Vertigo is one of the most common symptoms a person can experience, and yet there is a lot that people are unaware of when it comes to this false sensation of movement. If you or a loved one is battling vertigo, here are some of the things you need to know.
The Ears Play a Major Role in Balance and Spatial Orientation
The vestibular system is one of the main contributors when the brain is collecting information about balance. There are tiny crystals floating in the fluid inside the inner ear canals that help your body to determine where it is in relation to the ground and the rest of the world around it. The vestibular nerve, or eighth cranial nerve, brings that information to the brain so it can be processed. Anything that affects this vestibular system can lead to vertigo.
Some Vertigo Causes Are in the Central Nervous System
The ears play a very important role, but all of the data from the ears and the rest of the body still has to be processed in the brain. Therefore, anything that affects central nervous system function can also play a role in the onset of vertigo. Factors include brainstem function, blood flow to the brain, intracranial pressure, and more. If the brain is misinterpreting the data that is being sent to it by the rest of the body, you can end up with the room spinning around you. Migraines are the most common neurological condition that causes vertigo.
Don’t Tell Your Doctor You Are Dizzy
People use the word dizzy as a catch-all. As a result, it doesn’t mean much to your doctor. If you just say you’ve had dizzy spells, a doctor may figure out that you mean vertigo, but he or she could also think that you are getting lightheaded, are experiencing disequilibrium, or are having any number of other balance problems. If you are experiencing a false sensation of movement, whether it manifests as a spinning, swaying, or tilting sensation, use the term vertigo so your doctor understands exactly what is happening to you.
Sometimes Vertigo Goes Away on Its Own
This is usually the case when it comes to self-induced vertigo. For example, have you ever felt like you were still moving and twisting for a time after getting off of a rollercoaster? Maybe you still felt the world swaying when you go back to dry land after a long boat trip. Or have you ever played a game like Pin the Tail on the Donkey and spun until everything was still spinning when you stopped? These self-imposed bouts of vertigo usually end within a few minutes. If they continue on for hours or even days, it’s time to see a doctor because something is obviously wrong in the body that is keeping you from a normal recovery.
Most Cases of Vertigo Are Considered Idiopathic
One thing that many people do not realize is that there is no such thing as vertigo disease. Vertigo is a symptom of many different diseases (which explains why it is so common), but you always have an underlying reason for vertigo. Don’t let a doctor tell you that vertigo is just a part of getting older. The word idiopathic means that the underlying cause is not known. It does not mean that there is no underlying cause. Don’t give up on trying to find relief from vertigo. About half of vertigo patients never discover the underlying issue, but that doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to having vertigo for the rest of your life.
Your Problem May Be an Atlas Misalignment
The atlas (or C1 vertebra) is the top bone in the neck, located right at the base of the skull. Since the cervical vertebrae help facilitate blood flow to the head, a misalignment of the atlas can affect this proper flow. It can also affect the brainstem since the atlas surrounds and protects this vital component of the central nervous systems. Upright MRIs have revealed that an atlas misalignment can even affect how cerebrospinal fluid drains, thereby leading to pooling and intracranial pressure. Remember that these are all factors that can result in vertigo by causing underlying conditions like migraines.
But what if your vertigo is related to your ears? An atlas misalignment can also affect the proper function of the inner ear. As changes take place to balance the head, the Eustachian tubes can be affected. If they fail to function properly, your ears may not be draining right. This can lead to vertigo, hearing problems, tinnitus, and more. Therefore, the atlas is a good place to check for issues when a person is dealing with recurring vertigo, even if the underlying cause is unknown.
Natural Relief from Vertigo Is Possible
Hundreds of patients in case studies have found vertigo relief thanks to upper cervical chiropractic care. This chiropractic subspecialty focuses on precise and gentle adjustments of the atlas that can relieve many of the underlying problems caused by such a subluxation. In one case study involving 60 patients, 48 were completely vertigo-free after atlas misalignments were corrected. The other 12 patients also received significant benefits.
If you are suffering from persistent vertigo problems, it makes sense to give upper cervical chiropractic care a try. To learn more, contact a practitioner in your area and schedule a no-obligation consultation today.