Return to work following whiplash and back injury: a review and evaluation

Mesico-Legal Society/EMIS Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Medico-Legal Society, 2005, 73 (1), pp. 29 - 33
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The purpose of this study is to review the reported return-to-work rates following whiplash and back-injury. The return-to-work rates for the 71 relevant studies that were reviewed varied from 29% to 100% with a median of 67%. The results suggest considerable residual return-to-work potential for persons with whiplash and back injury. Return-to-work rates were substantially higher for motor vehicle (96%) compared to work-related (71%) studies and also considerably higher for whiplash (95%) compared to back injuries (65%). It is suggested that these indices may form potential benchmarks for personal injury claims outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the published rates of return to work following whiplash and back injury. This criterion of return to work is not without limitations or controversy and Pfingsten, Hildebrandt Leibing, Franz and Saur (1997) noted: "... a high variability exists in data on return-to-work. Results often range from either no return to a very high return rate, with an approximate average of 68% following multimodal treatment procedures...".
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