OBJECTIVE: To investigate the comparative effectiveness of current standard treatment, against an individually tailored behavioural programme delivered via the Internet or face-to-face for people with acute whiplash associated disorders.
DESIGN: A multicentre, randomized, three-group design, with concealed allocation.
SUBJECTS AND SETTINGS: A total of 55 participants (37 female), age 18-65, with acute Whiplash Associated Disorder (Grade I-II), recruited at two emergency clinics in Sweden.
INTERVENTIONS: Before randomization all participants received standard self-care instructions. The Internet and face-to-face groups followed a seven-week behavioural programme involving individual tailoring, via email (Internet group), or in sessions at a physical therapy unit (face-to-face group). The control group only received the self-care instructions.
MAIN MEASURES: Pain-related disability, pain intensity, self-efficacy in daily activities, catastrophizing and fear of movement/(re)injury. Assessments were performed at baseline (2-4 weeks postinjury) and at three, six and 12 months postintervention.
RESULTS: Both the Internet (n = 16) and face-to-face (n = 14) group showed a larger decrease in pain-related disability than the control group (n = 16); -12 and -11, respectively, compared with -5 in the control group at 12-months follow-up. Significant differences between the groups in overall treatment effect were shown in all outcomes except pain intensity. All groups improved significantly over time in all outcomes, except for fear of movement/(re)injury and catastrophizing in the control group.
CONCLUSION: An individually tailored behavioural programme improved biopsychosocial factors in patients with whiplash associated disorders up to 12 months after treatment. Internet-delivered intervention was as effective as clinic-based face-to-face therapy sessions.
2016. Vol. 30, no 5, 441-453 p.