When Should You Go to the Emergency Room for Vertigo?


Vertigo is notorious for bringing a false feeling that you or your world is spinning even when there is no movement at all. Half of all vertigo cases have an unknown cause. Most of the time, although overlooked, it stems from a problem in the bones of the upper cervical spine. In this article, we will look at some of the common symptoms that come with vertigo, when you should go to the emergency room, and what you can do to find relief from chronic vertigo.

Describing How Vertigo Feels

Vertigo generates brief episodes of mild to severe dizziness. BPPV comes on when you move your head in certain positions such as when you tip your head forward or backward, when you suddenly sit up from a lying position, when you roll over in bed, or when you lie down. It is often non-life-threatening but can be dangerous if it occurs while you are driving a car or on a high ladder.

Causes of Vertigo

A 2006 study shed some light on the root cause of vertigo. It involved 60 patients diagnosed with vertigo. Out of all them, 56 had endured some trauma in the past before the onset of vertigo. They were both major and minor incidents such as the following:

  • Tripping and falling
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Horseback riding injuries
  • Skiing accidents
  • Trauma that involved the head or neck

The study showed the clear-cut evidence that injury to the neck and vertigo are connected. We will talk more about that in a while and discuss the results of the study. First, let’s dive into the symptoms of vertigo.

Vertigo Symptoms to Watch Out For 

The symptoms of vertigo may come and go. They often last for less than an hour. They may also go into remission for a while and then return. 


Children like to spin around until they feel dizzy, and it’s usually a fun experience for them. But that’s not the case when you’re an adult. If you’re driving to work and suddenly have a bout of vertigo, it can be a traumatizing experience. 

Feeling Unsteady or Off Balance

Vertigo sufferers may feel as if they can no longer walk straight or their legs are on backward. Those with vertigo need to hold on to something or someone for balance.

Loss of Coordination

People living with vertigo fall easily, trip, slip, often drop things, and are clumsy. They also struggle with completing basic day-to-day tasks. It is best to avoid driving or lifting heavy objects until vertigo subsides. 


It is the ringing, hissing, or roaring noise in the ears. It can bring discomfort.


This is one of the awful symptoms of vertigo. It is hard to look at a screen with moving images or ride in a car. Drinking peppermint tea helps with nausea. 

A Migraine or a Headache

A headache or migraine often comes on following nausea and dizziness. Be sure to get some rest in a cold dark room and drink plenty of water. You can also place a cold washcloth on the back of your neck or forehead to relieve the pain. 


During a vertigo attack, you may feel as if you want to vomit, but cannot. Eating can be pure torture. It often lasts for more than a few hours.

Eye Twitching

When there’s a build-up of fluid in the inner ear, other functions inside the brain may go off track. You may experience twitching, itching, or eye muscle spasms. You may feel the constant need to rub your eyes. Put a cold cloth on your eyes for a few minutes to ease the itching. 


This is a slightly annoying sign of vertigo. Combat sweating by drinking plenty of water. 


It is the abnormal rhythmic movements or jerking of the eye. Nystagmus may occur occasionally. 

When to Get Emergency Care

As we’ve said, vertigo is typically not dangerous. However, if your vertigo goes together with some of the symptoms listed below, you should seek the care of your doctor immediately. It may indicate an underlying health condition.

  • Fever
  • Trouble talking
  • Loss of vision or seeing double
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Loss of hearing
  • An abnormal or a severe headache
  • Losing consciousness
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Problems walking or falling down

Treating Vertigo Through Proper Spinal Alignment

If one of the bones of your upper cervical spine goes out of alignment, it can be the root cause of your vertigo. This is very likely, especially if you have had an accident that injured your head or neck. The C1 and C2 vertebrae of the neck sit in the same vicinity as the brainstem. They, in fact, protect the brainstem from damage. Major or minor trauma to the head can cause these bones to misalign. This puts undue pressure to the brainstem, making it send faulty signals to the brain about the body’s location in its surroundings. This results in the symptoms of vertigo. 

Upper cervical chiropractic care employs a method that is gentle and accurate to encourage the bones of the neck to realign. It is scientific-based and uses specific measurements. Upper cervical chiropractic doctors do not perform techniques that result in loud popping or cracking of the spine to adjust the bones.

All the vertigo patients in the study we mentioned earlier received upper cervical chiropractic care, and all of them experienced an improvement in their vertigo. One of them had had vertigo for 37 years and became vertigo-free after only a month of care. If you are suffering from vertigo, call or visit the nearest upper cervical chiropractor in your area to start your road to recovery.

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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.