Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Extra whiplash treatment 'not cost-effective'

  • Comment

Normal care for whiplash is as effective as more expensive and thorough treatment, a new study has suggested

Research published in The Lancet claims the rate of recovery from whiplash is not affected by active management consultations, which include exercise, pain management, helping patients resume their normal activities as soon as possible and speaking to them in a positive way about their progress.

And Sarah Lamb, from the University of Warwick, who led the research, said they also found that although physiotherapy did help those with whiplash, anything more than one session in which the patient was given advice did not offer value for money.

The study comes after other organisations, including NICE, called for staff working in hospital emergency departments to be trained in giving active management consultations, saying this could improve recovery rates

Researchers looked at 3,851 adults suffering from acute whiplash injuries from 12 hospitals across the UK. Of those involved in the study, 2,253 patients were given active management while the remainder received routine care.

Those who still experienced symptoms of whiplash after 21 days were also asked to take part in a further study on the effectiveness of physiotherapy. A total of 599 patients either saw a physiotherapist once for an advice session or they were chosen to attend up to six appointments.

Everyone involved in the study then answered Neck Disability Index questionnaires about how pain affected them in their day-to-day life. The answers given by both patients receiving active management and routine care were broadly similar.

Those given extra sessions of physiotherapy were found to have recovered slightly better after four months than those who had attended a single appointment for advice. But by the time they had reached eight months and 12 months after the injury occurred the levels of recovery between the two groups were the same, although those given extra physiotherapy had taken four fewer days off across the year.

The report concluded that as active management consultations and physiotherapy appointments cost the NHS more than usual care and single advice sessions, they were not cost-effective treatments for whiplash.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.