A new article in Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy is addressing the connection between neck trauma and Dizziness, Visual Disturbances and sensorimotor control.
While these secondary conditions can be associated with other causes, one underlying cause that is often overlooked is past neck pain caused by trauma.
"Apart from direct trauma, factors associated with the trauma, such as inflammation, functional impairment, morphological changes to musculature, pain,and psychological distress, may alter cervical input or CNS representation. This can influence cervical reflex connections to the visual and vestibular systems and result in subsequent secondary disturbances."
Essentially the authors go into explaining how an initial accident or injury to the neck can result in long term secondary conditions due to its affects on the function of the nervous system and the cervical spine.
"There is considerable evidence to support the importance of cervical afferent dysfunction in the development of dizziness, unsteadiness, visual disturbances, and altered balance, eye, and head movement control following neck trauma, especially in those with persistent pain.”
The author also makes the connection to PostConcussion Syndrome and similar symptoms:
"Interestingly, other symptoms often associated with postconcussion syndrome, such as headache, poor concentration, and fatigue, are also common in those with traumatic neck pain. It is possible that this is due to concomitant head trauma associated with neck trauma or vice versa, where potential neck trauma is associated with head trauma." (2,3,4)
This is what we often often see with our patients who come in with concussion(s). They typically have an underlying structural shift of the upper neck and an undiagnosed Atlas Displacement Complex (ADC) as a result of the the traumatic brain injury. The result are unresolving symptoms that tend to stick around long after the initial injury has healed.
"This should become an essential part of the routine assessment and management of those with traumatic neck pain, including those with concomitant injuries such as concussion, vestibular system damage, and visual pathology or deficits.”
If you know someone who has persistent neck pain, give us a call for a complimentary consultation. If the Atlas Displacement Complex is an underlying cause, they need to work with a chiropractor who focuses on injuries to the neck and the Upper Cervical spine.
Precision Chiropractic is located in Williston, Vermont.
1. "Dizziness, Unsteadiness, Visual Disturbances, and Sensorimotor Control in Traumatic Neck Pain" Published:Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2017 Volume:47 Issue:7 Pages:492–502 DOI:10.2519/jospt.2017.7052 Authors: Julia Treleaven, PhD, BPhty1 AFFILIATIONS: Neck Pain and Whiplash Research Group, Division of Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia.