Vertigo is just about one of the most common symptoms people experience. Fortunately for most people, vertigo only lasts a few minutes or even just seconds. Even this can be dangerous, however, due to the risk of causing a fall. There is also a more persistent and debilitating form of vertigo called PPPD. What is it? How can you conquer it? Read on to learn about this condition that can make a person’s whole world spin out of control.
What Is PPPD?
First of all, PPPD stands for persistent perpetual perceptual dizziness. The name basically says what it is. The patient suffers from recurrent episodes of vertigo. In fact, a person with PPPD by definition has to have more days with vertigo than vertigo-free days.
The question then becomes, what leads to the onset of PPPD? Here are a few things that may be at the root of the issue:
- Migraines – Approximately 2 in 5 migraines have some vestibular symptoms such as vertigo. If a person is experiencing chronic migraines with vertigo as a symptom, this can quickly lead to the patient experiencing vertigo 15 or more days out of the month.
- Traumatic Injuries – Head and neck injuries such as whiplash or concussions can lead to post-concussion syndrome. Chronic bouts of vertigo are just one of the many signs of the lingering effects of such a trauma.
- Vestibular Disorders – There are a number of conditions that can lead to problems in the vestibular system which controls balance and spatial orientation. When this occurs, vertigo episodes can be frequent and severe. A couple of examples of vestibular disorders are Meniere’s disease and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
- Neurological Conditions – We already mentioned one neurological condition that can be behind recurring vertigo – migraines – but there are many others. For example, persistent vertigo can be a symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease. A stroke may also lead to vertigo.
Persistent Perpetual Perceptual Dizziness Risk Factors
Some people are more prone to experiencing something like PPPD than others. What factors would put a person in the high-risk group?
- The majority of PPPD patients also suffer from generalized anxiety disorder.
- PPPD also goes along with depression, as 45% of patients deal with both of these chronic problems simultaneously.
- In fact, only about a quarter of PPPD sufferers don’t suffer from depression or anxiety problems.
This makes it clear that persistent cases of vertigo have to do with more than just the function of the ear. We need to look to the central nervous system to find a long-term solution. What makes the atlas vertebra (the top bone in the neck) a good place to start?
Upper Cervical Misalignments and Vertigo
When the atlas is out of alignment, it can affect many body functions that can lead to persistent cases of vertigo. For example, a misaligned C1 vertebra can be linked to migraines and other neurological disorders as well as vestibular conditions. Here are a few ways an atlas subluxation affects the body:
- Blood Flow – The cervical spine facilitates blood flow to the head. This is accomplished by means of the vertebral foramen, tiny loops of bone that provide safe passage for the arteries that supply blood to the head. If the cervical vertebrae become misaligned, this can inhibit the free flow of blood and thereby affect the function of the central nervous system (CNS).
- Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Drainage – When the C1 is out of alignment, this can restrict proper CSF drainage. As a result, cerebrospinal fluid may begin to pool. This can increase intracranial pressure and cause all sorts of neurological issues.
- Brainstem Function – The atlas surrounds and serves as a protection for the brainstem. However, a misaligned atlas can have the opposite effect. If brainstem function is inhibited, this can affect the entire central nervous system and have far-reaching effects on the body.
- Vestibular Function – The atlas is located directly between the ears. Because of its proximity, a misalignment can affect the function of the eustachian tubes which are responsible for draining excess fluid from the inner ear. The result can be vertigo and other vestibular problems such as tinnitus, a feeling of fullness in the ear, and even partial hearing loss.
As you can see, the proper position of the atlas can play an important role in many of the body’s systems and functions that are related to balance and spatial orientation. As a result, a misalignment could be the basis for consistent issues with vertigo. How can you get this subluxation corrected safely and effectively?
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Vertigo
Upper cervical chiropractors use safe and gentle methods to precisely measure and correct atlas misalignments. Low force corrections are long-lasting and give the body the time that it needs in order to heal. So if you are used to the jerking and popping adjustments of general chiropractic, you will be pleasantly surprised by how gentle upper cervical care is. Precision is the key to using less force.
If you are suffering from persistent issues with vertigo, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, this may be the natural solution you have been searching for. Use the search feature on this website to locate the nearest practitioner to you. Then schedule a consultation to learn if you are a good candidate for this therapy. You may have just found the safe and natural way to say goodbye to vertigo for good!