Laterality judgments are not impaired in patients with chronic Whiplash Associated Disorders
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Impaired integration of the body schema with motor processes may contribute to painful and/or restricted movement in chronic pain. Laterality judgment tasks assess this integration of the body schema with motor processes. The purpose of this study was to assess if patients with chronic whiplash associated disorders (WAD) are impaired on laterality judgment tasks. Accuracy (ACC) and reaction time (RT) for foot and neck laterality tasks were assessed in 64 (35 female) patients with chronic (>6months) WAD and 24 (14 female) asymptomatic subjects. Pain characteristics, post-traumatic stress symptoms, cold pain thresholds (CPT) and pressure pain thresholds (PPT) were collected for patients with WAD. The effect of WAD and body part on laterality task performance was assessed. For patients with WAD, the correlations between neck task performance and pain characteristics, post-traumatic stress symptoms and pain thresholds were assessed. There was no effect of group on laterality performance. Subjects showed better RT (p < 0.001) and ACC (p 젰.001) on the neck task in comparison to the foot task. There was a significant correlation between CPT and ACC (r 젰.33) and RT (r 젂0.33) on the neck laterality task in patients with WAD. Cervical spine PPT were significantly correlated with accuracy (r 젰.36) and RT (r 젰.29) in patients with WAD. These findings suggest that patients with chronic WAD are not impaired on neck or foot laterality judgment tasks. Laterality training is not indicated in the management of chronic WAD.