What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a false feeling that you or everything surrounding you is spinning when there is no movement at all. The sensation is similar to what you experience when riding a fast, spinning carnival ride that has stopped suddenly. Vertigo is unpleasant to deal with and can be dangerous if it hits during risky situations, such as when driving a car or being on a ladder.
What’s the Difference Between Vertigo and Dizziness?
Vertigo and dizziness are two terms often used interchangeably. Dizziness can mean several different things:
- Feeling lightheaded
- Feeling unsteady on your feet
- Feeling faint
According to Dr. Diego Kaski, neuro-otologist at London’s Charing Cross Hospital, vertigo is different as it creates the illusion of movement, unlike dizziness. Here’s how the balance system works: The inner ears, eyes, and other body receptors sense body movements and send signals to the brain, which interprets the movements. With vertigo, the brain is receiving mixed signals from the sensory receptors of the body. This explains why you feel as though you are moving, but your environment is not actually moving.
Why Does Vertigo Happen?
Vertigo is most often caused by one of these two conditions:
- A migraine: Studies report that 1 out of 10 people with migraines experience a bout of vertigo. These episodes occur for a short time and go away, and do not necessarily coincide with symptoms of the common migraine. They may persist for a few seconds to a couple of days. People who have this are said to be more sensitive to sound, lights, and odors. Just like in migraines, caring for this type of vertigo requires avoidance of triggers.
- BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo): This is an inner ear problem. As you move your head into certain positions, small crystals inside the inner ear that have gotten into the fluid-filled canals of the ear cause a distortion of the fluid movement. This leads to the sending of mixed signals to the brain, resulting in the illusion of movement or vertigo. Sometimes Nystagmus may happen – uncoordinated, jerky eye movements. It may last for 30 seconds.
What Else Can Cause Vertigo?
Meniere’s disease is another condition associated with vertigo. It is a rare disorder of the inner ear. It can bring vertigo episodes that last for 2 or 3 hours, accompanied by progressive hearing loss and ringing in the ears. The following severe conditions may also bring about vertigo:
- Acoustic neuromas (benign growths on the inner ear nerve)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Brain tumors
- Head injuries
Why Do Some People Get Vertigo While Others Do Not?
Some people are more visually dependent than others. For some reason, the signals that come from the eyes do not match the information coming from the body, which brings confusion to the brain.
How Do You Cope With Vertigo?
Vertigo sufferers can choose from various home remedies and treatment options available. Before deciding, consider the cause of your vertigo. For vestibular neuritis, most doctors will recommend not resting in bed but staying active and getting back to your routine as soon as possible. By doing so, the brain is kicked back into compensating for vertigo, and it does not linger as a long-term issue.
Using head movement exercises, such as the Epley maneuver or Brandt-Daroff exercises, can treat BPPV. These exercises reset the inner ear organ of balance. New technologies are also underway to reset the balance organ, including those that involve virtual reality glasses and a mobile phone app. Forget about medications if you have BPPV as it has been proven that they are ineffective for the condition.
Another treatment being considered is noninvasive brain stimulation involving putting an electric coil over the head (near the parietal lobe) to attempt to alter the electrical activity in this region in hopes of relieving vertigo symptoms.
Can Upper Cervical Chiropractic Treat Vertigo?
When it comes to pinpointing the root cause of vertigo, an often overlooked factor is the health of the spine. Vertigo can be caused by a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. The C1 and C2 vertebrae, the uppermost bones in this region, protect the brainstem. However, they are more prone to misalignment compared to other bones due to their shape, location, and mobility. If they misalign, they can put the brainstem under pressure and cause it to relay unreliable signals to the brain about the body’s location in its environment. This results in vertigo symptoms.
Upper cervical chiropractors, including us here at Upper Cervical of Sioux Falls, are skilled and trained to identify the locations of these small misalignments. We use imaging and scientific measurements to do so. Once identified, we then perform a very gentle yet accurate technique to encourage the bones to return into position. Our practice helps the bones get into the correct alignment naturally, without the use of strong force. Once adjusted, the body can repair the damage inflicted by the misalignment, and normal functions of the ear and brainstem can be restored. Do you need the help of a vertigo chiropractor in South Dakota? Visit our clinic or call us to start your journey to vertigo recovery.