There are many traumatic injuries and conditions that could occur as a result of a motor vehicle accident.  One of these is dizziness.  Dizziness is a common symptom that can occur after traumatically hitting your head on something, but it can also come as a result of whiplash, and other soft tissue injuries. Symptoms of dizziness can be described in various ways, such as “the room is spinning,” “not being able to walk straight,” “fullness in the head,” and many more.

Depending on how severe the dizziness is, symptoms may also include:

  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Inability to walk
  • Inability to drive
  • Inability to eat
  • Inability to get out of bed
  • Pain
  • and more

The four most commonly associated forms of dizziness in relation to motor vehicle accidents are cervicogenic dizziness, Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vascular damage, and brain injury.

Cervicogenic Dizziness

The most common form of dizziness from a motor vehicle accident originates in the neck.  This part of the spine contains many nerves that tell the brain the location of the body.  Proprioception is the ability to “know where one is in space,” such as how you can touch your fingers together from each hand while your eyes are closed.  The proprioception aspect of the nervous system is a very important part of how the body maintains its balance, and can be affected after a motor vehicle accident.

In the event that someone’s neck becomes injured, the proprioceptors can be disrupted.  When this happens, the control system of posture in the brain does not function the way it was designed and dizziness occurs.  Cervicogenic dizziness typically resolves once proper treatment of the damage tissue in the neck is addressed, including chiropractic care, and soft tissue rehabilitation exercises.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) can occur by a violent movement of the head, which is a very common happening in a motor vehicle accident.  The inner ear contains tiny crystals in liquid that informs the brain of the position of the head.  When a violent motion of the head takes place, these crystals can be jostled from their normal location to another part of the inner ear.  Once relocated, they send signals to the brain causing confusion in the postural control system resulting in dizziness. There are specific exercises and rehabilitation procedures that assist with recovering from BPPV.

Inner Ear Dizziness
Inner Ear Dizziness – Public Domain,

Vascular Damage

Another potential cause of motor vehicle accident related dizziness is vascular damage.  When damage to the blood vessels of the neck occurs, restriction of blood flow to the brain is possible.  Typically, this is experienced with pain in the back of the head that grows stronger over time.  The pain can also be felt in the center or on either side of the head.  Other sensations have been described as a rise in pressure or a throbbing sensation.  This particular injury is serious and, if suspected, should be addressed with a medical provider. Imaging such as a CT Scan helps to rule out this particular injury.

Brain Injury

Mild trauma to the brain can take place in a motor vehicle accident when the head comes into forceful contact with another hard surface.  Possible symptoms include fuzzy thoughts, confusion, dizziness, or memory loss.  This is another injury that should be addressed with a medical provider. A concussion is an example of an injury to the brain that can result from an auto accident. Even though MRI and CT Scans may be negative, the symptoms that linger after a brain injury are important, as they help the doctor to identify, and rehabilitate the specific brain functions that are being affected. Even though a test is “normal,” it does not mean that everything is working as well as it could be.

If you (or someone you know) have recently been in a motor vehicle accident and are experiencing dizziness, we want to be able to help you to return to your symptom free lifestyle. Make an appointment today and see how we can help.

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