What is it about?
Claimants with chronically painful injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) undergo assessment and management influenced by insurance and medico-legal processes defined by a biomedical paradigm which is discordant with best evidence. We aim to demonstrate the impact of biopsychosocial factors on post-MVA sequelae which contribute to non-recovery. This was a retrospective cohort study of medico-legal documents and reports on 300 consecutive claimants referred to a pain medicine physician over 7 years (2012-2018) for assessment of painful musculoskeletal injuries post-MVA. One hundred data items were extracted from the medico-legal documents and reports for each claimant and entered into an electronic database. Post-MVA sequelae were analysed using chi-square analysis (OR >2) for significant associations with demographic, pre-MVA and post-MVA variables. Factors with significant associations were entered into a logistic regression model to determine significant statistical predictors of post-MVA sequelae contributing to non-recovery.
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Why is it important?
The claimants were aged 17 to 80 years (mean age 42 years), and approximately half (53%, n=159) were female. The time from MVA to interview averaged 2.5 years. Widespread pain was present in 18% (n=54), and widespread somatosensory signs implying central sensitisation (OR=9.85, p<.001) was the most significant multivariate association. Long-term opiate use post-MVA (32%) was predicted by pre-MVA sleep disturbance (OR=5.08, p=.001), post-MVA major depressive disorder (MDD) (OR=3.02, p=.003) and long-term unemployment (OR=2.22. p=.007). Approximately half (47%, n=142) required post-MVA support from a psychologist or psychiatrist. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist in 20% (n=59), yet early identification of risk of PTSD was rare. Pre-MVA, 89.4% (n=268) were studying or employed. Permanent unemployability post-MVA occurred in 35% (n=104) and was predicted by MDD (OR=3.59, p=.001) and antidepressant use (OR=2.17, p=.005). Major social change post-MVA (70%) was predicted by older age (OR=.966, p=.003), depressive symptoms (OR=3.71, p<.001) and opiate use (OR=2.00, p=.039).
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This page is a summary of: Biopsychosocial sequelae of chronically painful injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents contributing to non-recovery: a retrospective cohort study, Injury, July 2022, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.injury.2022.06.046.
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