Vertigo, Motion Sickness, and Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Vertigo Relief, Dizziness Relief, Dizzy, Meniere’s Disease Relief, Disequilibrium, Vertigo, Dizziness, Meniere’s , Meniere’s Disease, endolymphatic hydrops, hydrops, SEH, BPPV, fullness, swollen ear, painful ear

When most people think about vertigo, there are two mistaken conceptions. First, many confuse this condition with a fear of heights. But don’t let the movie Vertigo (a Hitchcock film about a man with a fear of heights) fool you. It has nothing to do with altitude. Second, many think that vertigo just means that the room seems to be spinning. True, that’s definitely a case of vertigo, but this condition involves more. What is it, and how can you find reliable help?

The Sixth Sense: How it Works

Now, before we deep dive into the intricacies of how spinning sensations work and how to find relief, let's take a closer look at the sixth sense. Seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting aren’t the only senses that you have. As studies explain, the human body has another sensory perception – the ability to detect movements and your body’s orientation (balance and proprioception). Like the other senses, your sixth sense aims to help you avoid injuries that might threaten your safety. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the main mechanisms of the sense of balance and proprioception. If you happen to be among them, you might want to check out our list of quick facts below:

  • Your ears don’t only function for hearing but also for detecting movements.
  • The inner ears have tiny organs needed to maintain balance, called semicircular canals and otolith organs.
  • Several organs work hand in hand to sense movements and maintain your balance. These include your inner ears, eyes, and the sensors on your muscles and joints.
  • Your brain, brainstem, and spinal cord also play a pivotal role in transmitting essential messages needed to help you understand your orientation with your physical surroundings

Now imagine what might happen if one or two components of your sixth sense malfunctions; say you have neck bone misalignments that occur after a severe blow to your head after a car collision. Naturally, when this happens, the signals sent from your organs of balance and proprioception to your brain get distorted. This causes you to detect confusing information like you’re moving even when you’re not.

Explaining Vertigo and Motion Sickness: Two Health Disorienting Health Problems

Picture this: you roll over in bed and suddenly the whole room feels like it's doing a cartwheel. That disorienting, spinning sensation is a classic sign of BPPV. And it's a sign that something's wrong with your sense of balance.

The same can be said for motion sickness. The only difference is that BPPV results from the displacement of calcium crystals inside the ears. When they end up in places they shouldn't be, they mess up the signals your inner ear sends to your brain, and boom – the world starts spinning even though you're standing still.

The weird thing about BPPV is that it's often triggered by simple head movements – tilting your head back, lying down, that kind of thing. Those episodes are usually short but intense.

Now, motion sickness is a different beast. That happens when your eyes and your inner ear are sending your brain conflicting messages. Say you're trying to read a book in a bumpy car – your eyes tell you everything is still, but your inner ear is screaming "We're moving!" This mixed signal makes you feel queasy and dizzy.

Here's the bottom line:

  • BPPV: It's like your inner ear's balance system is glitching out, making you feel dizzy even when you're not moving much.
  • Motion sickness: It's all about mismatched sensory information, often triggered by the kind of motion you find on boats, cars, or amusement park rides.

Sometimes BPPV can clear up on its own, but it's also known to come back. And yes, you can technically have both BPPV and motion sickness! If dizziness is really bothering you, it's always best to get a doctor's opinion so they can figure out the exact cause.

Remember: Vertigo Causes You to Detect or Experience False Movement

While you may feel dizzy during an episode, the hallmark of vertigo is the overwhelming feeling that your surroundings are spinning, even though they are not. In some cases, the false movement may be more of a rocking sensation, similar to when a person disembarks from a boat. A severe vertigo attack may be inescapable even while lying down. This unsettling sensation can lead to nausea and vomiting. It's important to note that vertigo can sometimes be an indication or symptom of other health conditions. 

In fact, the most common condition that causes vertigo onset is BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), which simply means that the position of your head is what triggers an attack. There are a few causes of vertigo that are more serious, such as cases when the individual has had symptoms of a heart attack. Seeking emergency medical attention is a must in these situations because vertigo can be a sign of heart disease. The most dangerous side-effect of a spinning sensation is the risk of a fall when onset is sudden and unpredictable.

It Becomes More Common as Age Increases

The likelihood of having a vertigo episode increases exponentially after the age of 40. It’s not surprising then that 1 in 3 seniors fall each year. One way to avoid the risk of falling is to stay away from activities that trigger an episode. For example, if a person has BPPV, bending over too quickly could cause a spinning sensation, overwhelming enough for the person to end up on the floor.

There are Natural Relief Options for It

Trying a natural solution for vertigo can be an excellent option if you are wary of prescription drug side effects or invasive surgeries. Especially because vertigo is not a life-threatening condition, a more conservative approach makes sense. Here are a few natural care options:

  • Sometimes vertigo is due to too much fluid in the ear. Simply adjusting your diet by decreasing sodium intake can influence the amount of fluid retention. This measure can be enough to decrease the number of vertigo attacks the person has. It is recommended to consult your doctor before starting a new diet.
  • Canalith repositioning are maneuvers a doctor can teach you to do that help temporarily correct vertigo cases when caused by movement of particles in the ear canals. These particles are responsible for detecting movement, but can cause problems with the equilibrium if they become displaced, resulting in symptoms such as spinning sensations.
  • Sometimes quick movements when standing up or bending over are enough to trigger vertigo, so it is a good idea to move slowly when making these transitions. When a condition is affecting blood pressure levels when rising from a lying down position, this can also cause spinning sensations.

How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Helps

If you just got back to dry land, your episode may last for a few minutes or a few hours, but you shouldn’t require any help to get things back to normal, and the false sensation of movement shouldn’t return. However, some people deal with various forms of vertigo on a chronic basis with no clear reason other than maybe a sudden movement of the head. If that’s the kind of issue you are dealing with, you may find Upper Cervical Care helpful and life-changing.

You might find it helpful to look back at your medical history. Were you in a car accident previously? Do you notice changes in your gait pattern? Does hip and legs feels unlevelled? If you say yes to any of these three questions, we strongly suggest considering Upper Cervical Care.

A 2006 study involving sixty patients with chronic vertigo might prove that upper cervical chiropractic care can help reduce or even eliminate spinning sensations. Fifty-six of the patients recall sustaining a head or neck injury before experiencing vertigo attacks.

The vertigo patients received upper cervical chiropractic care in the span of one to six months. Each of the patients responded positively to the adjustments. By the end of the sixth month, forty-eight of the patients were completely free from spinning sensations. The remaining twelve also reported significant improvement in their symptoms.

When hearing the word “chiropractic,” people tend to think about popping or cracking bones. This is not the case for upper cervical chiropractic care. Upper Cervical Chiropractors know how delicate the uppermost bones in the neck are. So, they use incredibly gentle techniques to guide these bones back into place.

Since the adjustments are gentle and precise, your body can heal more sustainably and recover better. If you still have questions, who else can better explain its benefits than an upper cervical chiropractic doctor? Reach out to the nearest Upper Cervical Chiropractor in your area today!

FAQs: Vertigo, Motion Sickness and Upper Cervical Care

How can previous head or neck injuries trigger vertigo?

Vertigo onset often follows some type of head or neck trauma. Whiplash, for instance, from a car accident or a sports injury, or even something as simple as a slip and fall can result in spinning sensations. Why? When vertigo occurs after an event like these and is chronic, it could be an indicator that the upper cervical spine has shifted out of alignment.

When the C1 (atlas) moves out of place, it impacts the vestibular system (how the body balances itself) in a few ways:

  • Blood flow to the brain may be restricted
  • The vestibular nerve may be affected
  • The eustachian tubes may form a lesion that restricts fluid drainage
  • Brainstem function may be inhibited

All of these factors can lead to symptoms such as vertigo, migraines, and other issues. So it is no surprise that in a study of 139 Meniere’s disease patients, 136 had substantial improvement in the frequency and severity of their vertigo episodes after a gentle upper cervical adjustment.

I get motion sickness easily. Could that be related to vertigo?

While both involve dizziness and nausea, they have different causes. Motion sickness happens when your eyes and inner ear send your brain mixed signals about movement, like when you're on a boat or in a car. Vertigo is often caused by a problem within the inner ear itself.

Is Upper Cervical Care a guaranteed cure for vertigo or motion sickness?

Unfortunately, no treatment is a guaranteed cure for everyone. The effectiveness of Upper Cervical Care depends on the specific cause of your symptoms and how well you can maintain the adjustments applied to the upper cervical spine. It's best to consult with an upper cervical specialist to see if it's a good option for you and to set your expectations about how it works and what benefits you can potentially enjoy.

If you would like hear more about the benefits of upper cervical chiropractic care, especially if you have any history of head or neck injury, contact a practitioner near you and schedule a consultation.

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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.