Post-traumatic vertigo is a feeling of movement or spinning that occurs following a neck or head injury. Before we further discuss post-traumatic vertigo, let’s have a quick refresher about what vertigo is and how it can result from an injury.
Vertigo Definition and Symptoms
Vertigo is the false sensation of movement. If you have it, you may either feel your surroundings are spinning or that you are. However, there is really no movement. Below are the signs and symptoms of vertigo. They can last from a few minutes to a few hours, and sometimes even longer. They often just come and go.
- Unsteadiness or feeling off-balance
- A feeling of being pulled in one direction
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hearing loss
- Tinnitus – ringing in the ears
- Nystagmus – abnormal eye movements
Top Causes of Vertigo
The majority of vertigo cases are related to problems in the inner ear. The leading causes of this are the following:
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
BPPV occurs when the small calcium particles called canaliths travel out of their appropriate location and stay in the canals of the inner ear. The inner ear plays a role in keeping our balance as it regulates the sending of signals to the brain about the body’s movements in relation to gravity. The onset of BPPV may have no apparent cause, although age can be a factor.
Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis
Either of these conditions is due to an infection or virus that affects the inner ear, causing inflammation of the nerves surrounding it. Both have an impact on the body’s sense of balance.
This is an ailment of the inner ear believed to be due to an accumulation of fluid that alters the pressures in the ear. It can result in vertigo attacks, fluctuating hearing loss, and tinnitus.
Other Causes of Vertigo
Below are the less-common causes of vertigo.
- Some medications that cause ear damage
- Brain problems such as stroke or tumor
- Head or neck injuries
Post-traumatic vertigo is one result of head and neck injuries.
What Is Post-Traumatic Vertigo?
About 5% of the population suffers from head injuries every year. Post-traumatic vertigo occurs after having a neck or head trauma or injury. Typically, injuries to other parts of the body do not cause vertigo. Doctors ask patients who may have post-traumatic vertigo for their health history and to undergo various examinations and x-rays before making a diagnosis.
Possible Causes of Post-Traumatic Vertigo
Many conditions can be the underlying cause of vertigo. Some of them we have mentioned above. We will have a deeper dive into these conditions and determine how they connect to post-traumatic vertigo.
This occurs when you move your head in certain positions. A severe blow to the head can result in the breaking loose and migration of tiny calcium particles into the canals of the inner ear. This leads to vertigo.
A post-traumatic migraine
This is a migraine that comes with vertigo, an ordinary combination following head injuries.
Severe imbalance after a neck injury.
A hard blow to the head can damage the drainage pathways of the ears, causing improper draining of the fluid.
Often a combination of dizziness, headache, and cognitive difficulties. These all can occur following head trauma.
It is a disturbance of the labyrinth of the ear. It can occur after a head injury. To get this diagnosis, you must display hearing loss or nystagmus.
This is linked to a brain injury, particularly involving the temporal lobe that administers vestibular signals. It can include loss of consciousness during the injury.
Vertigo that anyone can experience due to psychological issues such as depression and anxiety.
It occurs after straining or blowing the nose.
Temporal bone fracture
This is severe vertigo that follows an injury that resulted in a fracture in the skull. It often goes together with hearing loss or peripheral facial weakness (Bell’s palsy).
The Best Thing to Do for Post-Traumatic Vertigo
Before we reveal the best possible solution for post-traumatic vertigo, we must first explain why head and neck injuries can result in vertigo. The central nervous system is responsible for all these. The spine protects the spinal cord. The atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae protect the brainstem. The brainstem and the spinal cord are the communication road between the brain and the body. They help the brain verify the body’s location in its surroundings.
If the C1 and C2 vertebrae misalign due to a head or neck injury, the brainstem will have to endure the stress of the vertebrae putting pressure on it. This can result in the malfunction of the brainstem and sending of faulty signals to the brain about the body’s location. The brain also begins to receive signals that don’t match the messages from other receptors of the body. Vertigo is the inevitable result.
One study observed 60 patients who had a vertigo diagnosis. Out of the 60, 46 patients recounted experiencing an accident affecting their head or neck before their vertigo. The 60 patients all received upper cervical chiropractic care to correct a misalignment in their neck. As many as 48 saw the elimination of their vertigo after the care. The rest reported a reduction in their symptoms.
Upper cervical chiropractors use similar methods as the one used in the study. The natural therapy encourages the bones to return into place, allowing them to hold in place. Many patients report seeing an improvement or complete remission in their vertigo after a certain period. To experience similar results, reach out to an upper cervical chiropractor near you.