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Whiplash Symptoms Of Head Trauma And Dizziness.

Man in car holding neck in pain
18th October 2013

One of the clear recommendations to appear in the Transport Consultation Committee (TSC) report July 2013 was for the compulsory reporting of medical evidence by an independent board of medical specialists. Objective reporting is especially critical to the diagnosis of any complex condition and Your Legal Friend is determined to support returning the focus once more to the genuine whiplash victim and away from the distorted idea of a 'compensation culture'. 

Medical examination and diagnosis of anyone who suspects they may have sustained a whiplash injury is not straightforward, nor is the assessment of an individual’s ability to make a relatively normal recovery and the impact this may have on any claim for whiplash.

Sometimes the body’s reaction is not immediate and whiplash symptoms may only emerge days, weeks or even months after a car collision. Recovery from whiplash injury, post medical or physio treatment can be extensive for some victims. So while most victims return to normal health between 4 - 6 weeks, others could take up to 16 weeks or more.

Early symptoms of an undiagnosed whiplash injury, which tend to appear six to twelve hours after an accident, are usually a combination of neck pain, bruising or swelling. Other possible early symptoms of an “acute” whiplash injury are headaches, blurred vision, problems swallowing and dizziness.

Dizziness and vertigo

Dizziness or vertigo are known to be common symptoms, which are  actually experienced by between 25 per cent to 50 per cent of those involved in a car collision and tend to fade away after just a few days.

When dizziness / vertigo symptoms do persist, a thorough medical examination of the neck area is essential to determine the extent of injury damage. Whenever the head and neck area is involved in any kind of trauma, a tearing of the connective tissue holding the spine in place can occur, which causes a weakness and allows the spine to move and lock into a stressed position.

‘Misalignment pattern’

When the head is slightly out of line from the upper neck bones a ‘misalignment pattern’ frequently develops. As little as three quarters of a degree is enough to alter the position of the head and force the brain to adapt the spinal posture in order to keep the eyes and ears level with the horizon, which is known as the “righting reflex” within the brain.

Once an upper neck misalignment has occurred and posture has changed, blood and spinal fluid flow begins to alter as well. Misalignment in the upper neck and subsequent brainstem dysfunction has been shown to be an underlying cause of vertigo and dizziness. Once the upper neck misalignment is corrected, symptoms of vertigo and dizziness will frequently resolve.

While the majority of whiplash symptoms do resolve themselves over a short period, medical practitioners are still researching the many different mechanisms associated with whiplash injury and whiplash associated disorders (WAD). It is clear that every individual whiplash claim needs to be diagnosed and considered on an individual basis.