New Study Reveals Beneficial Mind/Body Treatment for Whiplash

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The study, A Psycho-Educational Video Used in the Emergency Department Provides Effective Treatment for Whiplash Injuries, was conducted by Richard Gevirtz, PhD, President of AAPB, Ali Oliveira, PhD, both of the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego, and David Hubbard, MD, Corsolutions, Inc., Chicago.

Emergency rooms see approximately 100,000 cervical strain injuries (whiplash) each year. Between 14% and 42% of these patients develop chronic pain and some, about 10%, will suffer from constant severe pain. But a recent study by members of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) demonstrated that showing a short video emphasizing mind-body techniques to patients while in the emergency department resulted in dramatically reduced long-term pain.

The Study

Published in SPINE, the international, peer- reviewed journal of spine surgery and treatment, the study was designed to determine whether the video shown in the emergency department shortly after a whiplash injury would produce follow-up pain treatment reductions and reduced medical utilization. The randomized control trial was conducted between June 2000 and September 2002 with 126 patients entering emergency departments and urgent care facilities. Patients were either shown a 12-minute video in addition to the normal treatment protocol, or they received the treatment alone. The video emphasized mind/body aspects of chronic pain. Measurements included a short form musculoskelatal function assessment and phone questionnaires assessing narcotics use, emergency room use, urgent care use, surgical consultations, etc.

The results showed that patients viewing the video reported dramatically lower pain ratings at a one-month follow-up. This pattern held for the three- and six-month follow-up periods. In fact, patients who viewed the psychophysiologic information in the video reported pain 70% lower than the control group, were using 85% less narcotic medication, had 85% fewer emergency room visits, and 100% fewer surgical consultations. It is not known whether the patients practiced the demonstrated skills as shown on the video. Overall, however, the data offer a promising approach to secondary prevention of whiplash injury, a massive problem of chronic muscular pain.

The Authors

The study, A Psycho-Educational Video Used in the Emergency Department Provides Effective Treatment for Whiplash Injuries, was conducted by Richard Gevirtz, PhD, President of AAPB, Ali Oliveira, PhD, both of the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego, and David Hubbard, MD, Corsolutions, Inc., Chicago.

The study was published in SPINE, Volume 31, Number 15, pp 1652-1657. Email reprint requests to Richard Gevirtz, PhD.

About Association for Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback AAPB was founded in 1969 to advance the development, dissemination and utilization of knowledge about applied psychophysiology and biofeedback treatments.

AAPB's 38th Annual Meeting will be held February 15-18, 2007, in Monterey, CA.

Website: http://www.aapb.org

Media contact: Annette Rogers, Director of Communications

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David Stumph
AAPB
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