If you suffer from vertigo, a false sensation of movement, then you will want to read this article to see if you know all of these important facts about your condition. The last one, in particular, often goes unnoticed and may be able to provide hope to those who suffer from vertigo on a chronic basis. Read on to learn about one of the most common symptoms that people suffer from: vertigo.
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The first place a doctor will check when you complain about vertigo is your ears. This is because the inner ear and the vestibular nerve, together referred to as the vestibular system, are in charge of gathering much of the data that brain uses to tell where you are in relation to everything around you. It doesn’t take very much to go wrong in the inner ear for vertigo to set in. For example, after a cold, you might experience a little inflammation in the inner ear. This can lead to a week or two of recurring vertigo bouts.
While the ear is the first place doctors will check, it isn’t the only thing that can go wrong with your body’s balance system. The brain gathers information from all over, including the joints. Plus, the brain itself has to interpret all the data it is receiving almost instantly so that your body can stay upright and know where the floor and walls are, and that’s just one example. That’s why patients have a tendency to fall more often. Wrong or misinterpreted data makes it difficult for the body to keep you upright.
There’s a reason why about 40% of people over the age of 40 will experience vertigo. It is a symptom of a lot of different health issues. Some are very serious, like a heart attack or stroke, and require immediate medical attention. Fortunately, most causes of vertigo are not that serious. Also, while some of its underlying issues affect the vestibular system, others attack the central nervous system. That’s why vertigo is a symptom of everything from labyrinthitis (swelling of the inner ear) to multiple sclerosis (a neurological condition in which the body attacks the nerves).
Sometimes patients get confused because when they try to search Google for vertigo, they see suggestions like vertigo disease or vertigo condition. The problem is that the word vertigo has a number of uses in popular culture. There is a famous movie by that name. There is also a graphic novel publisher. Using terms like condition or disease along with vertigo will help the search engine to take you to the information you actually want.
That’s a good way to confuse your doctor and to get a poor diagnosis. While vertigo is often referred to as a form of dizziness, they are not the same thing. Vertigo specifically refers to a false sensation of movement. Most people experience it as a spinning feeling. Think about when you played pin the tail on the donkey as a kid. The spinning sensation you get after someone would spin you around while blindfolded is vertigo. If you say dizziness, the doctor may think you are just having issues with feeling lightheaded.
We usually associate vertigo with a rotational element, but that isn’t always the case. You may experience a tilting or swaying sensation. Sometimes you may even feel like you are moving or floating when you are staying still, or you may feel like you are moving in a different direction than you actually are. That’s why people sometimes describe falls as the ground coming up to meet them. A person experiencing vertigo may not even realize they are falling until their eyes register how close the ground is getting.
According to estimates, doctors can only provide a clear explanation about half the time for vertigo patients. The most common diagnosis is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Unfortunately, about 70% of case of BPPV are considered idiopathic (AKA the cause is not known). If you are frustrated because doctors can’t give you a straight answer about what is causing your vertigo, you may find our last point especially intriguing.
Vertigo often sets in after a head or neck injury. Sometimes the onset is immediate and at other times weeks, months, or even years pass between the injury and the symptoms. However, the underlying issue may be the same thing – a misalignment of the C1 vertebra (the atlas) because it balances the head.
An atlas misalignment can affect both the central nervous system as well as the function of the ears, so this is a logical place to look when vertigo becomes a recurring issue. If you are suffering from vertigo on a regular basis, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, we encourage you to find an upper cervical practitioner near you. This safe and gentle subspecialty of chiropractic care may be just the natural therapy that you have been searching for.
The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.