For anyone who is experiencing vertigo on a regular basis, it is important to learn all that you can about it. This can help to quell concerns and may also lead to finding a viable solution to the problem. Let’s consider some important vertigo facts and then discuss a form of care that has been providing relief for patients.
Fact 1 – Vertigo Is a False Sensation of Movement
People often confuse vertigo with dizziness or a feeling of lightheadedness. Dizziness is actually a false sensation of movement. Many associate vertigo with the room spinning, and that is definitely a way it can manifest itself. However, it may also feel like a rocking sensation. For instance, when a person gets off of a boat after a long day in choppy water. If a vertigo attack is severe, a person may feel like he or she is moving even when lying down. This can lead to nausea and vomiting.
Fact 2 – Vertigo and Acrophobia Are Two Different Things
Acrophobia is the fear of heights. For some reason, people often confuse this with vertigo, perhaps because of the classic movie Vertigo in which the lead character has a fear of heights. It is possible to experience vertigo while high up. It may even have to do with being afraid because spiking anxiety levels can trigger a vertigo attack. However, vertigo and a fear of heights are still not the same thing.
Fact 3 – It Can Be a Symptom of Many Conditions
Vertigo is not usually life-threatening. In fact, the most common cause of vertigo is BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). That just means the position of your head triggers the start of an attack. There are some causes of vertigo that are very serious. For example, if you are experiencing other symptoms of a heart attack, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately because vertigo can be a symptom of heart disease. However, the most danger that is usually associated with vertigo is the risk of a fall when an attack comes on suddenly.
Fact 4 – The Risk of Vertigo Increases as a Person Ages
After age 40, the risk of experiencing vertigo increases exponentially. It is no wonder that about 1 in 3 seniors fall each year. In order to reduce this fall risk, it is important to avoid activities that trigger an episode. For example, for some with BPPV, bending over to pick something up can quickly result in a spinning sensation that leads to a person ending up on the ground right next to whatever he or she was reaching for.
Fact 5 – Not All Cases of Vertigo Require Medical Care
Sometimes vertigo ends on its own and is an isolated occurrence. For example, if you take a trip on a particularly rocky boat, ride a wild rollercoaster, or spin around in a circle really fast, you may end up with a temporary bout of vertigo. Unless you already have problems with vertigo, this isn’t really a cause for concern because it may go away and never happen again. However, when vertigo is severe or repeated, it is time to find a way to fight it.
Fact 6 – There Are Natural Ways to Relieve It
Before you try medications with unwanted side effects or invasive surgeries to try and correct the problem, why not give a natural remedy a try? Since vertigo is considered non-life-threatening, you aren’t risking anything by trying a home remedy first. For example:
- Some cases of vertigo are caused by excess fluid in the ear. A low-salt diet can help reduce fluid retention and may lead to fewer vertigo attacks. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting a new diet.
- Canalith repositioning is designed for cases of vertigo that are caused when one of the particles in the ear canals that detect movement become displaced. A doctor can help you perform these maneuvers which may correct vertigo, at least temporarily. You may also learn to perform a version of the maneuver at home.
- Be careful of how quickly you sit up or stand if this triggers vertigo. If a condition is making it take longer for your blood pressure to level off after going from lying down to standing, this can trigger vertigo attacks.
Fact 7 – Vertigo Often Begins Following a Head or Neck Injury
The onset of vertigo frequently begins following some type of trauma. For example, a car accident may result in a whiplash-type injury or a sporting injury may lead to a concussion. If vertigo follows and becomes chronic, this could be a signal that a misalignment has occurred in the upper cervical spine.
When the C1 (atlas) is out of place, it can affect the vestibular system (how the body balances itself) in several ways.
- Blood flow to the brain may be restricted
- The vestibular nerve may be affected
- The Eustachian tubes may form a lesion that restricts fluid drainage
- Brainstem function may be inhibited
Any of the above factors can lead to problems with vertigo, migraines, and other conditions. It is no wonder then that in a study involving 139 Meniere’s disease patients, 136 saw significant improvement in vertigo severity and frequency after gentle upper cervical adjustments. To learn more about how upper cervical chiropractic care may benefit you, especially if you have any type of head or neck injury in your history, contact a practitioner near you and schedule a consultation.