South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Telephone versus usual care in management of acute whiplash associated disorder: A pilot study

Estelle D. Watson, Yoga Coopoo


Whiplash associated disorder (WAD) is a common and costly condition, and  recommended management includes advice to “act as usual” and exercise.  Providing this treatment through a telephonic intervention may help to improve  access to care, and reduce costs. This pilot study assessed: (1) the effectiveness of a telephonic intervention for low grade WAD injuries; and (2) the comparison  between this intervention and standard manual therapy. A quasi-experimental study design was implemented. Eighty-two (n=82) participants received the telephone remote intervention (RI), which included an exercise booklet and telephonic support every seven to 10 days for a period of 12 weeks. Forty-five (n=45) participants received standard manual therapy treatment (SMT). Outcome measures included pain rating, subjective range of movement and activities of daily living.  Post-intervention follow-up outcomes were assessed telephonically for both groups at the end of the 12-week intervention period. A statistically significant improvement was found in all outcome measures in both the RI and SMT groups in the short term. No significant difference was found between the two interventions.

Key words: Whiplash Associated Disorder; Management; Telephone; Manual therapy.

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