Chiropractic and Vertigo
What is vertigo?
Vertigo is the feeling that you, your surroundings or both are moving or spinning. Vertigo is a relatively common symptom associated with a variety of disorders. People who experience vertigo may also have nausea and vomiting, difficulty with balance and trouble walking. For some, vertigo symptoms can be incapacitating. The smallest tasks and slightest movements can be incredibly difficult and aggravating.
What are the causes of vertigo?
Vertigo has many causes, and in most cases can be treated effectively. The most common causes of vertigo are due to problems of the inner ear. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, Meniere’s disease, and vestibular neuritis are amongst those causes. Vertigo symptoms may also be associated with head or neck injuries, brain injuries, side effects of certain medications, and migraine headaches.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
As previously mentioned, BPPV is one of the most common causes of vertigo. It is more common in older adults, especially seniors. If we breakdown the words of BPPV’s long name we get the following. “Benign” meaning that it is not life-threatening. “Paroxysmal” meaning that it comes in sudden, brief spells. “Positional” meaning that it is triggered by certain head positions or movements. And “vertigo”, the false sensation of spinning or moving.
BPPV is the result of a mechanical problem of the inner ear. Essentially, tiny crystals of the inner ear become dislodged from their normal position. They migrate to areas of the inner ear where they are not supposed to be. This interferes with the normal fluid movement in the ear canals. This fluid movement is used to sense head position and motion by sending signals to the brain. So now, the brain is receiving false signals because the crystals are disrupting the message. These false signals give the brain a sensation of vertigo.
The tiny crystals can become dislodged for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons include a blow to the head, prolonged unnatural head positions such as having your head extended back or hanging upside down. There has even been an association of BPPV with one’s sleep position preference. With BPPV, symptoms of spinning are usually brief and range from mild to intense. The symptoms of BPPV are often referred to as vertigo spells as they come and go, and are not constant. However, they can be frequent. Between these spells, some people feel symptom-free, while others feel a mild sense of imbalance. BPPV can be a mild annoyance to a highly debilitating condition. It can affect function at home and at work, safety while driving and playing sports.
BPPV can also increase your risk of falls, which is of serious concern in the older population. The good news is, symptoms of BPPV tend to decline over time. Your brain slowly adjusts and adapts to the abnormal messages that is it receiving from your inner ears. BPPV can resolve temporarily or completely with treatment, and in some cases, the condition resolves spontaneously.
How chiropractic can help
If you are suffering from the sensation of spinning, talk to your chiropractor. First, he or she will assess your dizziness or spinning sensation. Your head, neck, and upper body will be examined as it is all closely connected. Your chiropractor will check your gait and balance, and ask you pertinent questions relating to your symptoms and health history. There are specific tests that will be performed to determine if your vertigo is in fact BPPV. If so, your chiropractor can use a simple and effective maneuver called the Epley’s maneuver to help reposition the inner ear crystals. This maneuver is followed by at-home exercises that your chiropractor will guide you through. Follow-up and reassessment are important to determine how well you are responding to care.
Are you feeling dizzy, or that your world is spinning? Give us a call and schedule a visit with one of our chiropractors. Determining the cause of your dizziness is important. Our healthcare team is here to help! Contact us at our Glebe or Byward location to schedule your appointment.