Vertigo - more commonly known as dizziness - has many different causes, including head and neck trauma. Besides misalignment in the upper neck bones, nervous system and inner ear problems can cause vertigo. Severe vertigo can be debilitating, but in most cases, the condition is easily treatable once a chiropractor or other healthcare professional diagnoses the cause.
Learn how a trip to the chiropractor can help with the following types of vertigo.
Chiropractors treat cervicogenic vertigo, or cervical vertigo, with manipulation that targets joints, particularly those in the upper neck, which aren't moving and flexing properly. A neck injury, particularly an injury that causes compression to the vertebral arteries in the neck, can cause nerve receptors to send inaccurate messages to the brain.
In addition to neck pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion, other symptoms of cervical vertigo may include headache, nausea, distorted vision, and tinnitus. More severe cases can cause debilitating fatigue, temporomandibular (TMJ) joint pain, unsteadiness and balance problems, and tingling, numbness, or pain in the arms and hands.
Chiropractic treatment of cervical vertigo generally includes manual therapy, gentle mobilization, and neck exercises to restore full range of motion of your neck muscles and surrounding joints. A chiropractor uses spinal manipulation and alignment to correct upper cervical musculoskeletal spine dysfunction, which can cause pain or sensory confusion.
Your chiropractor may also instruct you in good posture to help keep your bones and joints in the proper alignment, preventing undue strain on the spine and the muscles supporting it. The joints and ligaments of the head and neck work better when you put less stress on them.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Also known as benign vertigo or positional vertigo, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo causes a sense of dizziness or spinning when you change the position of your head, such as when you tilt your head back to look upward. While aging can lead to BPPV, head trauma and whiplash are also common causes.
However, sometimes debris accumulates in the vestibulocochlear system in the inner ear. Vertigo occurs when the hair-like sensors inside these tubes provide inaccurate information to the central nervous system, causing problems with position and movement. Other symptoms of BPPV may include sweating, nausea, ringing in the ears, or a feeling of imbalance that can cause gait problems.
Your chiropractor may use the Epley Maneuver to reposition debris floating in your inner ear fluid. The use of specific movements helps move back into position small calcium carbonate crystals that have dislodged and are striking against nerve endings in the inner ear.
Other treatment alternatives include tai chi exercise or the Brandt-Daroff technique. Brandt-Daroff exercises are easy to perform, and once your chiropractor feels confident that you can perform them on your own, you can continue them at home.
The exercise involves slowly lowering yourself to one side and then turning your head to a 45-degree angle to look up as you lie down. You remain in this position for 30 seconds before sitting upright again. After 30 seconds, you lower yourself to the other side, following the same steps and repeating the exercise five times on both sides. When you continue the exercises at home, you should perform them each morning, afternoon, and evening for two weeks.
Poor Diet and Lifestyle Habits
Your chiropractor may also talk to you about diet and other lifestyle habits that can help you achieve wellness. Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and certain nonprescription drugs, such as antihistamines, can trigger vertigo. After taking your history, your chiropractor may recommend changes in your diet and guide you in relaxation techniques, including breathing exercises.
Caffeine is a stimulant that restricts blood flow to the brain. When that happens, you can experience symptoms including jitters, palpitations, anxiety, and dizziness. Smoking, too, can cause dizziness, as nicotine is another stimulant that affects the flow of blood to the brain. Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol are all substances that impair circulation, especially when used in excess.
To get to the root of your dizziness and neck pain, contact Marsch Chiropractic Center for a consultation to determine if chiropractic treatment may offer you relief from vertigo and related neck pain symptoms.