Values-based cognitive behavioural therapy for the prevention of chronic whiplash associated disorders: A randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Background: Whiplash is a common traffic-related injury with up to 50% of those affected continuing to experience symptoms one-year post-injury. Unfortunately, treatments have not proven highly effective in preventing and treating chronic symptomatology. The overall aim of this study was to test the effectiveness of an early values-based cognitive-behavioural therapeutic intervention (V-CBT) delivered within 6 months post-injury in preventing chronic symptomatology compared to wait list controls. Methods: The study was a two-armed randomized controlled trial. Participants (n = 91) experienced pain, disability and at least one psychological risk factor (e.g. enhanced pain-catastrophizing) after a whiplash trauma no later than 6 months prior. Participants were randomized to 10 sessions of V-CBT starting 1 week (group A) or 3 months (group B) post-randomization. The primary outcome was pain-related disability, while secondary outcomes were pain intensity, neck-pain related disability, depression, anxiety, PTSD symptoms, pain-catastrophizing and kinesiophobia. These were evaluated at baseline and at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months post-randomization. Results: At 3 months, group A demonstrated clinically important effects on all outcomes that were significantly better than group B (waitlist). When group B received the intervention at 6 months, they also demonstrated clinically important effects on all outcomes. However, there was a significant difference at 12 months for the primary outcome, in which group B increased their disability levels, while group A remained stable. Conclusions: While this indicates that an intervention window for early prevention of disability after whiplash injury may exist, this needs to be tested in a truly early intervention. Significance: An early Values-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapeutic intervention delivered within 6 months post-injury (mean days 117) was effective in reducing pain-related disability and psychological distress compared to the control group that received the intervention later after a three months wait-list period. The effects were sustained at 12 months follow-up. The early intervention was significantly more effective in reducing pain-related disability compared to the control group, indicating that an intervention window for early prevention of disability after whiplash injury may exist.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Pain
Vol/bind26
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1256-1268
ISSN1090-3801
DOI
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The trial was partly funded by the Tryg Foundation (DA: TrygFonden) and the patient organization Accident Victims Denmark. The funders had no role in the data collection, analysis, interpretation, nor reporting of results.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. European Journal of Pain published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Pain Federation - EFIC ®.

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