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Whiplash Associated Dizziness

Whiplash happens when your head is suddenly jolted backwards and forwards in a whip like movement. This can cause some of the muscles and ligaments in your neck to stretch. Common reasons that people get whiplash include: being involved in a car accident or having a fall.

Whiplash injury is not only limited to neck injury but also brainstem injury that does not involve direct damage to the neck or head. There are a range of whiplash symptoms with the most common complaints being neck pain, headaches and pain around the shoulder blade. Vertigo and dizziness are also reported in 25–50% of the cases.

Studies show that up to 40 per cent of people involved in car accidents, with neck trauma in the form of whiplash develop persistent symptoms.

Dizziness is one of three most common symptoms after whiplash trauma. Pain and postural unsteadiness are the other two common problems reported.

Quite often, the neck pain and stiffness that you experience can lead to altered patterns of movement that can disrupt how your balance systems interact. This can lead to dizziness or problems with your balance. This in turn can then lead to you keeping your head still to reduce the symptoms, which can lead to further pain and stiffness in your neck as you move it less.

There are also reflexes between the eyes, neck, and vestibular (inner ear) system that can be altered because of damage to the cervical spine (neck). And that brings us to the need to intervene early after neck injuries resulting in whiplash in order to prevent the transition from acute to chronic status.

Additionally, whiplash can be a traumatic experience in many ways. The accident and impact are obvious but the knock on effect can be increased fear when driving, anger and frustration from the event whether you were at fault or not, and an increase in general anxiety levels, all that can lead to protective behaviours and increased tension in the neck. This all contributes to the pain experience and can exacerbate dizzy symptoms. We are here to get you out of this vicious circle.

Physiotherapy for whiplash combines vestibular rehabilitation with treatment to the neck, to combat both of the problems simultaneously and reduce sensations of pain, stiffness and dizziness.

Call us now on 0114 267 1223 to see book an assessment with one of our experienced clinicians and reduce the impact of your injuries.

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