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Whiplash Symptoms and the Use of Pain Diaries

Whiplash Symptoms and the Use of Pain Diaries - El Paso Chiropractor
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A majority of individuals who are diagnosed with whiplash-related injuries as a result of an automobile accident are often advised to manage a pain diary to supervise their symptoms but, a recent study indicated that keeping record of your own ailments may not prove as beneficial as experts believe. The findings demonstrated that consistent recording of an individual’s pain and discomfort in a journal may actually slow down their recovery from whiplash-associated disorders.

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The research conducted from the University of Alberta involved 60 individuals diagnosed with acute whiplash injuries. Each individual was randomly designated to one of two separate groups: a symptom diary group or a control group. The individuals of both groups had comparable scores to each other on the Whiplash Disability Questionnaire which demonstrated no substantial difference in the standard guideline of symptoms between the two groups. The individuals from the symptom diary group were asked to manage a journal rating their overall levels of pain for each day. Additionally, individuals from both groups received physical therapy for their whiplash-type injuries. After three months of treatment, the individuals were evaluated for recovery. Although individuals whom utilized a pain journal to record their symptoms displayed improvements after three months, they were less probable to report being fully recovered. Overall, 59% of the individuals within the symptom diary group reported recovery as compared to 86% of the individuals within the control group.

The author of the study, Robert Ferrari, concluded that not only was using a pain diary unfavorable towards recovery but its use might actually be more harmful for the individual. Ferrari explained that keeping a pain diary could make an individual more aware of their symptoms, leading to incorrect perceptions of prognosis. Negative attitudes have before been linked to chronic pain symptoms in individuals with whiplash-type injuries and low back pain.

“While diaries may serve a useful purpose to facilitate practitioner-patient communication about symptoms and to track the course of symptoms, the benefits have not been demonstrated”, Ferrari wrote.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez


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