Quality of Life Research

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 217–226 | Cite as

Recovered? Association between self-perceived recovery and the SF-36 after minor musculoskeletal injuries

  • Carin Ottosson
  • Hans Pettersson
  • Sven-Erik Johansson
  • Olof Nyrén
  • Sari Ponzer



Recovery after minor musculoskeletal injuries is often disproportionately protracted. Our aim was to relate Short Form-36 (SF-36), to self-perceived recovery assessed with the question” Do you feel recovered”. We hypothesized that restitution of physical factors would be reported at least as often as improvement of symptoms or impairments and that social and mental factors would dominate over physical as determinants for recovery. We followed 318 patients with minor traffic-related injuries for up to 6 months.


For all SF-36 subscores more than 60% of the recovered patients had returned to their pre-injury levels. The subscores with the highest proportions (> 80%) were all mainly reflecting disability. For no subscore, however, was the proportion 100%. Normalizations in the SF-36 subscores for “Bodily Pain” (BP) (Odds Ratio, OR = 7.2), “Role limitations due to physical function” (OR = 5.3) were associated with self-perceived recovery.


Abolition of pain appears to be paramount for the self-perceived recovery, but it is neither a sufficient nor a necessary prerequisite. Contrary to our expectation, physical aspects of functional health status were more strongly associated with recovery than were emotional or social aspects.


Functional health status Injury Musculoskeletal Recovery Traffic 


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This study was supported by grants from the Swedish National Road Administration and AFA Research Foundation.

The authors are grateful to: Agnes Ek, RN, and Maja Holmberg, RN, who recruited the patients; Tina Levander, RN, who followed up the patients; and Anne Skoog, MD for her help with the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carin Ottosson
    • 1
  • Hans Pettersson
    • 2
  • Sven-Erik Johansson
    • 3
  • Olof Nyrén
    • 4
  • Sari Ponzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsKarolinska Institutet at Stockholm Söder HospitalStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of BiostatisticsKarolinska Institutet at Stockholm Söder HospitalStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Family MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Department of Medical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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