What’s the #1 key to stop the spinning and recover from vertigo? The answer is something you might not know about or might seem like an odd vertigo relief option, but once we’ve explained the science behind it, it should be able to help reduce or eliminate your vertigo symptoms entirely. We’re talking about spinal alignment. So, how can proper spinal alignment help in vertigo relief and recovery? We’ll explain everything in a minute. First, let’s talk over some vertigo basics.
What Is Vertigo and Its Causes?
Vertigo goes much beyond feeling dizzy. It is the false sensation that you or your surroundings are spinning. It causes a sense of movement even where there is no movement at all. It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating, and problems walking.
For those with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), one of the most common forms of vertigo, moving the head in certain directions worsens the sensation. Other reasons for vertigo include the following:
- Head and neck trauma
- Meniere’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Brain injury
- Brain tumors
- Chemical exposure
Two Types of Vertigo
Vertigo has two types: peripheral and central. They are categorized based on their causes.
- Peripheral: An inner ear or vestibular problem causes vertigo in this category. The vestibular system consists of semicircular canals, the vestibule, and the vestibular nerve. The most common cause of peripheral vertigo is BPPV which accounts for 32% of all reported cases. Meniere’s disease and labyrinthitis belong in this category as well. Any inflammation such as those caused by influenza, cold, or bacterial infections can also be a source. Physical trauma and motion sickness fall into this category too.
Peripheral vertigo often comes with nausea, vomiting, mild to moderate balance problems, tinnitus, pain in the ear, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness. Some people feel weakness on one side of the face, but they improve after a few days.
- Central: This vertigo type is caused by an injury to the balance centers of the central nervous system often brought by a lesion in the cerebellum or brainstem. Compared to peripheral vertigo, central vertigo is linked with less prominent movement illusion and nausea. It may go with double vision, slurred speech, and other neurological inconsistencies such as nystagmus (abnormal eye movements). If you have central vertigo, you may feel off balance to the point that you find it is impossible to walk or stand.
Conditions linked with central vertigo are lesions, tumors, epilepsy, cervical spine disorders (such as cervical spondylosis), Parkinson’s, degenerative ataxia disorders, multiple sclerosis, migraines, and cerebral dysfunction.
How the Cervical Spine Is Linked to Vertigo
The cervical spine is made up of seven vertebrae. The top two bones are the atlas and axis, also referred to as the C1 and C2. The C1 and C2 are critical as they allow mobility for the head. The C1 acts as a washer of sorts for the skull to rest upon and connects it to the C2. About 50% of the neck’s flexibility and rotation happens here, while the other 50% occurs between the C1 and C2.
The neck consists of muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and bones. The C1 and C2 shelter the brainstem and spinal cord. The brainstem is accountable for the relaying of messages to the brain to regulate every attribute of the body while providing flexibility and strength. If the brainstem gets damaged and malfunctions, it can lead to vertigo.
The cervical spine has three critical jobs:
- Holds and protects the spinal cord: A bundle of nerves from the brain goes through the cervical spine and are known as the spinal cord. It also contains the brainstem.
- Enables blood flow to the brain: Vertebral openings that are uniquely found in the cervical spine offer a pathway for the vertebral arteries to pass through and provide blood flow to the brain.
- Supports the head and allows for movement: The cervical spine is responsible for supporting the weight of the head that can be as heavy as 13 pounds. It also enables the head to move in different directions.
You probably have an idea why the C1 and C2 are prone to damages. What happens when these bones get misaligned?
The Righting Reflex and Its Connection to Vertigo
If any of the atlas or axis gets out of proper alignment, the head would get tilted slightly to the right or left. This is where the body’s righting reflex comes in. This keeps the eyes level with the horizon line. It could also have a negative impact to the fluid-filled semicircular canals of the ear. The signals sent to the brain can be inaccurate because the brainstem is under pressure from the misaligned vertebrae. This can result in vertigo.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Corrects Vertigo
A notable case study shows how upper cervical chiropractic care became an excellent treatment option for vertigo and other conditions. A 23-year-old woman was suffering from headaches her entire life. She suffered from a hard fall that resulted in a concussion. She eventually displayed the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome such as worsening headaches and vertigo. It was revealed through X-rays that her entire body was out of balance due to a misalignment in her upper cervical spine. After her first adjustment from an upper cervical chiropractor, she reported significant improvements such as elimination of her vertigo and headaches!
Here at Upper Cervical of Monmouth in Morganville, New Jersey, we use a similar technique as the one used in the case study above to encourage the bones to move back into place. We do not force, pop, or crack the spine. Instead, we perform a gentle, accurate adjustment that has long-term results. Nearly all our patients report relief and full recovery from their vertigo symptoms. If you are seeking a trustworthy vertigo chiropractor in New Jersey, Upper Cervical of Monmouth is the best place to go to. Visit our clinic or schedule a consultation with us today!