What Do We Mean By Dizziness?
At Ascent Chiropractic, “dizziness” is a common complaint listed on new patients’ intake forms. It’s a catch-all term that can describe a number of symptoms which may be present in any combination in a patient complaining of dizziness. There are four general symptoms to differentiate between:
- Lightheadedness: The feeling of being “not right in the head”.
- Presyncope: The feeling of impending fainting.
- Disequilibrium: The sensation of being off-balance; a feeling that you are about to fall.
- Vertigo: The illusion of movement; often a spinning sensation.
These dizziness symptoms can have many causes, which is why it’s necessary for your chiropractor to perform a thorough examination before prescribing treatment to rule out diseases of the inner ear, infections, strokes, tumors or neurological diseases, though only rarely does dizziness or vertigo signal a serious or life-threatening problem.
It’s Not Just A Head Problem
The good news is that some of the most common causes for these symptoms are spinal problems, and therefore respond incredibly well to chiropractic adjustments. In fact, Karel Lewit MD, a leading authority on equilibrium dysfunction, states, “It is important to stress that the cervical spine may factor into all forms of vertigo and dizziness … in no field is manipulation more effective.”
Vertebral misalignments in the upper neck can affect nerve messages between the central nervous system and the vestibulocochlear system in the inner ear. The vestibulocochlear system is a complex arrangement of fluid-filled tubes lined with hair-like sensors that provides information to the brain about body position. Additionally, faulty motion patterns in the spine can result in the brain receiving misinformation about movement.
What’s The Cause?
So what causes the dysfunction in the spine that leads to dizziness and vertigo? According to the Mayo Clinic, “When a cause can be determined, [dizziness and vertigo] is often associated with a minor to severe blow to your head.” When a trauma occurs to the body, such as a car accident, fall, or blow to the head, it often affects the top vertebra in your neck because of the unique role and shape this bone has: it is a coupling mechanism between the spine and the skull.
The body will quickly adapt to an uncontrolled force into the head and neck by locking this joint down to protect the the brain stem and the beginning of the spinal cord that are located within the top of the spine. Unfortunately this trauma usually moves the vertebra in the upper neck into a position that disrupts the nerve signals to and from the brain and other structures in the head.
The Benefit Of Treatment By A Chiropractor
As a Brookfield chiropractor, the target for adjustments are joints that are positioned improperly. Chiropractic adjustments remove pressure from the lower brain stem and the upper spinal cord by gently re-aligning the misaligned vertebra, thereby repositioning the head in relationship to the neck and restoring proper motion patterns. In a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 90% of patients suffering from vertigo caused by dysfunction in the upper neck found success with chiropractic manipulation.
Even if you have no obvious history of head or neck trauma, there is a chance that your vertigo or dizziness symptoms could be related to misalignment in your spine. Need a chiropractor in Brookfield? At Ascent Chiropractic in Brookfield we use a gentle, non-thrusting chiropractic adjusting technique to correct the joint misalignments that are often the source of dizziness and vertigo symptoms. To make an appointment today, call us at 262-345-4166 or use our online scheduling app.
Fitz-Ritson D. Assessment of Cervicogenic Vertigo. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 1991; 10.
Lewit K. Manipulative Therapy in the Rehabilitation of the Motor System. Boston: Butterworths, 1985.
Norre ME. Neurophysiology of vertigo with special reference to cervical vertigo: A review. Medica Physica 1986; 9:183-194.
Hulse M. Disequilibrium, caused by a functional disturbance of the upper cervical spine. Clinical aspects and differential diagnosis. Man Med 1983; 1:18-23.
Mayo Clinic Staff. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Retrieved August 1, 2013 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vertigo/DS00534/DSECTION=causes.