The Physician Survey on the Post‐Concussion and Whiplash Syndromes

Randolph W. Evans, Richard I. Evans, Mark J. Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Background: The post-concussion syndrome (PCS) and whiplash syndrome (WS) have been controversial topics among physicians for many decades. There is little information available on the opinions and practices of physicians. Methods: In June of 1992, we performed a national survey by mail of the four physician groups most commonly treating these problems. The number of respondents and response rates were as follows: family physicians, 118, 16%; neurologists, 100, 21%; neurosurgeons, 97, 23%; orthopedists, 82, 13%. The survey instrument contained items on demographics, definitions, causation, prognosis, medico-legal aspects, testing, and treatment. Results: Only a minority of respondents believe that PCS and WS are clearly defined syndromes. A substantial minority report that psychogenic and litigation factors are most responsible for the conditions. Most of the physicians believe that PCS and WS have a 3-6 month recovery time. A significant minority concur that symptoms of the two syndromes resolve when litigation is settled. Most of the physicians order tests to rule out pathology although a minority order tests to reassure patients or because of litigation concerns. Only a minority of respondents believe that effective treatments are available. Not surprisingly, a multitude of conventional and unconventional treatments are sometimes recommended. Conclusions: Many aspects of PCS and WS are controversial among treating physicians. This controversy can have a profound impact on the quality and cost of patient care. Ongoing research is required to discover more effective treatments for mild brain injury and chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-274
Number of pages7
JournalHeadache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1994


  • Mild head injury
  • post-concussion syndrome
  • whiplash injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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