Patient Information Resources

Alpine Physical Therapy
Three Locations
In North, South, and Downtown Missoula
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: 406-251-2323
Fax: 406-251-2999

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I work in a chronic pain clinic in a large rehab facility. I've been given the task of finding a way to help the rehab staff measure the results of treatment for patients with chronic whiplash. Are there any good tests already developed for this problem?

A group of physical therapists in New South Wales, Australia looked at using a tool normally used with low back pain patients. The Core Outcome Measure was first proposed for use in 2003 based on research at that time.

This seven-item test was pared down to a five-question tool and tested on three groups of whiplash patients (acute, subacute, and chronic). The first test results suggest that this condensed version called the Core Whiplash Outcome Measure (CWOM) is a valid and responsive tool for a broad range of whiplash patients.

It was a good test to use for patients in primary care or for those with private insurance. It was equally responsive at various stages of whiplash. And it could be used to assess short-term or long-term results.

More study may be needed, as the CWOM doesn't measure all aspects of health in patients with whiplash. For example, patient satisfaction and emotional health aren't measured using the CWOM. The test also asks patients about the number of days missed at work or school. This information may not apply to all patients.

For now, it looks like the five-item CWOM can be recommended for use as a brief measure of health outcome for all whiplash patients.


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