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Vertigo and your Spine

Vertigo is a common condition that affects a surprisingly large percentage of adults. Vertigo is often times thought of as another word for dizziness. However, dizziness can mean either vertigo or lightheadedness and it’s important to know the difference. Unlike Vertigo, lightheadedness is a feeling that you are about to faint or pass out. With lightheadedness, you do not feel as if the environment around you is moving. Vertigo is a condition where you feel like you or your surroundings are spinning even though you are in a stationary position. Vertigo is a common complaint, especially after head and neck trauma. It may come from problems in the inner ear, or from disturbances in pathways in the nervous system. The experience can be impact your whole world, causing nausea, vomiting, and sweating. Many don’t know that chiropractic care can be a real relief of vertigo. Here’s how chiropractic care can help:

  • Chiropractic manipulation: the chiropractor targets joints that are moving improperly. In the upper neck, faulty motion patterns can result in misinformation about body position and movement being communicated from the joints to the brain. This type of vertigo, called cervicogenic vertigo, is more likely to benefit from chiropractic manipulation. In a study published in the October 1991 "Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics," chiropractic Don Fitz-Ritson reported a 90 percent success rate when treating this type of vertigo with manipulation.

  • Positioning Maneuvers: The inner ear houses the body's true balance center, the vestibulocochlear system. This complex system of fluid-filled tubes lined with hair-like sensors provides information to the central nervous system about position and movement. In some individuals, debris may accumulate in there. If this debris settles on sensitive areas within the tubes, it may result in vertigo. If the patient's vertigo appears to be coming from the inner ear, a chiropractor may use the Epley Maneuver to reposition the debris to a more innocuous position.

  • Exercises: Your chiropractor will have exercises to help too. Exercises like the Brandt-Daroff technique have the person sit on the edge of a bed and flop first to one side, back upright, then to the other side at one-minute intervals. Tai chi exercise may also help as slow, controlled movements provide a safe way to focus on your body movements and balance.

  • Diet: Your chiropractor will discuss your diet and daily habits to pinpoint other reasons for vertigo. Tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and other substances that stimulate or depress the nervous system may become triggers. And non-prescription sleeping pills or antihistamines can spark dizziness. Your chiropractor may also suggest meditation, relaxation, or breathing techniques to regain control.

Making these few changes in your everyday life can really lessen if not completely get rid of vertigo!


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