European Spine Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 387–397 | Cite as

A review of treatment interventions in whiplash-associated disorders

  • Aris SeferiadisEmail author
  • Mark Rosenfeld
  • Ronny Gunnarsson


In recent years, there has been much debate on the treatment of whiplash-associated disorders (WAD). It is not clear if the treatments commonly employed are effective, and concerns have been raised on the available scientific evidence of many of these treatments. The aim of this study was to review the literature systematically to analyze the evidence basis of many commonly used treatments for patients suffering from WAD, both in the acute and the chronic state. A computer-assisted search of the databases Medline (from 1962 to May 2003), CINAHL (1960–2003), Embase (1976–2003), and Psychinfo (1960–2003) was conducted as well as a check of the reference lists of relevant studies. All randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were retrieved and systematically analyzed with three common instruments of measurement of methodological quality. A qualitative analysis (“best-evidence synthesis”) was performed. The methodological quality of 26 RCTs was analyzed. The median quality scores for all three instruments were poor. Based on the degrees of evidence and the practical obstacles, the following treatments can be recommended: Early physical activity in acute WAD, radiofrequency neurotomy, combination of cognitive behavioral therapy with physical therapy interventions, and coordination exercise therapy in chronic WAD. High-quality RCTs are not common in the field of WAD. More research is needed, particularly on the treatment of chronic WAD.


Whiplash Treatment Review 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aris Seferiadis
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Mark Rosenfeld
    • 2
  • Ronny Gunnarsson
    • 4
  1. 1.Psychiatric Physiotherapy Unit, BjörkängenSouthern Elfsborg HospitalBoråsSweden
  2. 2.Institute of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health and Caring SciencesThe Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden
  3. 3.Department of Primary Health CareThe Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden
  4. 4.Research and Development Unit in Primary Health CareSouthern Elfsborg CountySweden

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