At the Neck pain support blog- we have discussed many times the phenomenon of whiplash- the violent backward and forward motion of the neck during a motor vehicle accident that can cause neck pain, injury to the soft tissues and discs, and decrease in range of motion of the neck. A new study published in the july issue of the Journal Brain Injury shows that whiplash can also cause anatomical changes that can result in brain injury.
The study examined the MRI scans of 1200 neck pain patients and found that those patients suffering from whiplash were more likely to have anatomical changes to the brain resulting in brain injury, specifically, a herniation of the brain called Chiari malformation, in which the bottom part of the brain (the cerebellum) dips through an opening in the base of the skull after a whiplash injury. Preliminary findings showed that brain injury occurred in 23% of the whiplash cases studied.
Chiari Malformation can cause symptoms such as headaches, eye pain, dizziness, vertigo, facial pain, upper extremity (arm or hand) numbness and tingling and weakness (see chart below). It is advisable to have a thorugh examination if you have suffered a whiplash type of accident.
Read more about this study here: New Study Finds Whiplash Caused Brain Injury in Over 20 Percent of Cases
Picture Source: Chiari Malformations Symptoms Chart- UW Medicine Department of Neurological Surgery Chiari Malformation Clinic
Additional Reading Resources:
- Physical and Mental Trauma associated with Whiplash: More than just Neck Pain...
- What to Do After a Motor Vehicle Whiplash Accident
- Can Whiplash Cause Shoulder Pain?
- Part 4: Reducing Whiplash injuries by 90% - just by changing one thing in your car
- How Does Whiplash Occur?