Comparing WhipPredict to the Short-Form Orebro to predict poor recovery after whiplash injury

25 January 2022

Comparison of the accuracy of WhipPredict to that of a modified version of the Short-Form Orebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire to predict poor recovery after whiplash injury. 

What is the research about?

Providing care management based on an individual’s likelihood of recovery may be beneficial to indiviudals with musculoskeletal injuries such as a whiplash injury. For example, indiviudals who are predicted to have poor recovery may benefit from more intensive multimodal treatment, whereas, individuals who are predicted to recover well may need minimal treatment. WhipPredict is a tool that specifically predicts recovery pathways for individuals with a whiplash injury. The modified Short-form Orebro Pain Screening Questionnaire (modified SF-OPSQ) is a generic tool that has been shown to predict delayed return to work for musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain. The aim of the present study was to compare the accuracy of WhipPredict with the modified SF-OPSQ to predict poor recovery on 4 health outcomes at 6 and 12 months following an acute whiplash injury.

What did the researchers do?

Two hundred and two individuals with an acute whiplash injury completed the WhipPredict and modified SF-Orebro within four weeks of their injury. At six and twelve months post-injury, recovery was measured with the neck disability index (poor recovery >10%), numeric pain rating scale (>3/10), global perceived recovery (< 4) and inability to return to reinjury work. Accuracy statistics were calculated to predict poor recovery.

What did the researchers find?

Both WhipPredict and the modified SF-OPSQ predict poor recovery from a whiplash injury.

How can you use this research?

We recommend that clinicians and researchers use WhipPre­dict if the goal is to correctly identify pa­tients who will not recover, although the tool will falsely classify some who will recover well. Using the modified SF-OPSQ will result in fewer patients falsely cate­gorized as being at risk of poor recovery, but may result in some people being undertreated.

About the researchers

This research was a collaboration between researchers at the RECOVER Injury Research Centre, Jamieson Trauma Institute, University of Sydney and University of New South Wales.

Michele Sterling, 1,2 • Carrie Ritchie, 1,2 • Trudy Rebbeck, 2-4 • Ian D. Cameron, 2,3 Alex Griffin, 3,4 • Jagnoor Jagnoor, 3,5 • Michael Nicholas, 6 • Ha Nguyen, 2,3 • Jacelle Warren, 7

 1RECOVER Injury Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia. 2NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Recovery Following Road Traffic Injuries, The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia. 3John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, The University of Sydney/Kolling Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, Australia. 4Sydney School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia. 5The George Institute for Global Health, The University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia. 6Pain Management Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney/Kolling Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards,, Australia. 7Jamieson Trauma Institute, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Herston, Australia.


Michele Sterling, Carrie Ritchie, Trudy Rebbeck, Ian D. Cameron, Alex Griffin, Jagnoor Jagnoor, Michael Nicholas, Ha Nguyen, Jacelle Warren (2021): Comparison of the Accuracy of WhipPredict to That of a Modified Version of the Short-Form Orebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire to Predict Poort Recovery After Whiplash Injury, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 51 (5).  doi:10.2519/jospt.2021.9987


Whiplash associated disorders; inception cohort; prognosis; risk screening

Contact information, acknowledgements

Professor Michele Sterling, RECOVER Injury Research Centre, 296 Herston Road, Herston, QLD 4029 Australia. E-mail: