What is whiplash?

As defined by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Whiplash is:

“A soft tissue injury to the neck…characterised by a collection of symptoms following damage to the neck, usually because of a sudden extension and flexion [injury]”

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Symptoms and severity of whiplash can vary from person to person, with the most commonly reported symptom being neck pain or stiffness.

This can occur anywhere from immediately after the injury to several days later.

Additional symptoms may include:

  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain, arm or upper back pain
  • Dizziness
    • Unsteady
    • Brain fog
  • Altered sensation, such as burning or prickling sensations
  • Visual disturbances
  • Difficulty with memory or focusing
What causes whiplash?
  • A rear-ended accident in a car
  • Sports-related collusion
  • Abuse or physical assault
  • Roller-coasters
  • Bungy jumping
How does whiplash affect dizziness and balance?

Dizziness and balance problems are commonly seen following a whiplash injury. This occurs as our the structures of our neck (muscles, tendons and joints) contains millions of sensory receptors. These receptors coordinates signals from our visual system (eyes) and inner ear to the brain. Any damage to these areas can altered the signals sent to the brain, and subsequently can impede the normal reflexes between the eyes, the inner ear and the structures of the neck which are crucial for balance and postural control.