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What is Whiplash?
If you have ever been rear-ended in a car you may have suffered from whiplash. It is the most common accident injury, and even a seemingly minor accident can cause that sudden jerking of your head backwards and forwards, leading to chronic neck and back pain, headaches, migraines or more serious injuries.
Every year there are more than one million whiplash injuries, and in Australia the incidence of whiplash disorders is about 300 per 100,000 people.
Research shows that around twenty percent of people involved in rear-end motor vehicle accidents develop some whiplash symptoms. These symptoms can be delayed, taking days to months to appear, but if left untreated, they become more difficult to treat successfully.
For between ten to forty percent of patients, symptoms can persist for months or years.
Although car accidents account for most cases of whiplash, there are some other common causes, including:
- Sports injuries
- Physical abuse or assault
- Bungee jumping
- Amusement park rides
Seeking treatment as soon as possible after an accident or injury is important. Because symptoms of whiplash can take time to develop, it is easy to think that you are not as injured as you really are. People often don’t seek treatment because they don’t feel hurt, but by the time more serious complications develop, some of the damage from the injury may have become permanent.
The injuries resulting from whiplash include damage to muscles, nerves and ligaments, and joints and discs in the spine as well as other tissues of the head and neck. It can sometimes result in brain injury. The cervical spine is hyperflexed and extended in these injuries, and supporting tissues are stretched and may tear and bleed. Irritated nerves can lead to referred pain, and trigger points in muscles can set off pain and nerve responses in other areas.
How Does Whiplash Affect Balance and Dizziness?
Dizziness and balance problems are very common symptoms following whiplash injuries, as there are many sensory receptors within the muscles, tendons and joints in the head, neck and cervical spine. These coordinate with signals from receptors in the inner ear and the visual system to send information to the brain to coordinate movement. So traumatic damage to any of these areas can send altered nerve signals to the brain, as well as inhibiting normal reflexes between the eyes, neck and the inner ear that control posture and balance. This is what causes imbalance and dizziness.
Vestibular rehabilitation is a physical therapy program used for the treatment of patients with vestibular disorders. It takes advantage of the neuroplasticity of the central nervous system to retrain the brain to adapt to information from the senses to determine correct orientation and balance.
Using special eye, body and head exercises, it helps the brain recognize and coordinate sensory signals, and desensitize the system to movements that provoke symptoms. The benefits of vestibular rehabilitation have been demonstrated to reduce symptoms, restore function and improve the quality of life.
Brain Hub in Sydney, led by Dr Carlo Rinaudo (Chiropractor and PhD), is a leading vestibular rehabilitation and brain-based therapy clinic. It helps patients suffering from dizziness and poor balance disorders including Concussion, Whiplash, BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), mTBI (mild traumatic brain injury), Migraines and ABI (acquired brain injury).
The use of Vestibular Therapy (along with spinal joint therapies) for the management of whiplash and related symptoms (including poor balance, dizziness, neck pain, and poor eye movements) has been shown to be effective. Please see the references below
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References SUPPORTING the use of VESTIBULAR REHABILITATION for management of WHIPLASH and its symptoms
- Tjernström F, Zur O, Jahn K. Current concepts and future approaches to vestibular rehabilitation. J Neurol. 2016 Apr;263 Suppl 1:S65-70.
- Hain TC. Cervicogenic causes of vertigo. Curr Opin Neurol. 2015 Feb;28(1):69-73.
- Hansson EE, Persson L, Malmström EM. Influence of vestibular rehabilitation on neck pain and cervical range of motion among patients with whiplash-associated disorder: a randomized controlled trial. J Rehabil Med. 2013 Sep;45(9):906-10.
Geiger G, Aliyev RM. [Whiplash injury as a function of the accident mechanism. Neuro-otological differential diagnostic findings]. Unfallchirurg. 2012 Jul;115(7):629-34.
- Treleaven J. Dizziness, unsteadiness, visual disturbances, and postural control: implications for the transition to chronic symptoms after a whiplash trauma. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Dec 1;36(25 Suppl):S211-7.
- Tranter RM, Graham JR. A review of the otological aspects of whiplash injury. J Forensic Leg Med. 2009 Feb;16(2):53-5.
- Treleaven J. Sensorimotor disturbances in neck disorders affecting postural stability, head and eye movement control–Part 2: case studies. Man Ther. 2008 Jun;13(3):266-75.
- Treleaven J, LowChoy N, Darnell R, Panizza B, Brown-Rothwell D, Jull G. Comparison of sensorimotor disturbance between subjects with persistent whiplash-associated disorder and subjects with vestibular pathology associated with acoustic neuroma. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Mar;89(3):522-30.
- Treleaven J. Sensorimotor disturbances in neck disorders affecting postural stability, head and eye movement control. Man Ther. 2008 Feb;13(1):2-11.
- Storaci R, Manelli A, Schiavone N, Mangia L, Prigione G, Sangiorgi S. Whiplash injury and oculomotor dysfunctions: clinical-posturographic
correlations. Eur Spine J. 2006 Dec;15(12):1811-6.
- Tuo KS, Cheng YY, Kao CL. Vestibular rehabilitation in a patient with whiplash-associated disorders. J Chin Med Assoc. 2006 Dec;69(12):591-5.
- Ekvall Hansson E, Månsson NO, Ringsberg KA, Håkansson A. Dizziness among patients with whiplash-associated disorder: a randomized controlled trial. J Rehabil Med. 2006 Nov;38(6):387-90.
- Mallinson AI, Longridge NS. Dizziness from whiplash and head injury: differences between whiplash and head injury. Am J Otol. 1998 Nov;19(6):814-8.
- Hoffer ME et al. Characterizing and treating dizziness after mild head trauma. Otol Neurotol. 2004. 25:135-138.
- Nacci, A et alVestibular and stabilometric findings in whiplash injury and minor head trauma. Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica, 2011. 31(6), 378–389.
- Rieke, C. Symptoms of imbalance associated with cervical spine pathology. Independent Studies and Capstones. Paper 293. 2008. Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine.
- D.C. Alpini et al. (eds.), Whiplash Injuries. Springer-Verlag Italia. 2014.
- Anderson, R et al. Whiplash associated disorders: a comprehensive review. CASR Report Series, CASR0 16 April 2006. The University of Adelaide.
- Hain, T. Migraine Associated Vertigo (MAV). American Hearing Research Foundation. . Accessed 25/8/15.
Solution for Whiplash
Brain Hub is a leading vestibular rehabilitation and brain-based therapy clinic, aimed at providing you comprehensive and effective solutions, so you can gain more control and balance in your life. Our proven 3 step process, will help get the answers your looking for and the solution you deserve. Don’t delay, contact us and find out why we have helped many people with dizziness and poor balance conditions (medical and clinical neuroscience research references SUPPORTING the use of VESTIBULAR REHABILITATION for the management of WHIPLASH AND IT’S SYMPTOMS are included above)
• Physical examination
• Neurological testing
• Metabolic and nutritional
• History questionnaires
• Report of findings
• Clear answers
• Options for treatment
• Solution recommended
Physical therapy and exercises
Neurological and brain-based therapy
Vestibular (balance) rehabilitation
Metabolic and dietary