Facts You Need to Know if You Suffer from Positional Vertigo


Positional vertigo a diagnosis that patients get when the head position is an element in the onset of vertigo. While positional vertigo is considered peripheral in nature (meaning that vertigo stems from a problem in the ear or vestibular nerve), less than half of people who get this diagnosis ever find out what the underlying cause of the problem is. If you are suffering from recurring bouts of vertigo, here are some things you need to know.

Positional Vertigo Is a Likely Diagnosis if You Wake Up with Vertigo

You may find that vertigo is most likely to strike when you first wake up, before you even get out of bed. In many cases, vertigo doesn’t last long, and you can safely go about your day after waiting a minute or two for it to pass. If vertigo goes on for longer periods of time, your doctor may want you to get a hearing test to see if you are dealing with Meniere’s disease, a vestibular condition that can result in severe vertigo bouts, hearing loss, and ringing in the ears.

After Age 40, Vertigo Becomes One of the Most Common Ailments

Anywhere from 30-40% of people will develop vertigo at some time after they turn 40. However, that doesn’t make this a normal part of aging. Whether your doctor can find the underlying cause or not, something is causing your vertigo. While some people decide they can live with it, others are concerned about the potential for falls, or a vertigo bout occurring at a dangerous time (e.g., while driving).

Vestibular Migraines Cause Vertigo for Millions

There are about 39 million people who get migraines in the US alone. As much as 40% of those individuals will experience vertigo as a symptom. However, not all doctors will associate vertigo with your headaches, and not all migraines have a headache as a symptom. Therefore, vertigo may be mistakenly diagnosed as positional.

Other common symptoms of migraines include nausea and sensory sensitivities. Neck pain is one of the most common symptoms, with patients experiencing the pain either before or during the headache phase.

It Can Be One or Both Ears Causing Vertigo

When the problem is coming from both ears, vertigo and balance issues are usually worse. Meniere’s disease is one of the exceptions to this since it normally affects one ear only and results in severe vertigo bouts that can last for 20 minutes up to an entire day.

You May Be Able to Reduce the Frequency of Vertigo with Some Self-Care

While lifestyle changes are not a cure-all for vertigo, there are some things you can do at home to reduce how often this symptom springs up. Here are a few suggestions for taking care of vertigo at home.

  • Drink more water – Vertigo is actually an early sign of dehydration. For some people, reducing the frequency of vertigo is simply about remembering to drink 8 full glasses of water per day.
  • Dietary changes – When it comes to positional vertigo, the amount of fluid in the inner ear may lead to your symptoms. While it is important to know what is causing this fluid build-up, you may be able to reduce your symptoms in the meantime by changing up your diet to keep the body from making or retaining fluids. Reducing salt intake can stop the body from retaining as much fluid. Just be sure you are drinking enough so that you don’t start getting vertigo due to dehydration. Other things that are bad on fluid levels are sugars, artificial sweeteners, and anything you may have an allergy or sensitivity to.
  • Reducing stress levels – Stress is a trigger for all sorts of health problems, including many vertigo-causing conditions. For example, migraines can occur when stress hormone levels quickly rise or fall within the body. Therefore, you can be on your way to vertigo and other symptoms both while you under stress and when you finally get to relax. Positive stress coping mechanisms are a must because things like smoking and drinking to relieve stress can both make vertigo and other health problems worse.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic May Help You Get to the Source of Vertigo

One possible cause of vertigo that is usually overlooked is an upper cervical misalignment. The atlas is the top bone in the neck. It balances the skull, protects the brainstem, and helps to facilitate blood flow to the head. Even a slight misalignment can throw of the central nervous system and many other key bodily functions. Vertigo is just one of the many things that can occur.

If you are suffering from recurring bouts of vertigo and it turns out that you have an atlas misalignment, correcting this underlying issue may provide lasting relief. For example, 80% of the patients in a case study became vertigo-free after the correction of their atlas misalignments. The other 20% of the participants in the case study also saw significant improvement.

Upper cervical chiropractic is a natural and safe alternative for vertigo. While most people with atlas misalignment remember a head or neck trauma, this is not always the case. So, be sure to have an upper cervical chiropractor examine your atlas. This is to see if you are a good candidate for this form of care.

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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.