Possible Causes of Dizziness Following a Car Accident
Following a car accident, many people experience symptoms of dizziness or vertigo. These symptoms should not be ignored, especially if they persist for some time after the accident. Dizziness may be a symptom of a more serious injury. Here are some possible causes of dizziness following a car accident.
1. Temporal Bone Injury
Your skull consists of eight different bones that were separate when you were born but fused together in early childhood. The temporal bones are those on either side of the skull that enclose your inner and middle ear. The ear is very important for balance, so an injury to the temporal bone could affect the inner and middle ear, causing dizziness.
Whiplash results from a violent back-and-forth motion of the head and neck. It is common in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions. Though whiplash is primarily associated with neck pain, it is possible that whiplash may also cause an injury to the brainstem, or the posterior portion that connects to the spinal cord. This may be a cause of dizziness following a car accident. Whatever the underlying reason, as many as half of all whiplash patients experience symptoms of dizziness or vertigo following the accident.
3. Traumatic Brain Injury
Dizziness following a car accident may be a sign of traumatic brain injury. A concussion is the mildest type of TBI, and patients usually recover eventually. However, any brain injury is serious and should receive medical attention. Dizziness and other symptoms of TBI may not show up immediately after the car accident. It can be days, weeks, or even months later before symptoms start to occur. If you experience symptoms of dizziness or vertigo following a car accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible for an evaluation.
4. Cervicogenic Dizziness
“Cervicogenic” is a medical term that literally means “coming from the neck.” Cervicogenic dizziness results from damage to nerves that run down your neck called proprioceptors. The role of the proprioceptors is to help your brain gauge the position of your body in space. An injury to your neck in a car accident can damage the proprioceptors. Because of the damage, your brain may receive confused signals from the proprioceptors. Dizziness can result from the brain’s struggle to correctly interpret these confused signals.
Dizziness after a car accident not only disrupts your daily activities, but it can also be a sign of potentially serious injury. Have the dizziness evaluated by a doctor as soon as you can, and then contact a car accident lawyer.