In any given year, approximately 5% of the population will suffer with vertigo or dizziness symptoms (1). Many people seem to chronically suffer from vertigo, never experiencing full relief or answers for their problem.
Similar to a fever, the term "vertigo" only describes a symptom -- not a full diagnosis of the condition actually causing the problem. Vertigo can occur whenever there is a disturbance in one of your body's systems that tell you where you are in space (peripheral vertigo) or there's a problem in your brain where all of this information is processed (central vertigo).
If you do not pinpoint exactly where the disturbance is occurring, it is hard to provide adequate treatment for your dizziness. Your doctor or therapist ends up taking a "shot gun" approach, hoping something will work for your symptoms.
The main systems that tell your body where you are in space include your eyes, the inner ear and also nerve endings that are connected to your muscles (proprioception). All three of these systems are constantly sending information to your brain, which processes the signals, giving you a sense of equilibrium. If the signals to the brain do not match or if the brain cannot process the information, you will experience vertigo -- which is a sensation that either you are spinning or the world is spinning around you.
It is important to see your chiropractic physician or another qualified health care provider to make sure you know what is causing your vertigo -- don't self treat! If you have central vertigo, it's most likely a more serious issue and you'll want to know about it sooner rather than later. Through a series of questions and in-office tests, they will be able to let you know if you need emergency medical attention and give you guidance.
After excluding urgent conditions that could be causing your vertigo, your provider will strategically test your vision, inner ears and upper neck to see where the abnormal equilibrium signals are coming from. This will help them provide you with a proper diagnosis and effective treatment options.
Common conditions that cause peripheral vertigo include:
Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Inflammation or infection of the inner ear
Neck tightness or pain
Neck pain, headaches and stiffness often occur with vertigo. Studies have found that many patients with vertigo suffer with neck pain and headaches at a higher rate than the general population. We think this is partly due to the high concentration of proprioceptive nerve endings that are constantly sending information about where you are in space. When your neck is tight or does not move properly, those muscles send incorrect messages to the brain. Neck problems can be the cause of your vertigo or can cause more severe vertigo symptoms if you do have BPPV, inflammation of the inner ear or migraine as the cause of your dizziness (2). Chiropractic care can help your neck move better and reduce your vertigo symptoms natrually by restoring normal nerve signals from the muscles of your upper neck.
Chiropractic Physicians Can Also Treat BPPV and Inflammatory Ear Causes of Vertigo. If it's determined that you have problems with your inner ear crystals, your chiropractor can help realign them with the Epley's Maneuver. They might teach you how to keep your ear crystals happy through home balance exercises. In addition, we can work with your primary care provider, ENT or neurologist to provide a comprehensive treatment approach for your vertigo suggesting natural solutions for ear inflammation and/or viral infections.
The Single Leg Stance Test is an easy way to self-assess your sense of balance. Test yourself by following the instructions in my video below. You should be able to hold the position for 30 seconds on each leg. If you can't pass this test and you think that you might have balance, vertigo or dizziness problems, it's time to get help and find out why you're having trouble!
If you need care in Illinois or near Bloomingdale IL, I am happy to help through in-person or virtual telehealth services. I've helped hundreds of patients with vertigo, dizziness and balance issues at my Bloomingdale IL chiropractor and physical therapy practice and helped them return to their active lifestyle.