Popular physical therapy modalities in the management of whiplash-associated disorders
South African Journal of Sports Medicine
Objectives. The aim of this study was to determine current physiotherapy practice in private clinics across the UK in the management of whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) injuries. Design. All treatment reports provided to a private health care company between January 2008 and July 2010 (N=365) were included and analysed to determine the following: the treatments favoured in the management of whiplash; the number of sessions used on average; and the main reasons for discharge. Results. Joint
... . Results. Joint mobilisations, stretches and mobility exercises were favoured in the management of acute whiplash treatment and were used in 74%, 68% and 61% of cases, respectively. The most popular treatments in chronic whiplash, in order of preference, were: stretches (73%), joint mobilisations (69%) and soft-tissue massage (63%). On average, physiotherapists used 4.46 sessions and 7.21 modalities per patient. Although the outcome measures were limited to reason for discharge, the majority of patients were discharged because of 'treatment complete/self management sufficient', which may be assumed to be a favourable recovery for 79% of patients. Conclusion. This study found that physical therapists across the UK generally use evidence-based modalities in the treatment of whiplash. However, there remains a need to emphasise and embrace a more educational and active approach to the management of these injuries. The study recommends a protocol for treating WAD that includes supplementing therapeutic modalities with an exercise component, and routinely providing information and advice to 'act as usual'.