Vestibular Neuronitis: Vertigo-Causing Disorder to Know


Vestibular neuronitis or vestibular neuritis is an inner ear disorder that triggers sudden and severe vertigo and other balance problems. It is a condition that severely affects the vestibulocochlear nerve (the nerve of the inner ear). This nerve is responsible for detecting our head position at all times by sending balance signals and information from the inner ear to the brain. Therefore, if this nerve becomes inflamed or swollen, it disrupts the way the brain’s ability to interpret the signals accurately.

Vestibular neuritis can happen to people of all ages, but it seldom happens to young children. As this condition is not inflammatory, neurologists often refer to vestibular neuronitis as vestibular neuropathy. To sum up, vestibular neuronitis is a severe dysfunction of the peripheral vestibular system, causing secondary vertigo, nausea, and vomiting.

Symptoms of Vestibular Neuronitis

The symptoms can be constant but tend to get worse if a person moves his or her head.

  • Sudden and severe vertigo (spinning and swaying sensation)
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulties maintaining balance
  • Concentration difficulties

Generally, the most severe symptoms, including severe vertigo and dizziness, will only last a couple of days. However, while vertigo attacks are happening, it is challenging for the patient to perform everyday routines. After the severe symptoms lessen, most patients usually make a slow but full recovery over the next several weeks (approximately three weeks). However, some patients can also experience balance problems and dizziness that can last for a few months.  

Vestibular Neuritis vs. Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis are intimately related disorders. Vestibular neuritis involves swelling of a branch of the vestibulocochlear nerve (the vestibular portion) that manages balance. These two conditions are very connected, but there are slight differences.

The symptoms of labyrinthitis are similar to vestibular neuritis but with the added symptoms of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and possibly also hearing loss. Labyrinthitis, on the other hand, refers to inflammation of both the labyrinth, which manages information about your hearing. It also means that labyrinthitis causes hearing problems, including ringing in the ears, trouble hearing, and vertigo. 

Vestibular neuronitis, is generally distinguishable from labyrinthitis, because of its preserved auditory function. It relates to inflammation of the vestibular nerve only. 

What Causes Vestibular Neuritis?

Most vestibular neuritis cases stem from a viral infection, either in your inner ear or other parts of your body. For example, these common viral infections: 

  • Measles
  • Flu
  • Rubella
  • Cold sores
  • Mumps
  • Polio
  • Mononucleosis
  • Shingles

Vestibular neuritis can be chronic or acute. If it is acute, the symptoms could appear without warning, sometimes when a person wakes up from sleep. Symptoms of acute vestibular neuritis typically will last for several days. For all the other warning signs, it may take weeks or months to resolve completely.

However, if it results from a viral infection, then the vestibular nerve is at risk of damage. It can often result in chronic dizziness.

Dealing with Vestibular Neuritis

Here are some diet tips and other strategies to help relieve vestibular neuritis. These can help minimize or alleviate your symptoms of vestibular neuritis:

  • Avoid alcohol
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid specific food and drink that include high levels of sugar or salt
  • Get enough rest
  • Remain hydrated regularly

When an individual is suffering from nausea and vomiting, avoid solid foods and suck on ice chips to remain hydrated. When the symptoms begin to become more manageable, it may be time to try clear fluids. These include the following:

  • Water
  • Coconut water
  • Sports drinks
  • Clear broths (chicken, beef)
  • Flat ginger ale
  • Gelatin-based desserts
  • Peppermint tea

What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care?

Have you heard of upper cervical chiropractic care? This particular subcategory of chiropractic has served numerous patients obtain natural and long-term vertigo relief. This statement is not a claim. It's just plain fact.

Upper cervical chiropractic care applies modern diagnostic technology to detect even the slightest of misalignments in the upper cervical spine. Even a slight shift in position can cause severe health problems. Upper cervical chiropractors can adjust these misalignments by administering a low-force correction to the neck. They encourage proper alignment naturally, which allows the body to heal from any injuries that occurred during the subluxation.

Here is proof. There was a case study. It had 60 vertigo patients, and 20% had a considerable reduction in their vertigo symptoms after upper cervical chiropractic care. The other 80% in the case study patients witnessed their vertigo go away entirely! Moreover, one significant thing was found common to most of the patients. Fifty-six of the sixty vertigo patients had endured whiplash or another form of head or neck trauma or injury in their past.

Lasting Vertigo Relief Through Proper Spinal Alignment

Chronic vertigo often happens as a result of an injury or trauma to the head or neck. Misalignment occurs when the atlas (C1) or axis (C2) vertebrae of the upper cervical spine move out of alignment. This misalignment disrupts the vestibular system from working correctly. It affects the proper communication between the brain and body. Thus, a misalignment in this area of the body distorts your balance. This imbalance issue can initiate many other health-related problems, including the symptoms of vestibular neuritis.

Look for an upper cervical chiropractor nearest you via our website’s search function. This is your chance to bring balance to your health and wellness. Most importantly, get rid of your vertigo symptoms for good.  

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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.