients with no whiplash injury but long-standing neck pain (Group A), previous symptomatic whiplash injury and long-standing neck pain (Group B), previous symptomatic whiplash injury and no neck symptoms (Group C), and a control group of patients with no history of whiplash injury or neck symptoms (Group D).


Data was analyzed by performing an Independent samples t-test and ANOVA, with level of significance taken as p<0.05. Comparing the four groups using a one-way ANOVA showed a significant difference between the groups (p<0.001). There were significant differences when comparing mean ranges of movement between Group A and Group D, and between Group B and Group D. There was no significant difference between Group C and Group D. similar differences were also seen in the pain scores.


We conclude that osteoarthritis in the cervical spine, and whiplash injury with chronic problems cause a significantly decreased cervical range of movement with a higher pain score. Patients with shorter duration of whiplash symptoms appear to do better in the long-term.

Keywords: Whiplash injury, Cervical spine pain, Range of movement, Visual Analogue Scale.
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