Whiplash Injuries and the Use of Symptom Diaries

A research conducted from the University of Alberta demonstrated that consistent recording of an individual’s pain and discomfort in a journal may actually slow down their recovery from whiplash-associated disorders.

The research 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 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. 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.

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“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.

Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T’s insight:

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. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900. 

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Dr. Alexander Jimenez ♛
Chiropractor💡 Author • Researcher • Clinician @ PUSH-as-Rx® 915-850-0900 📞
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