If you've ever experienced vertigo, then you know how frightening it can be. Vertigo causes spinning or whirling sensations when you move your head up or down, or from side to side. The feeling of motion that goes with vertigo can also cause nausea, vomiting, and heart palpitations. Your physician can prescribe anti-vertigo medications to relieve your symptoms, but they cause extreme drowsiness, and are not recommended for long-term use.
When vertigo is associated with neck or back problems, it is called cervicogenic vertigo. Instead of recommending medications, your chiropractor will treat the cervical source of your vertigo, which is a better long-term solution. Here are some ways your chiropractic physician can treat your vertigo so that you can be free from its intrusive symptoms.
Your "balance center," or vestibulocochlear system, is located in your inner ear. It provides your brain with information about movement and position, and is a rich network of tubes that are lined with sensors known as cilia. When debris, earwax, or calcium deposits settle on the delicate hair-like structures of the cilia, your equilibrium may be disturbed, resulting in vertigo.
Your chiropractor can try to dislodge and reposition the debris from your cilia to another area inside your ear so that you are less likely to experience vertigo when you move your head. The chiropractic physician will use a maneuver known as the Epley Maneuver, which is an exercise where you move into a number of different positions in order to help dislodge the deposits that are in your ear. It is effective for all types of vertigo; however, it is especially helpful for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
Your chiropractor can also use spinal manipulation to treat the joints in your cervical neck area that are not moving the way they should. Joints in your upper neck that do not move properly may send conflicting signals to the brain about movement and positioning.
When your brain receives conflicting information about your body's position, severe cervicogenic vertigo may occur. The symptoms of vertigo caused by cervical problems are the same as those caused by inner ear problems, however, the physiology differs.
It is important to note that during your spinal manipulation treatments, you may experience vertigo. Your chiropractor will take steps to minimize your symptoms so that you can better tolerate your treatment.
If you develop vertigo and are seeking medication-free methods of treatment, make an appointment with your chiropractor. While chiropractic treatments are often effective, you may be referred back to your family physician for further evaluation and treatment to rule out an inner ear infection or neurological cause, if your symptoms fail to resolve.