Index to Chiropractic Literature
Index to Chiropractic Literature
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ID 20675
  Title The notion of a “whiplash culture”: A review of the evidence [review]
Journal J Chiropr Med. 2009 Sep;8(3):119-124
Peer Review Yes
Publication Type Review
Abstract/Notes Objective: Most whiplash patients eventually recover, although some are left with ongoing pain and impairment. Why some develop long-term symptoms after whiplash, whereas others do not, is largely unknown. One explanation blames the cultural expectations of the population wherein the injury occurred, engendering the moniker whiplash culture. The purpose of this review was to locate and discuss studies that were used as a basis for developing the whiplash culture concept and to evaluate its plausibility.

Methods: The PubMed database was searched using combinations of the terms whiplash culture, whiplash OR WAD, and chronic OR late OR long term. Search dates spanned from 1950 to June 2008. Filters were set to only retrieve English-language citations. Articles that dealt with the whiplash culture were selected and examined to determine which studies had been used to create the concept.

Results: Nineteen articles discussed the cultural aspects of whiplash and were explored to determine which were used as a basis for the whiplash culture. Eight studies were found that met this final criterion.

Conclusion: There are many unanswered questions about the basis of chronic whiplash, and the notion of a whiplash culture is controversial. Chronic whiplash symptoms are surely not caused entirely by cultural issues, yet they are probably not entirely physical. Presumably, a tissue injury component exists in most chronic whiplash-associated disorder victims that becomes aggravated in those who are susceptible to biopsychosocial factors. As with many other controversial health care topics, the answer to the debate probably lies somewhere in the middle.

This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; click on the above link for free full text.

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