The unsteady sensation of being off-balance and about to fall can be disruptive to life. Feeling faint, unstable, woozy and weak is a condition commonly called dizziness. When dizziness is at its most extreme, it can cause a person to falsely believe that either they are spinning or that their surroundings are spinning. People may also experience tilting, swaying or the feeling of being pulled in one direction. This is a condition referred to as vertigo. While dizziness and vertigo can make life difficult, they are rarely a sign of a life-threatening condition.
The causes of vertigo and dizziness are numerous, and not always easy to determine. According to the Mayo Clinic, causes that can be determined are often due to a minor to major blow to the head. Such an impact could affect the top vertebrae between the spine and skull and interfere with signals to and from the brain. The good news is that chiropractors are trained to help correct issues of the spine, and when vertigo or dizziness are caused by spinal misalignment, there are research studies to support the high success rate of chiropractic care in treating and alleviating symptoms.
Some of the most common causes of dizziness and vertigo include inner ear issues, motion sickness, medications, underlying health conditions, poor circulation, low iron, anxiety, a blood pressure drop, low blood sugar, dehydration, overheating, an injury or an infection. The impact dizziness has on a person, the triggers and the accompanying symptoms can help determine the cause.
Disorders of the sensory system—which includes the eyes, sensory nerves and inner ear—are frequently the cause of vertigo. The eyes are responsible for determining where our body is in relation to our environment and how it is moving. The sensory nerves send messages to the brain about these body movements and positions. The inner ear helps us detect gravity and back and forth movements. Vertigo is common with inner ear disorders because with this condition, the messages the inner ear sends the brain do not match the messages sent from the sensory nerves and eyes.
Conditions such as benign paroxysmal positioning vertigo (BPPV), certain viral infections, migraines and Meniere’s disease can all cause vertigo symptoms. Risk factors for vertigo include age and previous episodes.
The cervical spine plays a role in many forms of vertigo and dizziness. This is known as cervicogenic vertigo, caused by a lack of movement most often in the upper neck area. Misalignments of the cervical spine can create faulty motion pattern messages that go back and forth between the central nervous system and the sensory system of the inner ear. Chiropractors perform adjustments of the neck to restore movement. This is how adjustments from a chiropractor are typically useful in helping to relieve vertigo.
Chiropractors may treat dizziness and vertigo through a series of regular spinal adjustments and may also suggest specific exercises for balance that may help. Other therapies may be used as well if it is determined that the symptoms originate in the inner ear. Your chiropractor will also discuss your daily and dietary habits, and may recommend lifestyle changes to help with your condition.
If you are suffering from symptoms of dizziness or vertigo, it’s important to seek relief as soon as possible. These symptoms are commonly associated with the spine and often improve with chiropractic treatment. A licensed chiropractor can help alleviate your symptoms and correct most issues at their root cause.