Vertigo and Your Vestibular System
These are all words that people with vertigo have used to describe their experience. Other than the sensation of movement, a vertigo attack may be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, ringing in the ears, and abnormal eye movements.
How Does the Body Balance?
The body is able to maintain its balance with help from the vestibular system. The brain relies on input from various parts of the body to tell it where it’s positioned in space. Signals travel from the eyes (your vision), the muscles and joints (proprioception), and from the inner ear to the brain, which then sends signals back to the body in order to maintain a sense of balance. When these signals become distorted, a person can become disoriented and experience the sensation of vertigo.
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Spinal Alignment and Vertigo
Your spine has a very important purpose – to protect the delicate nerve fibers of the brainstem and spinal cord. Those nerves are the way that signals are sent and received between the brain and body. When there is a misalignment of one of the vertebrae in your spine, it can compromise the way that those messages are communicated. The atlas, which is the uppermost vertebra in the neck, is responsible for protecting the brainstem, a very critical part of your body’s central nervous system. The atlas is especially vulnerable to misalignment because of its unique shape and wide range of movement.
Upper cervical chiropractic’s goal is to assess for atlas misalignments that can be causing a disturbance in normal brain-body communication. In the case of our vertigo patients, abnormal atlas alignment may be one of the underlying causes of your condition. If we determine that your atlas has shifted from its normal position, we use gentle and specific upper cervical adjustments to restore alignment. Once we accomplish that, proper brain-body communication will return and in many cases reduce the signs and symptoms of vertigo.
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