Vertigo: Is It a Brain or Spine Issue?


Vertigo is the feeling of false movement. People who suffer from vertigo attacks feel like they are moving around or that their surroundings are spinning around them. However, not everybody who experiences a dizzy spell has a vertigo attack. Also, other symptoms go with a vertigo episode. They are the following:

  • Changes in hearing
  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea 
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting

Vertigo can be an incapacitating experience. People with this condition complain about a regular disruption in their daily activities. Moreover, vertigo episodes can often be a hindrance in your ability to drive a car, care for your family, or do your job. Do you want to understand how to prepare for your vertigo attacks and discover how to have the best self-care? The key is to know how the body maintains its equilibrium or sense of balance.

How Does the Body Keep Equilibrium or Maintain Its Balance? 

The human body has a complex structure that controls how it positions and maintains its center of mass on top of its support. This function is the job of the vestibular system. However, some people ignore the ability to balance correctly. We only begin to appreciate this skill when we are walking on unsteady ground, or we must change our positions quickly.

A sudden vertigo attack can disturb the vestibular system. As an effect, it causes unsteadiness, difficulty with memory and concentration, and vision problems as well. The body's capability to keep its balance relies heavily on the signals received by the brain from these three primary sources:

  • The Vestibular System 

This system built from components of your inner ear oversees maintaining the body's equilibrium, motion, and spatial awareness.

  • Sight

The vision gives the brain signals about how the body positions with its environment.

  • Proprioception

Proprioception is the information the brain receives from the sense of touch. The skin, joints, and muscles contain sensors that are sensitive to stretching and pressure. When you are walking, the sensors on the bottom of your feet inform the brain where your legs currently position to maintain balance.

All the information that travels to the brain heavily relies on clear nerve pathways to deliver accurate information. If the signals ever become confused somewhere along with the transmission, then the brain will suffer from confusion just the same. As a result, this will cause a loss of balance or even vertigo. 

The Brainstem and Vertigo

There is one crucial component to your body's balance system that is fundamental to keeping it running smoothly. That essential job belongs to the brainstem. It is a critical part of the body's central nervous system.

The brainstem is responsible for processing and analyzing all the information gained from your eyesight, your vestibular system, and your proprioception. The brainstem can generate all the appropriate responses to maintain your body’s balance.

Your brainstem is so essential to the body's ability to function that a bone tissue surrounds and protects it. Two unique vertebrae, the atlas (C1) and axis (C2), protect the brainstem. These two bones make up your upper cervical spine. These vertebrae have one of a kind shape and function as they hold your head upright and give your head a remarkable range of movement.

Vertigo Care Alternatives

Like any health issue, the available care options will be dependent on your health history, symptoms, and results from thorough examinations. There are ways to relieve your vertigo depending on its specific cause. Here are some of the three most common choices:

  • Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers

If BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) is the cause of your vertigo, then specific physical maneuvers can help with it. This maneuver is an attempt to relocate displaced calcium crystals back to their correct place within the inner ear.

  • Dietary changes

People with Meniere's disease have an overloaded buildup of fluid within their inner ear. Doctors recommend a low-sodium diet in hopes of decreasing the overall fluid retention. This method aims to gain a positive effect on the inner ear.

  • Medications

Doctors will often give prescription medication for people who suffer from vertigo. These medications include nerve suppressants such as antihistamines, diazepam, and anti-nausea drugs to mitigate various symptoms. However, these medications may also have dangerous possible side effects.

How to Get Lasting Vertigo Relief 

Not everyone agrees with the idea of long-term medication to deal with vertigo symptoms and gain temporary relief but has possible side effects in the equation. Most people who suffer from vertigo are continually searching for more natural and longer-lasting relief. Many of them found upper cervical chiropractic care an excellent approach to receive those.

Upper cervical care addresses the underlying root of vertigo. It focuses on addressing misalignments of the upper cervical spine, specifically the uppermost vertebra, the atlas. Why is the atlas bone so important? Under normal circumstances, the atlas (C1) is responsible for protecting the brainstem. Above all, almost all the signals from the brain and other parts of the body pass through the brainstem.

However, if there is a misalignment in the upper cervical spine, then instead of protecting the brainstem, it prevents it from functioning well. Therefore, proper communication between the brain and body suffers.

Another thing, the atlas vertebra sits very near the structures of the inner ear. If the atlas misaligns, it will disrupt the Eustachian tube causing it to prevent normal fluid drainage. This is another factor why vertigo-causing disorders develop.

Many patients in case studies have already experienced vertigo relief from upper cervical chiropractic care. Isn’t it time for you to be free from vertigo as well? Therefore, use the search function below to browse for the nearest upper cervical chiropractor in your area.


Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation 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.