Diagnosing the cause of vertigo or dizziness is an important first step in figuring out why you are having symptoms and the best way to treat them. Dizziness is the second most common in doctors' offices, the first being low back pain. It is very common, but people around a vertigo sufferer may not even know a co-worker, friend, or family member has it because there are no visual signs that something is wrong. The two most common causes are inner ear problems, or upper neck problems. There are 3 ways your bodies balance centers can be affected.
1. The Eyes- The eyes send signals to the brain to signal where you are in space, and are always working to be balanced with the horizon. This is why if you close your eyes and try to balance on one foot, it is almost impossible, compared to easily being able to do the same task with your eyes open.
2. Your Ears- The inner ear has small circular tubes, whcih are called vestibular organs. There is fluid and crystals in the inner ear that contol balance. If the crystals get stuck in a wrong position it can create a false sense of motion that make someone feel like the room is spinning or they are falling.
3. Your brainstem- The upper neck has the most concentrated area of nerves in your body called the brain stem. This vital area controls a number of bodily functions like blood pressure, respiration, digestion, and balance. The upper neck bones commonly misalign because we have so much range of motion in our neck. When the top two bones misalign it causes irritation to the brainstem and can cause vertigo and dizziness.
The brainstem is the most important balance center for the body because it controls and coordinates all of the positional information your body produces, as well as interprets signals from the eyes and ears. Sometimes vertigo can be a combination of an inner ear problem and upper neck problem.
Many people with vertigo and dizziness end up at the hospital, and are given medication. They may also be given exercises to do at home to balance the crystals. Many of these patients become frustrated when the symptoms don't go away, or only improve slightly. The ability to drive, and work many times is affected, and can cause additional stress. If the problem becomes chronic, depression and anxiety are common.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic for Natural Vertigo Relief
Many people are aware that chiropractors can help with back and neck pain, but didn't know that there are chiropractors that specialize in treating vertigo, Meneire's disease, and dizziness. These chiropractors practice what is called upper cervial care. Their main focus is on the upper two neck bones, the atlas(C1), and axis(C2). That is becuase the C1-C2 bones surround the brainstem that controls balance and coordination. Upper cervical chiropractors are very different than traditional chiropractors in a number of key ways:
1. Gentle adjustments- These corrections are done in a neutral position, so there is no twisting, popping or cracking that patients fear about. They are very light in nature because the correction is tailored to your body based on measurements.
2. Precise measurements- 3d x-rays are taken to measure the exact position of the upper neck, and if the problem is coming from there. If it is determined you have an upper cervical misalignment the doctor will measure anlges digitally on the x-rays, so that they know the exact way to correct your spine.
3. Treatment only when needed- Research has found that the longer the spine holds in place, the more healing takes place, leading to less symptoms. Upper cervical doctors do a series of tests each visit to determine if the upper neck has stayed in place or not and only does an adjustment when the spine is not in alignment. This means less intervention, and better results. This is in comparison to chiropractors that will adjust you every time you go in for a visit. The key with upper cervical care is correction, not overadjusting. If a chiropractor states they do upper cervical care, check on their specific technique organizations' website, to confirm they are registered and do continuing education.
If you're wondering how an upper cervical adjustment can help with vertigo, dizziness, and Meneire's disease, there are a number of factors. Correcting an upper cerivcal misalignment at C1/C2 increases blood flow to the brain, increases brainstem function, vestibular function, and helps drain fluid from the ear through the eustachian tubes. For example, there was a research study with 60 vertigo patients that undrewent upper cervical care for treatment. 80% didn't have vertigo following a course of upper cervical adjustments. The other 20% still saw a signifacant reduction in the severity of symptoms. One interesting fact was that most of the participants remembered some sort of head or neck injury, or had chronic neck pain.
Contact our office for a no-obligation consultation at 561-445-2648, and we will determine if you have an upper cervical misalignment we can help with or if it's a different problem that we can't help with, we will refer you to the appropriate doctor. You can also book online at www.drelan.com .