Do you often feel like the room is spinning, even if you lay down and close your eyes? Severe bouts of vertigo can cause all sorts of issues from nausea and vomiting to serious falls and injuries. For many people who suffer from vertigo, the issue is actually in the central nervous system. For example, as much as 40% of the 39 million migraine sufferers in the US get vertigo as one of their symptoms.
Let’s discuss what can cause vertigo, particularly cases of vertigo that are based in the central nervous system, and then we will consider a natural therapy that can help you to break free from the spinning, nausea, and balance problems.
Vestibular Migraines and Other Causes of Central Vertigo
Central vertigo occurs when the underlying cause has to do with the central nervous system rather than the ear. There are a number of neurological conditions that can lead to vertigo including multiple sclerosis (MS) and stroke. However, by far the most common cause of central vertigo is migraines. Millions of people suffer from migraines that cause vertigo, dizziness, and other balance issues.
What is the connection between vertigo and migraines? For one thing, both can be related to misalignments of the upper cervical spine. How so? Consider some of the effects that an upper cervical misalignment can have on the central nervous system.
Effects of an Upper Cervical Misalignment
- Intracranial pressure – When the top bones in the neck are not in proper alignment, cerebrospinal fluid may fail to drain properly. This can lead to pooling in the head, thereby increasing intracranial pressure. This pressure, in turn, can cause migraines and vertigo.
- Inhibited blood flow – The bones of the neck contain tiny loops of bone that provide safe passage for the arteries that bring blood to the brain. When the bones of the neck become misaligned, this can affect proper blood flow, and certain parts of the brain may not receive sufficient oxygen, leading to vertigo and migraines.
- Diminished brainstem function – Since the atlas (top bone in the neck) surrounds the brainstem, it makes sense that even a slight misalignment can put pressure on this key component in the central nervous system. Vestibular migraines are just one possible outcome.
Upper cervical misalignments can also affect the ears due to the proximity of the atlas to the eustachian tubes. So peripheral vertigo can also be related to these types of subluxations. Therefore, even if your vertigo is not related to the central nervous system, correcting the misalignment may help. However, let us continue discussing how the upper cervical spine is related to vertigo, and how you can find relief if this is the underlying cause of your health problems.
Relieving Vertigo the Safe and Gentle Way
Before you say, “Can’t I just go to the chiropractor, then?” we’d like to introduce you to a subspecialty in the field of chiropractic that you may not have heard of before. Upper cervical chiropractic is a niche in the chiropractic community with about 3,500 providers worldwide. However, if you are suffering from vertigo, it may be just what you need.
What does an upper cervical chiropractor do?
First of all, we begin with a thorough examination. Your first visit will involve a patient history. When you are asked about accidents or injuries, be sure that you do not just include recent ones. Upper cervical misalignments can work under the surface for years and knowing how and when the injury occurred can help your practitioner to know what to look for. Not all upper cervical misalignments are related to a particular injury, but many are.
Then comes the physical examination, which can reveal signs of misalignment. For example, one shoulder may be higher than the other, or one leg may be shorter than the other. It is at this point that your practitioner will discuss with you whether you should continue on to the step of diagnostic imaging. You will likely get some x-rays taken and maybe even some thermography to see how things are flowing. This gives the doctor the precise information that he or she needs in order to customize a precise adjustment for you.
What can you expect on your first adjustment?
It is usually on the next visit that you will receive the first adjustment. This gives the doctor time to make the calculations needed for your adjustment. With the atlas, fractions of a millimeter make a difference, so there is no big twisting motion or sudden jerking of the neck. Adjustments are extremely gentle, which also makes them very safe and effective regardless of your age or level of health.
Finally, upper cervical adjustments are provided on an as-needed basis. That means you only get an adjustment when a physical examination reveals the atlas has come back out of alignment. It may happen within just a few days at first depending on how long the misalignment has existed. The soft tissue that supports the neck and head needs to heal so it can stabilize the atlas once again. But eventually, you should be able to space your visits out weeks or even months apart. That makes this a cost-effective way to combat vertigo as well as a natural one.
If you suffer from vertigo, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, contact one of our preferred practitioners today. You may find that a few gentle adjustments are all you need to get vertigo under control for good.