Vertigo is one of the most common ailments being faced around the world. It is often the symptom of a vestibular condition such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or Meniere’s disease. However, despite how common vestibular problems are, there is still a lot that is not known about them. Here are 6 little-known facts about balance problems.
#1 If You Are Over the Age of 40, You Are in the High-Risk Group
Vestibular function seems to begin degrading at age 40. As a result, about 40% of adults over this age will experience vertigo at some point. Since vertigo can lead to falls, it becomes more serious once a person reaches their senior years. In fact, 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will have a fall this year. That’s a huge potential for injuries and even death. This makes it vital to find the right kind of care regardless of your age.
#2 The “Big Toe” Thing Is a Myth
Individuals missing a big toe are disqualified from enlisting in the armed forces in the US. However, it turns out that the idea that lacking a big toe leads to balance problems is a myth. According to Scientific American, not only can a person missing the big toe still walk, but running is also still possible. It causes little to no disability. In fact, the primary change is in the length of a person’s stride, not in the in balance or ability to run.
#3 Vestibular Problems Are Common for Migraine Patients
About 40% of people who get migraines will also suffer from vestibular conditions like vertigo. This makes vertigo one of the most common symptoms of a migraine after the primary symptoms of a headache, sensory sensitivity, nausea, and neck pain. It is also interesting to note that both migraines and vertigo are symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. In fact, head and neck injuries often occur before the onset of both conditions.
#4 A B12 Deficiency May Lead to Vertigo
In 2014, researchers compared the B12 levels of vertigo sufferers with those who did not have this problem. The results? They found that most people suffering from severe vertigo had a deficiency. The good news is that if this is your problem the fix is fairly easy and inexpensive as B12 supplements are readily available.
#5 Calcium-Based Crystals in the Inner Ear Are Vital to Balance
A primary way that the body detects spatial orientation and balance is found in the inner ear. In the inner ear canals, there are tiny calcium-based crystals that help the body stay upright. Unfortunately, if one of these crystals somehow become dislodged from the canal it belongs in, this can lead to long-term problems with vertigo. Canalith repositioning techniques such as the Epley maneuver have been developed to help get the crystals back into their proper place.
#6 The Neck May Play a More Common Role in Vertigo
The top bones of the neck are often found to be misaligned in patients suffering from vertigo, especially those who have vestibular conditions like Meniere’s disease. How does the alignment of the C1 and C2 affect balance? These bones are in close proximity to the ear. Some research has shown that a misalignment can gradually cause a lesion to form on the Eustachian tube. This, in turn, affects the proper drainage of endolymph from the ear. Ultimately, the results are things like vertigo, tinnitus, pressure in the ear, and even the potential for hearing loss.
Correcting Neck Misalignments to Relieve Vertigo
The upper cervical spine can become misaligned during any sort of head or neck trauma and sometimes even just due to normal wear and tear. This is because the top two bones in the neck are shaped differently from the rest of the neck vertebrae. This unique shape allows the head to have the wide range of motion that it does. However, it also leaves these bones open to misalignment.
Correcting misalignments in this area is an important step in reducing the frequency and severity of vertigo. Since even a slight subluxation can have far-reaching effects, it is necessary for an upper cervical chiropractor to use diagnostic imaging to pinpoint the exact degree of the misalignment. Then a gentle adjustment can be tailored to the specific misalignment.
Case Studies Involving Vertigo and Upper Cervical Chiropractic
In a case study involving 60 vertigo patients, upper cervical adjustments were able to resolve vertigo symptoms for 80% of the participants completely. The other 20% also saw significant improvement in symptoms. Interestingly, 56 of the 60 participants in the study could recall specific head or neck injuries that may have caused the misalignment that occurred before the onset of vertigo. This helps to confirm that the neck may play a role in more cases of vertigo than most in the medical field suspect.
How an Upper Cervical Chiropractor Can Help
Upper cervical chiropractors are well aware of the link between the neck and many symptoms such as vertigo. Our methods involve taking precise measurements of the top two bones of the spine in order to find the exact location and degree of misalignment. Then a gentle adjustment is administered to correct the subluxation. The result for many has been significant relief.
If you are suffering from vertigo, especially if you have ever experienced head or neck trauma in the past, please contact an upper cervical practitioner near you to schedule a consultation.