Vertigo is a common symptom because it is caused by many different conditions. While about half of sufferers will never find out what the underlying cause of vertigo is, we don’t want you to give in to despair thinking that this is something you have to deal with for the rest of your life. One of the most commonly overlook underlying factors is an upper cervical misalignment. We will discuss that further at the end of our article.
For now, we are going to take a closer look at the symptoms of some of the most common vertigo diseases. This will help you to see what may be behind your episodes. Then we will discuss the connection between the neck and vertigo, and how you can find natural assistance for this common problem.
Common Vertigo Causes and Their Symptoms
Here are a few of the most common vertigo causes and the symptoms of each:
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Sometimes shortened to positional vertigo, BPPV is is the most common diagnosis for patients who experience false sensations of movement. Having vertigo in the condition name causes some people to think that vertigo is a disease rather than a symptom. Positional vertigo basically means that vertigo is a symptom that occurs when the head changes position. This is due to one or more of the crystals in the inner ear that help the body to balance itself becoming dislodged. However, many doctors use this as a catchall when the underlying cause of vertigo is unknown.
This underlying cause of vertigo is related to swelling in the inner ear. It frequently occurs following a virus such as the flu or a cold. Therefore, other symptoms include those of a head cold or the flu. Once the illness goes away, vertigo should cease within the next week or two.
While the underlying problem of a cold or flu causing inflammation is similar to labyrinthitis, there is a distinct difference with this condition. Instead of the inflammation being in the inner ear, it occurs in the vestibular nerve. This is the eighth cranial nerve and is responsible for sending information from the ear to the brain regarding balance and spatial orientation. Therefore, inflammation can lead to vertigo. Again, vertigo should go away within two weeks of the end of the virus.
Meniere’s has four primary symptoms that vary in severity as the condition progresses. It usually affects only one ear, at least in the earlier stages. However, patients can develop Meniere’s in the other ear later on. The symptom that usually results in diagnosis is the severe vertigo that is an early symptom of the condition. Bouts can last anywhere from 20 minutes up to a full day. There is also a feeling of fulness in the affected ear(s). As the condition grows worse, the other two symptoms progress. Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear. Hearing loss starts in the low tones and leaps to the high tones later on. While hearing loss begins in a temporary way, it can become permanent.
Mal de Debarquement
Translated from French, it literally means maladjustment, and it is a fitting term. This is vertigo that occurs when the body is subjected to a particular motion, and it continues to feel the motion long after it stops. A minor example would be the feeling you get after you spin in circles a few times. The longer you spin, the longer it takes to go away. A larger example is when a person gets off of a boat after a long time at sea and can still feel the waves for minutes or even hours. People sometimes feel this effect after a rollercoaster as well. In rare cases, the false sensation that movement is continuing does not go away. Mal de Debarquement can continue on for weeks, months, or even years.
How Is Vertigo Related to the Neck?
A common thread among people who suffer from recurring bouts of vertigo is a history of head or neck trauma. Why is this the case? The problem may be that upper cervical misalignments are a commonly overlooked underlying factor. In fact, such misalignments can be related to many of the conditions that we have already discussed in our article. Here are a couple of ways:
- Ear function – The atlas (C1) is positioned directly between the ears. When the atlas is misaligned, changes in the surrounding soft tissue take place to keep the head properly balanced. These changes can affect the ears and the tubes that drain away excess fluid. This can be a big factor in the onset of recurring vertigo and even Meniere’s disease.
- Brainstem function – The signals regarding balance and spatial orientation all need to pass through here, so you want your brainstem functioning optimally. The atlas surrounds the sensitive area where the brainstem meets the spinal cord. Thus, even the slightest of misalignments can create a problem that leads to vertigo and a host of other symptoms.
If you are suffering from recurring bouts of vertigo, whether it is related to ear function or to the central nervous system, it makes sense to see an upper cervical chiropractor. We are specially trained to identify and correct even the slimmest of upper cervical misalignments. This, in turn, can give your body the opportunity that it needs to heal naturally.