The Effect of Whiplash on Balance


Many health problems that develop from whiplash injuries are becoming more apparent.  Neck sprains, unlike a sprained ankle, are not simple issues has the neck is involved in a lot of important duties, not just movement.  One important function of the neck is to keep your body and head upright and in balance. Balance is a very complex concept which involved coordination between the sensations in your inner ear, your eye movements and neurological signaling from your neck, spine and legs. To determine where you are in space, where you have been and where you are going, the brain receives inputs from the ears, the eyes, and neck. If any of these areas is affected, then balance is disturbed.

Symptoms of Whiplash affecting your Balance

You may stumble around more, not really have a sense of where your feet are; you may trip more and in severe cases, you may develop vertigo (a spinning sensation). These symptoms can have a devastating effect on your quality of life, even resulting in nausea.

A recent study from Europe (funded by an insurance company) (Coll Antropol) looked at how we sense position of the head following whiplash. The researchers compared whiplash-injured patients to normal healthy people in their ability to sense the position of their head; whether they were rotated or tilted in some way. The results were alarming. Patients with cervical spine injury showed significant impairment of proprioception (sense of position).

Chiropractic Works

Chiropractic care involves trying to normalize joint function of the neck. Adjustments are designed to restore normal mobility and improve the posture of the neck so that it is more balanced. Some patients will need specific exercises, even balance therapy, to help improve their sense of position and keep them from feeling dizzy.

So if you’ve wondered about feeling unsteady, or are not really sure on your feet, this could be a consequence of a whiplash injury. Because both the brain and neck can be injured in whiplash, the symptoms can be quite substantial. Just letting it go and hoping it will go away can create an even longer lasting problem. Because your neck needs to move to properly heal, bed rest and simply not moving the neck are not good options for recovery. Some neck collars can even create more of a problem leading to muscle weakness. They are right for some patients, but not for everyone.

Our clinic specializes in a comprehensive rehabilitation program to help you get past the whiplash injury, and back to the normal quality of life you enjoyed before the trauma.

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