Peripheral Vertigo vs Central Vertigo – What's the Difference?

Peripheral Vertigo vs central vertigo relief infographic

Peripheral Vertigo Vs Central Vertigo

What is the difference between peripheral vertigo vs central vertigo? In short, the difference between peripheral and central vertigo is the source of the symptoms. Peripheral vertigo is generally caused by problems in the inner ear. Central vertigo is related to a problem in the central nervous system (CNS) that leads to vertigo. Let’s take a closer look at these two types of vertigo as well as a natural remedy that may help both types in certain cases.

What Is Peripheral Vertigo?

This is the far more common type of vertigo. Again, it is primarily related to the inner ear. Here are a few conditions that are classified as peripheral vertigo:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) – The most common form of vertigo, BPPV is believed to be caused by calcium crystals in the ear being out of position. Vertigo benign paroxysmal positional is another way of referring to this type of vertigo.
  • Labyrinthitis – Inflammation occurs in the inner ear, most commonly resulting from a viral infection.
  • Meniere’s Disease – Fluid builds up in the ear resulting in vertigo, tinnitus, and partial hearing loss.
  • Cervicogenic vertigo – this is a form of vertigo, dizziness, or disequilibrium that is related to the neck in some way and is usually associated with previous head or neck injuries.

What Is Central Vertigo?

Central vertigo refers to problems in the central nervous system that lead to vertigo. It may be a problem with the brainstem or in the messages traveling to and from the brain. What is the number one cause of central vertigo? Migraines.

There are some less common but far more serious causes of central vertigo including stroke, a tumor, or multiple sclerosis (MS). If you believe you or a loved one is having a stroke, call the emergency services immediately.

Peripheral Vertigo vs central vertigo relief infographic

Relief from Peripheral Vertigo vs Central Vertigo

Upper cervical chiropractic care can provides benefits for many patients suffering from either peripheral or central vertigo. How is this the case?

Peripheral vertigo may occur due to a misalignment of the C1 that creates a lesion on the Eustachian tube. This can take up to 15 years to occur and may be related to Meniere’s disease. A misalignment at the top of the neck can also affect blood flow to the ears, providing further physical cause for vertigo.

Cervicogenic dizziness, also known as cervical vertigo or cervicogenic vertigo, is a condition characterized by both neck pain and dizziness or lightheadedness.

The cervical spine plays a crucial role in balance, and cervicogenic dizziness is thought to be caused by a disturbance to the cervical spine or the surrounding tissues.

Common symptoms of cervicogenic dizziness include:

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, feeling faint or unsteady
  • Uncoordinated movement and difficulty maintaining upright posture
  • Visual disturbances like trouble focusing or a sense of motion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches or neck pain

Cervicogenic dizziness is often caused by trauma to the cervical spine, such as whiplash injuries, or by conditions like cervical arthritis or herniated discs. It can also be exacerbated by stress and anxiety.

There is no single diagnostic test for cervicogenic dizziness, so it is considered a diagnosis of exclusion - other potential causes of dizziness must be ruled out first.

The same misalignment can affect brainstem function and inhibit signals traveling to and from the brain. This can lead to central vertigo, especially in connection with migraines.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Cervicogenic Vertigo Research

Cervicogenic dizziness, also known as cervical vertigo, is a type of dizziness caused by abnormalities or dysfunction in the cervical spine. Several studies have found that chiropractic care, particularly upper cervical chiropractic techniques, can be effective in treating cervicogenic dizziness:

  • A case report described the resolution of cervicogenic dizziness and upper cervical pain in a 49-year-old female after receiving Atlas Orthogonal chiropractic care to correct vertebral subluxation.
  • A feasibility study found that chiropractic care, including upper cervical chiropractic care, led to improvements in dizziness, balance, and neck pain in adults. The study showed a large effect size for improvements in balance.
  • A case report described a 40-year-old female patient with Ménière's disease (a type of vertigo) who experienced improvement in her vertigo symptoms after receiving upper cervical chiropractic care.
  • Two systematic reviews concluded that spinal manipulation and manual therapy to the cervical spine may be beneficial for patients with cervicogenic dizziness, especially when they also have neck pain or cervical spine dysfunction.
  • Researchers have proposed that cervical spine trauma or dysfunction can disrupt proprioceptive input to the brainstem, leading to cervicogenic vertigo, which can then be addressed through chiropractic treatment of the neck.

In summary, the available research suggests that upper cervical chiropractic care may be an effective treatment approach for patients suffering from cervicogenic dizziness or vertigo. However, more high-quality studies are still needed to further investigate this relationship.

If you are suffering from vertigo, especially if you have a head or neck injury in your past, upper cervical chiropractic may be the drug-free solution you’ve been searching for lasting results. You can use this directory to find an upper cervical specialist near you. Watch the video below to learn more.

Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Area

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Find an Upper Cervical Specialist In Your Area

to schedule a consultation today.

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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.