Are you or someone you love experiencing chronic dizziness? This condition, also known as vertigo, can be quite uncomfortable for sufferers, as their whole world seems to spin out of control. The nearest solid object suddenly becomes a lifesaver!
Episodic vertigo can negatively impact your whole life, especially when it is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, ringing in the inner ear, ear congestion, and/or sweating. If you are experiencing symptoms of chronic dizziness, chiropractic care may be able to help you overcome this uncomfortable condition.
Vertigo is a lot more common than people may think. Frequently, the origin is a viral infection of the inner ear, but other causes may include head/neck trauma- such as an automobile, ski, or bike accident. In cases of trauma, the injury originates from disturbances in your nervous system pathways. A misalignment in the neck, can place pressure on the nerves that go to the ears. This misalignment creates a disruption in communication of the brain to the ears- specifically, communication about body positioning (also known as proprioception) and the movement. This type of vertigo, called cervicogenic vertigo, may be helped by chiropractic care.
Your inner ear is the true balance center of the body. This system, the vestibulocochlear system, is a complex system of fluid-filled tubes that are lined with thin, hair-like sensors. These sensors provide information to your central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord) about the positioning and movement of the body. In some people, debris may accumulate on these sensors and the debris can settle on the sensitive hairs within the tubes, resulting in vertigo.
Diagnoses of vertigo syndromes can be made using hearing tests, middle ear examinations, neurological evaluations and positional testing of the neck and head. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) can be diagnosed by a chiropractor, by moving the head and neck in certain ways and seeing if this induces symptoms of vertigo. If the vertigo seems to be originating from the inner ear, chiropractic care may include the Epley Maneuver, which can reposition the debris, and may stop the dizziness.
Initially, a chiropractor may perform a spinal exam, review upper back and neck x-rays and/or review computerized thermal scans that measure neurological irritation. The doctor may then make specific, manual adjustments that correct any misaligned vertebrae in the neck or any other part of the spine.
A chiropractor may also assign exercises to do at home, such as the Brandt-Daroff Technique, where the patient will sit on the edge of a bed, first flop to one side, then upright, then to the other side, at one-minute intervals. Tai chi exercises may also help with vertigo, as the controlled, slow movements offer a safe way to focus on your body movements and your balance. You may want to consider a meditation practice, deep relaxation techniques, and/or breathing techniques to help you regain control of your balance and stop the dizziness.
Your chiropractor may discuss your diet and your daily habits to try to pinpoint any other reasons that you may be experiencing dizziness. For example, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, and other chemical substances that stimulate or depress the nervous system may trigger episodes of vertigo. Over-the-counter sleeping pills or antihistamines may also have this effect.
Be sure to check in with your primary health care provider if you experiencing symptoms of dizziness or vertigo. It could be a potential side effect of a medication or combination of medications you are taking.
Remember, it’s a great idea to have your spine checked by a doctor of chiropractic for misalignments in your spine when experiencing dizziness or vertigo symptoms. You may have a misalignment that’s putting pressure on your nervous system and not even know it!