Why is My Body Leaning to One Side?

Woman feeling body leaning to one side

Are you experiencing a feeling of your body leaning to one side? Have you been asking the question why do I feel like I'm leaning to one side? Or the feeling of being pushed when walking? Or the feeling of being pulled down by gravity? What is the same like you are listing to the left or right? These types of feelings are frequently associated with different types of disequilibrium including dizziness, vertigo and other similar conditions.

If you have ridden a merry-go-round before, you likely have an idea of what vertigo is like. It is the false sensation that the world is spinning around you—and you are tilting, swaying, or something is pulling you to one side.

If you feel like you’re getting symptoms of leaning to the left or you feel dizzy leaning to one side, do not ever ignore this type of disequilibrium symptom.

Learn more about the common causes of vertigo, dizziness and disequilibrium and how you can achieve vertigo relief by getting to the underlying cause in this blog.

Dizziness and Feeling of Body Pulling to One Side

The feeling of being pulled to one side can be a symptom of various conditions, including cervical vertigo, which is related to neck issues. Cervical vertigo can cause dizziness, neck pain, vision issues, nausea, and lack of coordination which can lead to the feeling of your body pulling to one side.

If you have a history of head or neck injuries such as car crashes, slip and fall injuries, sports injuries, concussions, whiplash, history of being knocked unconscious or other injuries to her head or neck is more likely that you are experiencing cervical vertigo. We will discuss cervical vertigo more later in this article and give you the best approach to address the underlying cause to stop your body leaning to one side.

What Causes Vertigo and Leaning to One Side?

There are a variety of conditions that can lead to vertigo that may or may not have the symptom of the feeling of your upper body leaning to one side. Your inner ear is filled with small organs, a nerve, and fluid. These inner structures keep you upright and balanced. So, when a malfunction happens on any of the parts of your inner ear or the nerves that control your vestibular system, you will be more prone to suffering from a vertigo, dizziness or disequilibrium attacks. This can lead to why your body feels like it's leaning to one side.

Attaining vertigo, dizziness or disequilibrium relief can only be possible once you have a clear idea of what is causing your vertigo. So, let us dive deeper into the most common causes of vertigo leaning to one side. 

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Those with BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo deal with vertigo attacks that stem from dislodged calcium stones in the inner ear. A simple and rapid head movement can make the calcium crystals move with the force of gravity. This sends the brain with a false signal that you are spinning even when you are not. You may feel this sensation of your body calling to one side when walking, when bending, turning your head in bed, or looking up.

The most common way to address this vertigo condition is the Epley Maneuver performed by many physical therapists. The Epley maneuver is a series of head movements used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). The maneuver aims to reposition these crystals back into their proper place, relieving the symptoms of vertigo. You can attempt to do a home Epley Maneuver by following the steps here.

If you have previously tried the Epley Maneuver either at home or with a physical therapist and you still feel your body pulling to one side when walking keep reading.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that causes a triad of symptoms. Its signs include vertigo attacks, partial to permanent hearing loss, and tinnitus or ringing of the ears. In addition, people with this condition may experience mild to severe vertigo attacks that may last from a few minutes to hours. Aside from vertigo attacks, Meniere’s disease can also cause other balance problems such as dizziness and lightheadedness. Some people with Ménière's wonder why is my body pulling to one side and this leads them to investigate this condition.

Ménière's Disease is frequently associated with cervical vertigo related to injuries to the head and neck. Specialists within the chiropractic profession known as upper cervical chiropractors have been able to get tremendous results with people who are suffering from Ménière's Disease.

There is substantial evidence that upper cervical chiropractic care can be an effective treatment for alleviating the symptoms of Ménière's Disease:

Upper cervical chiropractic care has been shown to significantly improve the symptoms of Ménière's disease, including vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss. Studies have found that correcting misalignments in the upper cervical spine, particularly the atlas vertebra, can help restore proper nervous system function and fluid dynamics in the ear, which are believed to be contributing factors to Ménière's disease.

One study involving 300 patients with Ménière's disease found that 98% of participants reported an improved quality of life and reduced symptoms after receiving upper cervical chiropractic adjustments. Another case study described a 63-year-old woman with a 10-year history of Ménière's disease who experienced a reduction in her vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss after just a few sessions of upper cervical chiropractic care.

The research suggests that the connection between upper cervical misalignments and Ménière's disease symptoms is well-established, with many patients finding significant relief through this non-invasive, natural treatment approach. Upper cervical chiropractic care appears to be a promising alternative to conventional treatments for Ménière's disease, which often involve risky medications or surgery.

Low Oxygen Level

Vertigo is also a sign that you may not be getting enough oxygen in your body. This is because a depletion in your oxygen level can affect your body’s ability to function well. So, if you are someone with any type of lung disease, you will be at a greater risk of experiencing a feeling of being pulled to one side and other balance problems. 

Panic Attacks

What I feel like gravity is pulling me down? This is a question that some people who are experiencing a panic attack and feel. Most people experiencing panic attacks may hyperventilate. Rapid, unnatural, and deep breathing can leave you feeling breathless. In addition, hyperventilation can deprive your brain of oxygen, causing vertigo, dizziness, and other balance problems.

Dizzy woman feeling body leaning to one side

Poor Blood Circulation 

Poor circulation can decrease blood flow to the brain and the inner ear. When your inner ear and brain do not receive enough blood, vertigo may occur. In addition, a blood clot in the brain can lead to stroke, which is also characterized by symptoms of vertigo attacks, difficulty walking and talking, and severe headaches. 

If you are having severe headaches and a feeling of your body leaning to one side go to the emergency room or call 911.

Diabetes Complications  

Vertigo can come from various health conditions, one of which is diabetes. A complication from diabetes or hypoglycemia can lead to a decrease in blood sugar levels in the body. This may lead to symptoms of vertigo, dizziness or disequilibrium attacks and other balance problems.

In addition, low blood sugar can cause an imbalance of chemicals in the fluid within your inner ear. The fluid in the inner ear is made up of specific components which allow the cochlea to work correctly. So, when your inner ear’s fluid changes in composition due to lower blood pressure, it may affect the way your inner ear controls your balance.

If you are having diabetes and vertigo make sure you discuss this with your physician that is managing your diabetes.

Autoimmune Ear Disease

Otherwise known as AIED, the autoimmune inner ear disorder also affects a small percent of the American population. It can trigger a long list of health issues, including trouble keeping your balance, neck pain, ear congestion, vertigo, and tinnitus. This underlying health issue happens when your body begins attacking the cells of your inner ear as they mistake them as bacteria, viruses, or other types of pathogens.  

Mal de Debarquement

Mal de Debarquement or MDD literally translates to “sickness of disembarkment”. The National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) lists it as one of the rarest and most poorly understood vestibular system disorders. It commonly occurs in professional seafarers but can also affect individuals who frequently travel by plane, train, and automobile. People who use waterbeds also report symptoms of MDD. 

Studies explain that MDD tends to cause central vertigo or a type of vertigo that happens because of a central nervous problem. Additionally, studies show that it develops among healthy individuals after an extended period of passive motion, such as when traveling by sea. It causes a patient to experience a swaying, rocking or bobbing sensation that worsens while lying down or standing still.

CANVAS Syndrome

CANVAS is an acronym for Cerebral Ataxia, Neuropathy, and Vestibular Areflexia Syndrome. The combination of three conditions in this syndrome causes patients to lose control of their balance. Some patients diagnosed with such a disorder also report poor body coordination, dysarthria (slurred speech), chronic coughing, neck pain, and oscillopsia (blurry vision). Like Mal de Debarquement, CANVAS is also quite rarely diagnosed. In fact, it only has a prevalence ratio of 26 out of 100,000 patients

Post-Concussion Syndrome 

Athletes who participate in contact sports and people who suffered from a car collision can suffer from post-concussion syndrome. It’s a common complication of a concussion, with a 50 percent prevalence rate among people who suffered from a minor neck or head trauma.

According to research, a head or neck injury can cause the upper cervical bones to misalign. This, in effect, puts stress on the spinal cord and brainstem, disrupting the flow of communication signals between your body and the rest of the central nervous system. If you have post-concussion syndrome, you will likely experience persistent symptoms like fatigue, headaches, vertigo episodes, anxiety, neck pain, and ringing inside the ears.

Vestibular Migraine

Besides BPPV, studies point to vestibular migraine as one of the most common causes of recurring vertigo attacks. As the name suggests, it’s a specific type of migraine that affects the vestibular organ, an organ in charge of perceiving motion and balance. Besides causing you to experience vertigo episodes, vestibular migraines can also trigger impaired hearing function and sensory sensitivity. 

Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction

The vestibular organ and the eighth cranial nerves play a pivotal role in sensing the head’s balance or orientation. Unfortunately, if you have bilateral vestibular hypofunction, either one or two of these body parts suffer from malfunction.

It is a rare condition that usually doesn’t get a proper diagnosis. The latest numbers reveal that it occurs in about 28 to 81 in 100,000 adults in the US. Besides causing vertigo attacks, this condition can cause other symptoms like oscillopsia, feeling off-balanced, cognitive impairment, neck pain, depression, and anxiety. 

Cervical Vertigo

If you have experienced a previous accident that has caused trauma to your neck and head it's possible that your feeling of being pulled to one side is a result of cervical vertigo. Accidents and injuries to the head and neck can cause a tearing loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place which allows the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position. Once the upper neck is misaligned it can cause a cascade of events leading to a variety of health issues including vertigo or the feeling of being pulled to one side.

An upper cervical misalignments a.k.a. upper neck misalignment can put tension and pressure on the spinal cord and brainstem leading to a variety of symptoms including cervical vertigo. Upper Cervical misalignments can also distort the information that is being sent to your brain. These can significantly disturb your sense of balance and is connected to the feeling of your body leaning to one side.

Graphic of body balance and body imbalance for body leaning to one side

Factors that Put You at Risk for Vertigo Leaning to One Side

Anyone can experience vertigo, dizziness or disequilibrium, but certain risk factors might increase your chances of having the symptoms of dizziness and feeling of being pulled to one side. These factors include:

  • Suffering from a head or neck injury
  • Constantly experiencing an intense level of stress
  • Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol
  • Taking certain types of drugs, especially antipsychotics
  • Chronic health conditions including diabetes heart disease and other conditions

Grab the Chance to Attain Vertigo Relief By Following These 8 Tips

Are you ready to break free from vertigo without relying too on medications? We’re going to show you 8 ways to shake of the shackles of vertigo naturally.

#1 Don’t Bend at the Waist

For many people with the feeling of being pulled to one side are experiencing a type of positional vertigo, limiting bending over can help stop many vertigo episodes and may even help to prevent falls. When head position is a factor in the onset of vertigo, leaning forward can be a trigger. Bending at the knees and reaching down without tilting your head forward may keep the ground from coming up to meet you.  This is something that many positional vertigo patients have experienced when bending over.

#2 Mind Your Posture

Posture is something all of us can improve, but for those with vertigo, it is a must. A forward head position increases pressure on the spine, particularly the neck, and can lead to more frequent or severe cases of vertigo if the underlying issue is in the cervical spine (as is the case for many people).

#3 Kick the Smoking Habit

If you are not a smoker, good for you. But if you have this habit, it is time to quit. You probably already realize that smoking is bad for all sorts of health conditions, but it is particularly bad if you get vertigo often.

#4 The Epley Maneuver

This canalith repositioning technique can be particularly beneficial if you suffer from BPPV. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is frequently related to displaced crystals in the inner ear canals that help with balance and spatial orientation. If a crystal gets out of its proper canal, false sensations of movement can result. The Epley maneuver is one of several techniques developed to get the crystal back into the right part of the inner ear through a series of head movements. You may need a healthcare professional to help you through the maneuvers the first time.

#5 Exercise

Exercise plays a two-fold role in reducing the frequency and severity of vertigo, regardless of the root cause. First of all, the right exercises can strengthen the spine and help you to maintain better posture. Second, exercise can be a great stress reducer (especially if you usually deal with stress with something that is bad for vertigo, such as reaching for a cigarette). Since stress is a major trigger for episodes of vertigo, the stress-reducing hormones released during a good workout can be an important way to combat this symptom.

#6 Reduce Salt Intake

This is another natural remedy related to a particular underlying cause of vertigo. If you are suffering from Meniere’s disease, a vestibular condition that results in vertigo and many other symptoms, then you may be experiencing excess fluid in the inner ear (called endolymphatic hydrops). Reducing salt intake can limit the fluids that the body retains and may thus limit the amount of fluid in the inner ear. Just be sure to increase your water intake so you don’t become dehydrated (which leads to our next suggestion).

#7 Drink More Water

Vertigo can often be a symptom of a lack of proper hydration, so get enough fluids daily. The average person should drink after body weight in ounces of water daily. If you think you meet that requirement, a good way to test yourself is to get an app that tracks your water intake. You may be surprised to learn that you are not drinking as much water as you thought. This can be one of the simplest ways to break free from vertigo.

#8 Seek Upper Cervical Care

You’ve probably noticed that we have referred to the neck several times already throughout our article. How may an Upper Cervical subluxation be linked to vertigo occurrence? Here are three ways:

  • Eustachian tube function – The eustachian tubes carry excessive amounts of fluid away from the inner ear. If these tubes are stopped up due to a lesion, the fluid may pool in the inner ear and cause vertigo. An atlas misalignment can gradually result in this issue according to a recent study.
  • Brainstem function – The atlas (C1 vertebra) surrounds the brainstem. While it normally serves as a protection, a misalignment can actually put pressure on the brainstem and inhibit proper function. Since signals passed between the body and brain go through the brainstem, this can affect things such as balance and spatial orientation.
  • Blood flow facilitation – Since the cervical vertebrae facilitate blood flow to the brain, any misalignment in the neck can inhibit how much blood (and therefore oxygen) is reaching the brain. Once again, this can affect how the central nervous system interprets signals about the body’s position in regard to the world around it.

With these factors in mind, it is clear to see the importance of having a properly aligned atlas. Upper Cervical Chiropractors specialize in providing safe and gentle adjustments of the atlas. These adjustments can help reverse the misalignment's effects, as adjustments are long-lasting, giving the body the time it needs to heal.

Schedule a Consultation with an Upper Cervical Chiropractor Near You

If you are suffering from chronic vertigo, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, give an upper cervical practice in your area a call to schedule a consultation. You may have just discovered the natural way to break free from vertigo for good!  

Upper cervical chiropractic care can provide natural vertigo relief to patients. This procedure works by correcting any imbalance between your head and neck, restoring the proper function of your nervous system. In addition, this also restores the proper flow of fluid in your ear. All of which are vital in relieving vertigo naturally.

To see whether your body is leaning to one side when walking issues or vertigo episodes stem from upper cervical misalignment, visit the nearest Upper Cervical Chiropractor in your area. You may browse our directory to schedule an online appointment with your chosen upper cervical chiropractor.

For more information, read this blog: What Is Vertigo And Can A Chiropractor Help With Vertigo?

Frequently Asked Questions: Body Leaning to One Side

Why Do I Feel Like I'm Leaning To One Side?

Leaning to the left could be due to various reasons, including inner ear issues, muscle imbalances, neurological conditions, or even poor posture. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Why Do I Feel Off-Balance but Not Dizzy?

Sensations of listing to the left when walking may result from inner ear disturbances, vestibular issues, or neurological conditions. It's essential to seek medical advice to identify the specific cause and receive proper evaluation and management.

Why Am I Dizzy and My Body Pulling to the Right Side When Walking?

Dizziness and leaning to one side can be associated with conditions like vertigo, inner ear disorders, or neurological issues. Seeking medical attention is crucial to diagnose the root cause and determine the most effective treatment for your symptoms.

 What Does Vertigo Feel Like?

 Vertigo is a sensation of spinning or a feeling that the environment is spinning around you. It can be accompanied by dizziness, imbalance, nausea, and in severe cases, vomiting. Inner ear issues, neurological problems, or certain medications can contribute to vertigo. If you experience these symptoms, it's advisable to consult with an upper cervical specialist for a proper diagnosis and care plan.

Here is an example of just one of the thousands of cases of people finding relief for vertigo, dizziness, and disequilibrium through Upper Cervical Care.

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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.