Balance, dizziness and proprioception in patients with chronic whiplash associated disorders complaining of dizziness: A prospective randomized study comparing three exercise programs

Man Ther. 2016 Apr:22:122-30. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2015.10.017. Epub 2015 Nov 26.

Abstract

Background: Dizziness and unsteadiness are common symptoms following a whiplash injury.

Objective: To compare the effect of 3 exercise programs on balance, dizziness, proprioception and pain in patients with chronic whiplash complaining of dizziness.

Design: A sub-analysis of a randomized study.

Methods: One hundred and forty subjects were randomized to either a physiotherapist-guided neck-specific exercise (NSE), physiotherapist-guided neck-specific exercise, with a behavioural approach (NSEB) or prescription of general physical activity (PPA) group. Pre intervention, 3, 6 and 12 months post baseline they completed the University of California Los Angeles Dizziness Questionnaire (UCLA-DQ), Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) for, dizziness at rest and during activity and physical measures (static and dynamic clinical balance tests and head repositioning accuracy (HRA)).

Results: There were significant time by group differences with respect to dizziness during activity and UCLA-Q favouring the physiotherapy led neck specific exercise group with a behavioural approach. Within group analysis of changes over time also revealed significant changes in most variables apart from static balance.

Conclusion: Between and within group comparisons suggest that physiotherapist led neck exercise groups including a behavioural approach had advantages in improving measures of dizziness compared with the general physical activity group, although many still complained of dizziness and balance impairment. Future studies should consider exercises specifically designed to address balance, dizziness and cervical proprioception in those with persistent whiplash.

Keywords: Balance; Dizziness; Proprioception; Whiplash.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Dizziness / etiology*
  • Dizziness / physiopathology
  • Dizziness / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Whiplash Injuries / complications*
  • Whiplash Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Young Adult