Demographic Characteristics of 38 Patients Injured in Motor Vehicle Accidents Referred by Chiropractors to Physiatrists

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.
Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics (Impact Factor: 1.48). 11/2009; 32(9):772-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2009.10.004
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study is to describe the demographic profile of patients in the New Jersey area who are involved in motor vehicle personal injury lawsuits and who are referred from chiropractors to physiatrists.
The study design was a prospective chart review of patients (N = 38) referred to a private physiatric practice from 5 chiropractic practices. Patient data collected at initial consultation included age, employment status, emergency department consultation, time since accident, visual analog score, neck pain and back pain, review of systems, and functional limitations.
The average patient was 37.1 years old, with male-to-female ratio nearly 1:1, and presenting 4.5 months after the accident; 81.6% were employed before the accident, 25.8% of which stopped working. The average pain score was 6.6 on a visual analog scale. Neck and back pain were common at 84.2% and 89.5%, respectively. Other complaints included headaches, sleeping difficulties, dizziness, depression, and anxiety. Limitations in function was reported in most patients.
In this study, patients referred to a physiatrist from doctors of chiropractic had neck and low back pain not requiring hospital admission. Patients referred tended to have complicated cases with a variety of medical, legal, and psychological factors that are associated with delayed recovery. Physiatrists may be uniquely suited to assist chiropractors in management of complicated patients who have been involved in motor vehicle personal injury lawsuits and who have multidisciplinary needs.

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