Vertigo and Nystagmus: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Have you ever felt like the world around you is spinning, and no matter how hard you try to focus, everything seems to blur and shake? This disorienting sensation is called vertigo, and it affects millions of people worldwide. Now, on top of spinning sensations, do you also happen to experience a rhythmic, involuntary movement of the eyes that can make it even harder to see and feel balanced? If you do, then you likely also experience nystagmus. Anyone experiencing both troubling symptoms would find it incredibly difficult to cope especially during a busy day. But the question is, why do vertigo and nystagmus occur together? Is it possible to get rid of both issues by correcting an atlas subluxation? Learn more about vertigo and nystagmus in our discussion.

The Relationship between Vertigo and Nystagmus

The connection between vertigo and nystagmus is a complex one that has been the subject of extensive research. While both conditions can cause a feeling of dizziness, there are significant differences in their symptoms. Vertigo is characterized by a spinning or whirling sensation, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and loss of balance. In contrast, nystagmus is an involuntary rhythmic movement of the eyes that can result in blurred or double vision.

The vestibular system, located in the inner ear, plays a big role in maintaining balance and orientation. It communicates with the eyes to help you perceive changes in your head position and movement. When there is a disruption in the communication between the vestibular system and the eyes, such as in the case of an infection, inflammation, or injury, it can lead to vertigo. The brain receives conflicting signals from the eyes and vestibular system, resulting in dizziness and a loss of balance. 

With that, nystagmus can exacerbate the feeling of vertigo, as involuntary eye movements can make it more difficult to focus and maintain balance. In some cases, nystagmus can be an indication of a more severe underlying condition, such as a tumor or neurological disorder. And while vertigo and nystagmus share some similarities in terms of dizziness and disorientation, they are distinct conditions with different symptoms and causes. Understanding the connection between the vestibular system and the eyes can help you better understand these conditions and develop more effective methods of addressing them. 

Other Potential Triggers of a Vertigo Attacks

Weather Changes

Vertigo episodes related to a condition called Meniere’s disease can be due to atmospheric pressure. According to a German study, changes in air pressure resulted in a flare-up of vertigo on the following day. Particularly, the problem has to do with an increase in pressure.

Allergic Reactions

Both airborne and foodborne allergies can have an effect on vertigo. This is because allergic reactions often increase the amount of fluid in a person’s ears. If the vertigo issues are related to Eustachian tube malfunction, the ear has no way to drain the excess fluid. The result may be a spinning room.

Migraine Episodes

This is more of an internal factor than an external one, but migraines are a common cause of vertigo. In fact, silent migraines can have vertigo as a symptom without an accompanying headache. Vestibular migraines, in particular, present with spinning sensation.


Dehydration is a relatively common issue among millions of American adults. In fact, a study reported that as much as 75 percent of the USA adult population are chronically dehydrated. Sadly, because of this, most Americans experience a plethora of problems, including the following: 

  • Poor blood circulation
  • Low oxygen supply in the brain
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Elevated cortisol levels
  • Dizziness and vertigo attacks


Countless patients seeking Upper Cervical Care for the first time feel incredibly anxious. Sadly, unknown to most of these individuals, anxiety can aggravate vertigo-causing conditions. During an anxiety or panic attack, cortisol levels shoot up. Consequently, this sets off a chain of events that can tip the delicate balance in your vestibular system and brain and leave you highly susceptible to dizziness and spinning sensations.


Dizzying spells and spinning sensations can sometimes stem from hunger. Doctors explain that when a person fails to eat enough or skips meals, the brain doesn’t receive the nourishment it needs to function correctly. Furthermore, hunger can affect your balance as your body struggles to coordinate your movements. 

Active inner ear infection

If you have been reading Upper Cervical Awareness blog posts before, you might have already encountered several discussions on inner ear infection and vertigo. This happens because the pathogen-causing microbes or organisms trigger an inflammatory response that can pressure several vestibular organs, such as the labyrinth and vestibular nerve. If left untreated, your inner ear infection may progress and cause lasting damage to your vestibular organs and leave you highly susceptible to other balance problems, including Meniere’s disease

Atlas Subluxation: A Subtle But Significant Trigger of Vertigo and Nystagmus

Atlas subluxation refers to the misalignment of the first vertebra in the spine. As you might already know, the atlas plays a critical role in supporting the head and protecting the spinal cord. When it is not in alignment, it can increase risks for nerve irritation and compression, disrupting the communication of signals between your brain and the rest of your whole body. 

One of the potential impacts of atlas subluxation is on the vestibular system, which can lead to vertigo and nystagmus. The atlas houses the vertebral artery, which supplies blood to the brainstem and cerebellum - these two structures are crucial for maintaining balance and coordination. Naturally, when there’s misalignment in the neck, blood flow gets interrupted, heightening your risks for a variety of symptoms and conditions. 

To undo or cancel out all of these adverse effects to your body, you might want to consult with an Upper Cervical Chiropractic physician. This way, you can receive atlas and axis bone adjustments that can help restore balance in affected body systems.

vertigo and nystagmus

Upper Cervical Chiropractic for Vertigo and Nystagmus Relief

Thankfully, regardless of your pre-existing health concern or risk factors, Upper Cervical Care allows you to manage your vertigo attacks. It uses a holistic and natural approach to healing the body and removing interferences that may be preventing your different systems from working properly. 

Essentially, Upper Cervical Care involves applying precise atlas bone adjustments to ensure the flow of signals to and from the brain and brainstem. It also relieves pressure on several nerve roots that play a part in detecting balance and movement changes. Furthermore, the gentle neck toggles provided by a cervical chiropractor help improve the flow of fluids in and out of the brain, allowing you to maintain proper chemical balance and release toxins that may be interfering with normal body processes. 

If you have exhausted various options for vertigo attacks but still see slight improvement, we suggest exploring a whole new approach with the help of a neck chiropractor. Find out if you have neck bone misalignments and learn how you can correct them through Upper Cervical Care. 

If you don’t know who to approach, kindly check out our directory of Upper Cervical Care doctors. This will help you find some of the best upper cervical chiropractic physicians and practices all over the country. Take the first step towards a vertigo-free life 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.