Vertigo is one of the most common symptoms that a person can experience with an estimated 69 million Americans deal with it sometime after age 40. If you have just experienced vertigo for the first time or have a condition that causes vertigo, what should you know? Here is a vertigo FAQ to help you get started.
What Is Vertigo?
Vertigo refers to a false sensation of movement. You may feel like the room around you is spinning, twisting, tilting, or swaying. Or you may feel like you are the one moving, which is why laying down and closing your eyes doesn’t necessarily make the feeling go away.
What Causes Vertigo?
A problem in the ears or an issue with the central nervous system are the two most likely sources of vertigo. When the condition is related to the ears, it is called peripheral vertigo. Central vertigo is the name for CNS causes.
Are Vertigo and Dizziness the Same?
Most people use the word dizziness to refer to a number of different medical issues, including vertigo. However, if you don’t want your doctor to have to guess at your symptoms, saying vertigo instead of dizziness is more precise.
How Long Does a Vertigo Attack Last?
That depends on the cause. If your attacks last a few minutes or less, you are more likely to be diagnosed with BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). Basically, it means that movements of the head are causing your vertigo. This happens when one of the crystals in the inner ear get out of the tube they belong in and therefore send incorrect signals to the brain about your location. Unfortunately, some doctors use positional vertigo as a catchall for any mystery cause of vertigo.
If your attacks are lasting 20 minutes or longer, you may be experiencing Meniere’s disease. While this condition is relatively rare, it is very recognizable. It presents with ringing in the ear, vertigo, hearing loss that comes and goes, and a feeling of pressure in the ear. Usually, the impact is one-sided, although the disease can progress to include both ears.
The rarest form of vertigo is perpetual and can last for days, weeks, months, or even longer. There have been situations where a person took a long boat or plane trip or rode an amusement park ride and the shaky feeling you get afterward just never goes away.
What Are Some of the More Common Vertigo Triggers?
While triggers are not the cause of the problem, they can make the next attack occur. Therefore, it is good to avoid triggers if at all possible. Some of the most common triggers of vertigo include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Bright or flashing lights
- Stress or anxiety
- Certain medications (never change your dosage or stop taking a prescription drug without consulting a physician, even if you feel the medicine is causing your vertigo)
How Are Head and Neck Injuries Related to Vertigo?
Vertigo is associated with diseases such as migraines, post-concussion syndrome, and various other neurological conditions. Head and neck injuries can cause the underlying conditions that lead to these health problems. One factor that may be involved is an upper cervical misalignment. This is because misalignments of the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) vertebrae can adversely affect the CNS as a whole along with the ears themselves. This occurs in three ways.
#1 Reduced Blood Flow
The cervical spine facilitates blood flow to the head through the vertebral foramen. However, if a misalignment throws off this safe passage for the arteries, then it can affect the central nervous system adversely. This may be responsible for things like migraines and other conditions that cause vertigo.
#2 Inhibited Brainstem Function
The atlas surrounds and protects the brainstem. However, if the position of the atlas shifts by the slightest amount, it can actually put pressure on the brainstem and decrease the functionality of this key CNS component. Once again, this may be behind many of the neurological conditions that can lead to vertigo.
#3 Vestibular System Impacts
The vestibular system includes the inner ear and the vestibular nerve, which sends signals from the ear to the brain regarding balance and spatial orientation. How can an upper cervical misalignment throw off this critical system of the body? The top bones of the neck balance the head. When a misalignment occurs, the surrounding soft tissue shifts to keep the head appropriately balanced. Unfortunately, these changes can inhibit the proper drainage of excess fluid in the ear. Several researchers have dedicated time to determining if this is the possible underlying cause of Meniere’s disease, which has eluded researchers for more than a century.
Is There a Natural Way to Find Vertigo Relief?
We wanted to end our vertigo FAQ with this question to introduce you to upper cervical chiropractic care. This specific form of chiropractic has performed well for vertigo patients in a number of case studies. It involves precise measurements of the C1 and C2, along with gentle adjustments tailored to each patient’s needs. Many find immediate benefits that grow even more significant over a period of months as the body is allowed the time it needs to heal.
If you find yourself living with chronic bouts of vertigo, why not give upper cervical specific chiropractic a try. You may discover the natural help for dealing with vertigo that you have been searching for.