18 Dec Whiplash Research ……. go figure!
Just my usual little rant about research, this time related to Whiplash. It is estimated that Whiplash injuries cost us £3.1bn per year here in the UK. This is composed of both the expense of treatment and any subsequent need to take time off work.
A study has been undertaken of 2700 people with mild to moderate Whiplash symptoms. The trial compared having one session of NHS physiotherapy against having a more intensive six sessions. According to the researchers, the conclusions were two fold. Firstly, eight to twelve months after the accident, there was little to choose in either sets of patients in terms of symptoms. Secondly, the six treatments of physio did actually help people recover initially, more quickly. So, their overall message was treatment for Whiplash is of little or no benefit and the Government are going to cut down on it, Simples!
So, I have two comments. If the intensive six session treatments did actually help people recover more quickly, surely that must allow them to get back to work more quickly also! Lastly, I would love to see a piece of research on those same people in five years time. I am confident the group who had just one session of physiotherapy would be struggling to a far greater degree than the people who had the more intensive approach.
What really bugs about this type of research, is that it is purely aimed at reducing short term costs for the government of the day during their four year tenure. In my opinion this is the biggest single failing of the NHS in its’ present state. There is absolutely no planning for the future.
(I guess it would also be worth pointing out that a 40 minute session in a private facility such as Openhealth Clinic, is likely to be far more effective than a brief NHS physio session.)