by Alan Jordan
The Classification of Whiplash Associated Disorders
Whiplash associated disorders are the most common complaint arising from motor vehicle accidents and frequently seen by chiropractor at our City of London practice, Broadgate clinics. This diagnosis has been the cause of much debate in both the insurance industry as well as the medical community. The Quebec Task Force was formed in order to arrive at a diagnostic classification of this syndrome as well as to review recommended treatments. A large group of internationally recognised experts in this area collated and reviewed the many thousands of articles on this subject prior to developing their classification and recommendations.
WAD = Whiplash Associated Disorders.
- WAD 0. No complaints of neck pain and no physical findings.
- WAD 1. Neck pain, stiffness and tenderness only. No physical findings.
- WAD 2. Neck complaints AND musculoskeltal findings such as decreased range of movement and point tenderness.
- WAD 3. Neck complaints AND neurological findings such as missing reflexes, muscle weakness and sensory deficits.
- WAD 4. Neck complaints and fracture or dislocation.
Perhaps the most important contribution of this universally accepted classification system is that it has enabled researchers to classify patients according to the same system and then evaluate different treatments for efficacy.
Whiplash remains a controversial topic amongst practitioners as well as insurers. Future high quality controlled studies are needed in order to identify the most effective treatments. I have reviewed the current status of evaluated treatments in a sister blog to this one.