Vertigo and Dizziness
For the most part, dizziness is a slight inconvenience, but it can interfere with everyday life when it occurs frequently and is accompanied by nausea and other troubling symptoms.
Dizziness and vertigo are often used synonymously, but they are actually two distinct problems. Dizziness is a distorted sense of spatial orientation and usually occurs when getting up too fast or after one has ridden an amusement park ride. There is no underlying cause for this condition, and it usually subsides after a few minutes.
On the contrary, vertigo constitutes a more serious problem and is commonly the result of underlying medical issues. It is characterized by the movement of a person’s surroundings or the sensation of self-movement. In other words, it is a spinning sensation. The following information provided by our vertigo and dizziness chiropractor gives an explanation of what causes these disorders as well as what Life Source Chiropractic can do to help patients who suffer from dizziness and vertigo.
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Common Causes of Vertigo and Dizziness
As described above, dizziness resolves rather quickly on its own and usually has an immediate explanation, while vertigo is caused by an underlying medical condition. Two types of vertigo that are results of differing medical issues are known as peripheral and central vertigo.
The most common form of vertigo is known as peripheral vertigo and is caused by anatomic issues of the inner ear. It usually begins unexpectedly and is, many times, accompanied by extreme nausea and vomiting as well as other profound symptoms. These symptoms can occur without warning and can range in severity.
Peripheral vertigo is frequently caused by some of the following inner ear problems:
Meniere’s disease is a problem with the inner ear that can lead to vertigo along with other symptoms, including ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and a sensation of pressure in the ear and generally affects only one ear. A bout of vertigo caused by this condition typically lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours.
Labyrinthitis or Inner Ear Infection
Since inflammation can be caused by infections, the inner ear can become inflamed when it gets infected. In addition to vertigo, this can cause nausea, diminished hearing, imbalance, and excruciating pressure within the ear. Labrynthitis commonly occurs within minutes to hours of an infection and can also affect vision and cause jerky eye movements.
The vestibular nerve can be affected by viral infections, such as measles or chickenpox. Because this nerve connects the inner ear to the brain, severe vertigo can be caused by vestibular neuritis.This condition does not usually result in hearing loss; however, it yields the same symptoms as labyrinthitis and emerges just as quickly.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
The most prevalent form of peripheral vertigo in people ages 65 and older is known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. The otolith organs inside the ear contain crystals that make people sensitive to gravity. These crystals can become dislodged for a variety of reasons and can move into the semicircular canals of the ear. This makes the canals sensitive to head motions that it normally would not respond to, causing dizziness, a feeling of being lightheaded, and other vertigo symptoms.
The central nervous system, or brain and spinal cord, is the source of central vertigo. Positional changes or head motions don’t affect this condition. This type of vertigo emerges slowly and causes chronic, mild symptoms and can also lead to various degrees of nausea and vomiting.
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Although central vertigo is not normally a serious issue for people with MS, it can continue for days to weeks.
People who are prone to migraine headaches are often affected by central vertigo even when they are not experiencing a migraine. These people can have central vertigo that lasts for up to 24 hours, and can either be continual or can depend on their spatial positioning.
Head or Neck Trauma
Trauma to the head or neck can result in misalignment of the spine. This is also known as a spinal subluxation and can cause compression of the nerves. Because this can interfere with the nerves that carry signals for sensation, the brain can experience altered proprioception.
Cervical Spondylosis Degeneration
Cervical spondylosis occurs when the discs in the neck or cervical spine wear down due to age-related changes. This puts added pressure on the nerves because the discs act as shock absorbers for the spine. It can also contribute to loss of blood flow to the brain and inner ear. Consequently, the brain receives altered, diminished, or even missing nerve signals, which can lead to central vertigo.
Other Causes of Vertigo
Additionally, vertigo can be caused by circulatory problems, changes in air pressure, motion sickness, or drug and alcohol usage. It can also be brought on by a brain tumor or toxin exposure, so it should be a priority to pursue medical care for vertigo.
Symptoms of Vertigo and Dizziness
- Diminished hearing, usually in one ear
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Persistent fatigue
- Trouble with balance
How Chiropractic Care Can Help Vertigo and Dizziness
Balance greatly depends on nerve function. Fortunately, our chiropractor for vertigo and dizziness at Life Source Chiropractic has the necessary knowledge and tools to assist patients who suffer from vertigo. We complete a thorough physical exam, which may include x-rays or scans, when patients come to our office for chiropractic for vertigo and dizziness. If we suspect a patient is suffering from vertigo, we can confirm this diagnosis utilizing the Dix-Hallpike maneuver. We also conduct in-depth interviews and mobility analysis to discover the underlying cause of their dizziness and vertigo symptoms.
Vertigo and Dizziness Treatment
Once the underlying cause of a patient’s vertigo is discovered, Life Source Chiropractic can provide them with a variety of therapy options. We can also suggest a series of at-home exercises they can perform to help with their dizziness and vertigo issues.
Balance and movement rely heavily on the communication between the nerves; therefore, using spinal manipulation to eliminate subluxations can restore the uninterrupted flow of information between the body and brain. The nerves connected between the inner ear and upper neck have an impact on the flow of blood, immune function, and balance. Our vertigo chiropractor uses their hands to carefully coax this area back into appropriate alignment.
Canalith Repositioning Procedure
Canalith repositioning is meant to help patients who suffer from BPPV. It entails situating the patient’s head in a series of four different positions, which are held for 30 to 45 seconds each. These positions are crucial because they are intended to relocate the crystals in the ear back to their proper location.
Similar to the canalith repositioning procedure, Epley’s maneuver is an additional technique we use at Life Source Chiropractic to reposition the crystals in the inner ear back to their proper location. Although the end goal is the same, Epley’s maneuver utilizes different movements with each position being held for 30 seconds. This technique requires the repositioning of the entire body and uses various movements which are determined by the ear that is affected.
We are very cautious when customizing an exercise program for patients with vertigo or dizziness, because mobility relies significantly on balance. We recommend gentle exercises that keep the head as motionless as possible.
An example of this is the Brandt-Daroff habituation exercise. This exercise is carried out by having the patient sit on the edge of a bed or sofa. The patient is then instructed to turn their head 45 degrees to one side. Next, they rapidly lay down on the opposite side of the head turn. Doing this exercise repeatedly is another way to relocate the crystals in the inner ear while the patient is at home.