J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 70:722-726 doi:10.1136/jnnp.70.6.722
  • Review series

The late whiplash syndrome: a biopsychosocial approach

  1. R Ferrari,
  2. H Schrader
  1. 12779 -50 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5A 4L8
  1. Dr R Ferrarirferrari{at}
  • Received 14 June 2000
  • Revised 10 October 2000
  • Accepted 20 October 2000


Physicians and other therapists continue to grapple in daily practice with the controversies of the late whiplash syndrome. For decades much of the debate and the approach to this controversial syndrome has centred on the natural history of and progression to chronic pain after acute whiplash injury. Recognising that there is recent epidemiological data that defines the natural history of the acute whiplash injury outside of many of the confounding factors occurring in many western countries, and the lack of evidence for a “chronic whiplash injury”, this article will thus introduce the biopsychosocial model, its elements, its advantages over the traditional model, and the practical application of this model. The biopsychosocial model recognises physical and psychological souces of somatic symptoms, but fundamentally recognises that the late whiplash syndrome is not the result of a “chronic injury”.


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