As common as vertigo is, many people still don’t know how to describe it or the symptoms that may accompany it. We’re going to look at a list of signs you may be dealing with vertigo. This will help you to better understand both what it is as well as the other vestibular symptoms that may exist side by side with vertigo. Then we will consider a form of care that is bringing hope to many, even those who deal with persistent vertigo issues.
Table of Contents
Vertigo is a false sensation of movement. Many people experience it as the feeling that the room is spinning. Remember when you were a kid and would play pin the tail on the donkey? Someone would spin you to make it tougher go in the right direction while blindfolded. You were standing still and couldn’t see, but it still felt like everything was moving in a circle. That is how vertigo feels. You may even continue to feel like you are spinning even if you lay down and close your eyes.
Severe and sudden vertigo attacks can lead to falls. Sometimes a person may not even realize that vertigo caused the fall until he or she is on the ground and everything is continuing to spin. This accounts for many of the falls that the elderly experience. One minute an elderly woman is bending over to pick up something she dropped. The next she is on the ground with a broken hip. Why? Because bending forward can cause the sudden onset of a bout of vertigo and lead to a fall.
Just like people get nauseated while on a rocking boat or while looking down when a car suddenly slows down or turns, a person who is experiencing vertigo can get nausea. Your body feels like it is moving, or you see things spinning but no actually motion is taking place. The disconnect between what the body feels and sees causes a person to feel sick to his or her stomach. If vertigo is severe, it can even lead to vomiting.
This is often the way a doctor can diagnose vertigo. The eyes try to correct for the difference between what is being seen and felt. Thus, repetitive and involuntary eye jerks may occur. This is called nystagmus. This can increase the amount of dizziness or nausea that a person feels during a vertigo attack. Since nystagmus only occurs during an episode, a person will have to have an attack induced in order for a doctor to use this method to confirm a diagnosis.
Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or rushing sound in the ear. It is a common symptom that accompanies vertigo although you can have one without the other. The combination of vertigo and tinnitus along with a couple of other symptoms may signal a vestibular disease such as Meniere’s. Thus, it is important to list all of your symptoms for your doctor even if you are only seeking care for the vertigo.
This is another symptom of Meniere’s disease. When coupled with vertigo and tinnitus, hearing loss (especially if it is just in one ear) can be a solid indicator of Meniere’s. If you are dealing with both tinnitus and vertigo, you may want to get a hearing exam. In early stages of Meniere’s, hearing loss may fluctuate and only exist during a flare-up. Later on, the hearing loss may persist and become considered permanent.
While vertigo doesn’t cause headaches, they often occur together. Here are a few reasons:
There are very few medications or procedures that are effective for helping vertigo. A doctor may recommend a diuretic (water pill) to reduce fluid levels in the body. However, this can require a person always to be near a bathroom, and it may lead to dehydration.
A natural way to reduce fluid that is retained in the body is to eat a low-sodium diet. However, this can also lead to dehydration issues if you don’t drink enough water and if you don’t really need to be on a low-salt diet.
A better way to reduce the risk of vertigo is to maintain proper alignment of the atlas and axis (C1 and C2), the top two bones in the neck. A misalignment in this sensitive area can affect brainstem function, inhibit blood flow to the brain, and may even affect the Eustachian tubes resulting in the ears not draining properly. These are all factors that can result in recurring episodes of vertigo.
Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in precisely measuring and correcting misalignments of the atlas and axis. This leads to fewer or less severe vertigo attacks for many. It can even cause the problem to resolve completely. In fact, in one case study involving 60 vertigo patients with upper cervical misalignments, 80% saw vertigo disappear, and the other 20% all noticed a significant improvement.
If you or a loved one is suffering from recurring vertigo, contact an upper cervical practice in your area to learn more about what this safe and gentle form of chiropractic may be able to do for you.
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.