There are a bunch of conditions that can cause vertigo by affecting either the ear or the central nervous system. It is no wonder then that vertigo is one of the most common symptoms a person can experience. In fact, as much as 40% of the population over age 40 will experience it. And the likelihood only goes up as you get older.
However, don’t let the fact that increasing age leads to increased risk of vertigo confuse you into thinking that it is a symptom of aging. That can lead a person to stop looking for help, assuming that you just have to accept this health problem as a part of life. Instead, we want to help you find a natural way to get relief for your vertigo. But first, we have to discuss what causes vertigo. This will help us to understand where to look for natural care.
What Causes Vertigo… in the Ears?
Peripheral vertigo diseases are a category of conditions that affect the ear. Since the ear is responsible for a significant degree of the body’s balance and spatial orientation, a problem here can lead to spinning sensation. So what are some of the primary causes of peripheral vertigo?
This is the common name given to benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). It involves brief bouts of vertigo that flare up when head position is suddenly changed. This is the most common form of vertigo, and it is usually considered harmless. However, try telling that to someone who has fallen as a result of a sudden bout of vertigo, and you will have trouble convincing him or her that this is not a dangerous condition.
The number of people believed to have Meniere’s disease in the US is approximately 615,000. However, this figure is several years old and likely an underestimate. After all, estimates state that 60,000-100,000 people receive a diagnosis of Meniere’s every year. So that figure could easily double in a decade. Meniere’s involves severe bouts of vertigo that last anywhere from 20 minutes up to 24 hours. Other symptoms include hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear (which is sometimes both ears).
Vestibular neuronitis and labyrinthitis
These two conditions are different, but they have the same cause and resolution. A virus, such as a head cold or flu, leads to inflammation. This inflammation causes vertigo. The vertigo resolves within a couple of weeks after the virus is gone and the swelling has a chance to go away. The difference is that vestibular neuronitis involves inflammation of the vestibular nerve, while labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the labyrinth (inner ear).
The side effects of certain medications can cause peripheral vertigo. It is also typical following head or neck injuries, sometimes emerging as a symptom months or even years after the injury, which may cause a physician to ignore the connection.
What Causes Vertigo… in the Nervous System?
The other category of vertigo conditions is related to the central nervous system (CNS). The following are some of the causes of central vertigo:
- Migraines – This is actually a much more common vertigo cause than it gets credit for. Thirty-nine million Americans get migraines. Estimates are that somewhere between 30-40% of those patients have vertigo as a symptom. Remember that you don’t have to get headaches to experience a migraine. Other common symptoms include aura, nausea, sensory sensitivities, and neck pain.
- Seizures – Seizures may occur along with migraines, in which case migraines are the more likely cause of vertigo. However, there is a rare condition called epileptic vertigo that results from temporal lobe damage.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) – MS occurs when the body attacks its nerves and damages the myelin sheath, resulting in scar tissue. This damage can lead to many different symptoms, including vertigo.
Other causes of central vertigo can include stroke, vascular disease, tumors, and medication side effects. While some of these are emergencies, most causes of vertigo are considered non-deadly. So does that mean you should stop looking for effective care? Certainly not! Let’s address one more underlying cause of vertigo.
What Causes Vertigo – The Upper Cervical Answer
Many of the health conditions and symptoms linked to vertigo can all go back to the same thing – an upper cervical misalignment. How can this be? Consider the effects of a subluxation in the top two bones of the neck.
- Blood flow – The neck facilitates blood flow to the brain. Misalignments can affect blood flow and lead to issues like vertigo and specific causes of central vertigo like migraines.
- Ear function – The atlas (C1) is located directly between the ears with just soft tissue in between. Therefore, when a misalignment causes changes to the soft tissue, this can lead to inhibited ear function. It can even cause a lesion to form on the eustachian tubes that can affect excess fluid drainage and cause conditions like Meniere’s disease.
- Brainstem function – The communication between the spinal cord and the brain has to go through the brainstem. The atlas surrounds the brainstem, so even a slight subluxation can put pressure on this crucial component of the CNS, thereby resulting in various nervous system issues.
If you are suffering from vertigo, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, this could be the underlying problem your doctor has missed. To learn more, contact an upper cervical practitioner in your area. An examination may reveal a misalignment that can be safely and gentle corrected to provide long-term relief.