What Are Some of the Causes of Vertigo?
Have you ever felt your head or everything else around you is spinning? It is likely that you are experiencing a symptom called vertigo. Vertigo is commonly caused by problem of balance from the inner ear called vestibular system. The causes of vertigo may include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), severe migraines, neuritis, disturbance of the neck muscles, interference with your sympathetic nerves, or vascular conditions such as atherosclerosis.
When you have vertigo, some symptoms include feeling like the room is spinning and unbalanced with abnormal jerky eye movements (nystagmus). You may feel worse when you stand up, walk, or move your head around. Some more severe types of vertigo can trigger nauseated feelings, vomiting, headaches, sweating (cold sweats), or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
What’s The Difference Between Vertigo and Dizziness?
Dizziness is a general, non-specific term referring a sense of disorientation including light headedness, while vertigo is a subtype of dizziness and refer to mismatch between vestibular, visual and somatosensory system.
This means that dizziness is the umbrella term for all conditions that can cause such symptoms, and vertigo is a condition that falls under this umbrella.
While the causes of dizziness are far and varied (ranging from medication use, to vertigo-related disorders, or even to lack of nutrition), causes of vertigo are usually limited to certain vestibular and visual causes.
Can A Chiropractor Make Vertigo Worse?
To answer the question of, “Will my vertigo get worse after chiropractic treatments?”, we need to identify the cause of your vertigo and understand if it is something treatable by chiropractic care. Before chiropractic treatment, our chiropractor will evaluate and check the cause of your vertigo.
Vertigo caused by BPPV (crystals becoming dislodged in your semicircular ear canals) or neuromusculoskeletal related conditions (neck stiffness, muscle tension) respond well with chiropractic care. There may be a short period of increased dizziness after your session due to your body responding to the stimulus of a chiropractic adjustment. The vertigo after the chiropractic adjustment usually lasts for a short period of time and improvements will be seen over time.
However, if your chiropractor finds that the vertigo is caused by other conditions such as atherosclerosis, it is necessary to refer and consult with suitable specialist on treating your condition.
How Can Chiropractic Assess Your Vertigo?
It is important to have a thorough assessment with your chiropractor for your vertigo before undergoing any chiropractic treatment. A few common assessments chiropractors can do before treating your vertigo includes:
- Dix Hallpike maneuver
This maneuver will place your head on a certain position for a moment. Presence of rapid eye movement (nystagmus) and vertigo suggests that you are more likely to have BPPV.
- Balance test
Romberg test is one of the balance tests which you are required to close your eyes while standing upright. If you felt dizzy and tend to fall, you might have impaired proprioception.
- Eye movement test
This test requires you to stare and follow through the finger of your chiropractor with one eye closed. Having uncontrolled eye movement might suggest that your external eyeball muscles aren’t functioning properly, which can also contribute to dizziness as your eyes are working harder to track things in the environment when you are moving around.
- Neck assessment (Cervical Joint Assessment)
Your chiropractor will evaluate your neck, commonly through neck movement, palpation, and some special tests. This is to determine if there is presence of neck misalignment or musculoskeletal condition causing vertigo, especially if dizziness or pain is reproduced during the assessment.
Treatment of Vertigo With Chiropractic – Can A Neck Adjustment Help Vertigo?
Chiropractor treatments can include but are not limited to:
- Positional vertigo
Positioning vertigo such as Epley’s maneuver is considered as one of the most effective treatments for BPPV. It is used to reposition the loose crystals in your semicircular canals, known as canaliths.
Your chiropractor will help position your head in a few directions for 30-60 seconds, and it is common to have vertigo or dizziness felt in the process for the first few sessions.
- Chiropractic adjustment and muscle release
This helps relieve the disturbance of neck muscles or sympathetic nerve which can be a factor of causing vertigo. It is common that you might feel slight soreness around the muscles after the session which shouldn’t last more than 24 hours.
Don’t Let Dizziness Take Away Your Life
If you are experiencing vertigo and dizziness which are affecting your daily life, it’s time to visit a chiropractor to help with your vertigo! Contact us today to get started on figuring out whether your vertigo is something chiropractic and physiotherapy care can help with, or if you need a referral out to an E&T.
This article was written by our chiropractor, Jason Chia, D.C., who has learnt much from the experience of his patients experiencing a multitude of vestibular and neuromuscular-related vertigo! One of his key beliefs is in taking the time for a proper initial assessment so that each patient gets on the fastest road to recovery, whether it is a combination of chiropractic and physiotherapy care, or a referral out to an ENT.