Experiencing frequent vertigo after a head injury can be worrisome and might give you the impression that there is something life-threatening going on. So, how severe is this symptom? Does it call for emergency assistance, or do you only need help from professionals like a chiropractor for vertigo and receive atlas bone adjustment? Join us as we investigate vertigo episodes triggered by head trauma or injury.
Post-Traumatic Vertigo – How It Develops
Head trauma due to traumatic brain injuries, concussions, or whiplash is among the leading causes of vertigo in the younger population. Statistics note that while spinning sensations often affect aging adults, roughly 28 percent of young patients with a history of head trauma develop BPPV symptoms such as:
- Experiencing spinning sensations when changing the position of the head abruptly
- Feeling unsteady while walking or standing
- Vomiting and feeling nauseous and lightheaded
This primarily happens because the C1 or C2 bones supporting the head and protecting some cranial nerves and the brainstem shift from their neutral position. The upper cervical subluxation impacts various functions such as:
- Blood and cerebrospinal fluid drainage
- Vestibulocochlear nerve and brainstem communication
- Brainstem and brain communication
As a result, the brain gets tricked into sensing movements even when everything is perfectly still. It causes a spinning and dizzying sensation that could affect how you navigate your environment.
Other Potential Causes of Post-traumatic Vertigo
Every case of spinning attack after head trauma is different. Notably, some patients detect shaking or spinning motions in their surroundings even when there isn’t any movement. On the one hand, others experience false body motions, which also causes involuntary eye jerking and loss of balance.
Besides BPPV, other vertigo-causing problems can certainly arise from a mild or severe head injury. Some examples of these include:
Vestibular migraines often follow after a concussion. Sometimes, it can last for a few weeks or extend up to five years, depending on the level of damage on the vestibulocochlear nerve.
Blood pressure fluctuations
Head trauma from injuries like TBI and concussions can cause blood pressure fluctuations. This is because the damage impairs the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary activities like blood pressure regulation.
Nerve pinching in the neck
Apart from supporting the head, the neck performs another critical function – holding cranial nerves that regulate various body functions. Unfortunately, during accidents that cause neck or head trauma, the neck bones shift from their place and pinch on some nerve roots. This leads to various symptoms, including recurring vertigo episodes. It’s also one of the main reasons why people come to a chiropractor for vertigo for help.
Partial cerebellum or occipital lobe damage
Each area of the brain controls a specific function. For example, the cerebellum takes charge of perceiving motion and balance. Meanwhile, the occipital lobe regulates eye movements and processes visual stimuli. Unfortunately, head trauma can cause partial damage to these brain parts, triggering all sorts of health mishaps ranging from loss of balance to spinning attacks.
How to Cope with Post-traumatic Vertigo
Finding lasting and effective relief from vertigo attacks doesn’t come easy. That’s because you need to consider many things like the root cause of your attacks and the impact of your previous head injury. However, below are some popular methods used by patients to overcome post-traumatic vertigo attacks:
Atlas bone adjustment
Many case studies prove that minor adjustments to the atlas and axis bones after a traumatic head or neck injury can address recurring spinning episodes. In a 2006 study, 60 patients got diagnosed with a chronic form of vertigo episodes due to an upper cervical trauma.
After receiving adjustments for one to six months, 48 reported complete resolution of their vertigo while the rest noted decreased frequency and severity of their symptoms.
The Epley maneuver
If your vertigo symptoms stem from BPPV, you can try the Epley Maneuver to restore the dislodged calcium crystals in their former location in the inner ears. This can potentially reduce the spinning sensations you experience when moving your head.
Some patients who experience lightheadedness or false motions try doing habituation exercises. These exercises aim to build up tolerance against spinning attacks. This way, the spinning sensations will no longer affect you as badly as before.
Exertional and balance training
If you have seen improvements in your symptoms, some therapists and doctors recommend doing exertional and balance training to build up your stamina gradually. It helps your brain heal faster too, because the exercises allow the damaged neural connections to rewire themselves slowly.
Working with a Chiropractor for Vertigo
Getting rid of your vertigo symptoms after a head injury will involve solving the underlying cause – cervical subluxation. With an atlas bone adjustment, you can potentially relieve the pressure on your brainstem and the rest of your central nervous system.
Upper cervical chiropractic is a unique and holistic approach to addressing post-traumatic vertigo symptoms. It’s a subspecialty of chiropractic care that focuses on adjusting the C1 and C2 bones to fix the neck bone’s abnormalities. Using digital imaging techniques, a chiropractor for vertigo can gauge the extent of the bone shifting to determine how many adjustments you will need to receive and how long the procedure should last.
It’s a proven technique that patients from all over the USA use to manage their spinning symptoms. It’s also useful for various age groups, providing good resolution to a debilitating problem that can heavily impact day-to-day routines.
Learn more about how you can benefit from getting an atlas bone adjustment by scheduling a visit to an upper cervical chiropractic practice near you.