When you are under a lot of stress, it can take a toll on both your mental and physical well-being. While many people associate stress with mental or emotional symptoms, like increases in anxiety or worry, stress can actually impact you physically as well. One surprising way stress can affect you physically is by causing dizziness. If you are experiencing stress and dizziness, then you want to talk to your doctor and find out the root cause. If you were recently in a car accident, then talk to your whiplash doctor about your symptoms to find out if stress is causing dizziness.
Common Causes of Dizziness
Have you ever felt lightheaded or like you can’t catch your balance? Have you ever stood up too quickly and felt woozy? These relatively common experiences are known as dizziness. There are many reasons why you might feel dizzy. Here are a few examples of the common causes of dizziness.
Your body needs water and nutrients to function properly. When you haven’t had enough water to drink during the day, you can become dehydrated. You can also become dehydrated when your body loses more fluids than you take in, like through excessive activity or heat. Dehydration can cause uncomfortable symptoms like a headache, dry mouth, and dizziness.
Inner Ear Issues
Inner ear problems can also lead to dizziness. Your sense of balance is controlled by the vestibular system, which relies on your inner ear, eyes, and sensory nerves to help interpret your surroundings. An inner ear disorder can disrupt the signals your brain receives from the inner ear and lead to dizziness or vertigo. Examples of inner ear issues include ear infections, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, and Meniere’s disease.
If your heart isn’t pumping enough blood to the rest of your body, then you may start to feel dizzy or faint. A sudden drop in blood pressure can cause you to experience lightheadedness or dizziness. This can occur if you stand up too quickly. Poor blood circulation can cause dizziness when your brain receives inadequate blood flow. Conditions like cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmia, and a heart attack can all lead to poor blood circulation and a sudden experience of dizziness.
Certain medications may have dizziness as a possible side effect. Medications like antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, and sedatives can cause uncomfortable side effects like lightheadedness, dizziness, and feeling faint. If you take medications for circulation problems like blood pressure, then you may also experience dizziness. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about a prescribed medication that may be contributing to your dizziness.
Anxiety can manifest in many different ways, from high levels of stress and worry to panic attacks or agoraphobia. Certain anxiety disorders may cause dizziness along with other symptoms. Dizziness and stress anxiety are often linked due to how your body may react to an anxiety disorder. High anxiety may lead you to hyperventilate, which is common during a panic attack. Anxiety-induced hyperventilation can make you feel as if you cannot catch your breath. Panic attacks can induce dizziness when a lack of deep breathing restricts the flow of oxygen to the brain. Sudden anxiety attacks can also cause a rush of adrenaline that can exacerbate symptoms of lightheadedness and dizziness.
Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries that affect the head and neck may also have symptoms, including dizziness. While safety measures like a seat belt help protect your body from shoulder to hip, your head and neck are left unrestrained in the event of a car accident. This can lead to injuries, like whiplash, that can damage the muscles and structures in your neck. Injury to the muscles and spine in your neck can cause dizziness and other uncomfortable symptoms.
How a Car Accident Can Affect Your Physical & Mental Health
A car accident can be an incredibly stressful experience. It doesn’t matter if you were in a small fender-bender or a multi-vehicle accident; this sudden event can wreak havoc on your nervous system. Most car accidents happen when you least expect it, which can set your heart racing and adrenaline pumping as your body reacts to a sudden and traumatic situation. Adrenaline helps initiate your body’s fight or flight response so that you can stay safe and get the help you need.
You may also experience shock after a car accident and your body goes into autopilot to help you respond. While shock and adrenaline may keep you from recognizing your stress right away, a car accident can take a toll on your mental well-being in the hours and days afterward. You may slowly start to recognize an increase in anxiety, worry, or nervousness. Shock and adrenaline can also mask symptoms of a physical injury, and it could take hours or days for you to fully feel pain and other symptoms.
Managing Stress After a Car Accident
Most people don’t think twice about getting quality treatment and care for any injuries after a car accident. First responders may attend to you at the scene, or you may visit an emergency room or urgent care to get immediate assistance. Your car accident doctor will provide you with continued care as you heal and recover from your injuries. However, some people forget about their mental well-being after a car accident. Learning to manage your stress after a car accident can have positive effects on both your physical and mental health. When you learn to manage your stress after a car accident, it can help decrease both physical and mental symptoms. It is important to recognize how stress and the vestibular system can affect you after a car accident. Stress causes dizziness, lightheadedness, and headaches, which are uncomfortable symptoms that can also be associated with car accident injuries. Your car accident doctor can also work with you to determine the source of your symptoms, like dizziness, to determine the root cause.
Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries, yet it can also be tricky to diagnose. A combination of stress, shock, and adrenaline can keep you from feeling pain or other symptoms of an injury right away. So, how long does it take for whiplash symptoms to appear? An injury like whiplash can also have delayed symptoms, meaning you might not notice symptoms right after the accident. Some of the first signs of a whiplash injury are stiffness and pain in your neck. Whiplash can cause the muscles in your neck to strain, which can lead to inflammation. As inflammation sets in, you may slowly start to experience stiffness and difficulty turning your head in certain directions. Whiplash can also cause headaches due to the muscle strain and how the injury and inflammation have impacted the nerves near the spine in your neck. Another common symptom is dizziness from whiplash and head injury. An injury like whiplash can disrupt the healthy functioning of your inner ear and sensory signals that help you feel balanced and stable. You may also experience blurred vision or ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus. Other common symptoms of whiplash include irritability, tiredness, and fatigue.
Treatment for Whiplash and Dizziness
While you may be tempted to wait out your pain and hope it goes away on its own, you risk developing chronic pain or other complications after a car accident injury. It is best to get checked out by a car accident doctor no matter how mild your pain may be or how small the wreck was. A general rule of thumb for seeing a car accident doctor is that if your car sustained any type of damage, including small scratches and dents, then your body likely did too. Visit a car accident doctor before pain and other symptoms set in and become unbearable.
A whiplash doctor will assess you for a potential whiplash injury and determine the best course of action. Talk to your doctor if you have been experiencing cervical vertigo and dizziness after a whiplash injury, and they will determine the best course of treatment for you. Disruptions to your spine after a whiplash injury can also lead to dizziness and other uncomfortable symptoms. Your car accident doctor recognizes how an injury like whiplash can affect both your physical and mental health. As you learn to manage the stress of getting into a car accident while also healing from an injury, your doctor will help you with uncomfortable symptoms like dizziness. You may notice a significant reduction in lightheadedness and dizziness as you learn to manage your stress and anxiety after the accident. Treatment for a whiplash injury can also help reduce your pain and stress while you heal.
Visit AICA Orthopedics to see a whiplash doctor near you and get the quality care and attention you deserve after a stressful event like a car accident. Don’t let the stress of an accident or the pain of an injury keep you from participating in the activities you enjoy. Learn how our personalized treatment plans at AICA Orthopedics can help you and get started at a location near you.