We have to start right at the basics, with a definition of vertigo. This symptom is a false sensation of movement. For many people, vertigo feels like the room is spinning. However, vertigo can include perceptions of tilting, swaying, or any other type of movement that is not really happening. Also, you may feel as though you are the one who is spinning, tilting, or even falling. It can easily lead to falls and serious injuries.
But Wait, Isn’t Vertigo a Fear of Heights?
That is a common misconception, and there are a few reasons this idea has come about. First of all, anxiety can trigger a vertigo attack (more on that later), so if you are afraid of heights, looking down from high up may trigger an attack. The other reason this misconception is so common is because of a famous move titled Vertigo wherein the lead character had a fear of heights. However, the definition of vertigo we gave above is correct. The proper term for fear of heights, on the other hand, is acrophobia.
What Are Some Common Vertigo Triggers?
Since we just mentioned anxiety as a possible trigger for a vertigo attack, it makes sense to transition right into a list of common triggers. Some of the more likely triggers you may experience include:
- Certain head positions or movements
- Medication side effects (if the medication is a prescription drug, consult your physician before making any changes)
- Head or neck trauma
- Blinking lights or repeating patterns in your surroundings (there is actually a phenomenon where people get vertigo in grocery stores, especially in aisles where there are many similar cans stacked alongside each other)
What Causes Vertigo?
Triggers and causes are two different things. Triggers set off an episode, but causes involve underlying conditions or circumstances in the body that make vertigo occur. The origins of vertigo are divided into two categories.
If you suffer from peripheral vertigo, that means the cause is related to your vestibular system, which includes your inner ear and vestibular nerve. Well-known causes of peripheral vertigo include BPPV, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, Meniere’s disease, and other conditions like these.
Central vertigo stems from the central nervous system. The most common cause of central vertigo is migraines. Other possible underlying issue can include medication side effects, multiple sclerosis (MS), brain tumors, acoustic neuroma, and other neurological factors.
How Are Neck and Head Injuries Related to Vertigo?
Head and neck injuries can cause upper cervical misalignments. These misalignments, in turn, can lead to the conditions that cause vertigo. Here are a few examples of how upper cervical misalignments can affect both the ears and the central nervous system.
- Ear Function – When the upper cervical spine becomes misaligned, the surrounding soft tissue shifts to ensure the head is properly balanced. This, in turn, may impact ear function. Particularly susceptible are the eustachian tubes that drain excess fluid away from the ears. If these tubes are not functioning optimally, the ears become congested more easily. This can result in vertigo and other symptoms.
- Central Nervous System Function – The upper cervical spine can affect the CNS in a number of ways. First of all, the atlas (C1) surrounds the brainstem. This usually offers protection, but a misalignment can cause this top bone in the spine to put pressure on the brainstem and inhibit proper function. The upper cervical spine also plays a role in providing blood to the brain. So a misalignment may affect the brain’s oxygen supply. These are just a couple of the links between the top two bones in the neck and CNS function.
Because of the link between the neck and vertigo, upper cervical chiropractors have found success in helping many patients to find relief from vertigo. What is this specific form of chiropractic, and how can it help?
What Is Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic?
Upper cervical specific chiropractic involves precise and gentle adjustments of the C1 and C2 vertebrae. These adjustments are calculated based on measurements taken with diagnostic imaging. The corrections are low force, so there is no rough twisting or popping of the neck. The practitioner will offer adjustments on an as-needed basis, so once the surrounding soft tissue begins to heal, you may be able to stretch your appointments further apart. This also makes upper cervical chiropractic a cost-effective form of care.
If you are living with recurring bouts of vertigo, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, this may be just the natural way to get help that you have been searching for. To learn more, use the search feature on this website to locate a preferred doctor in your area. Schedule a consultation if you need more information before your appointment. Otherwise, you can schedule an examination right away and start on your path to wellness as soon as possible. You may join the many patients who have found significant benefits due to this specific form of chiropractic care.