Many patients present to their GP with complaints of new onset dizziness and vertigo. Most commonly this is due to calcium deposits loose in the inner ear affecting the vestibular system. Other more severe cases can be due to CNS problems or infections, which require emergency medical treatment. There are, however, a small number of patients who continue to experience dizziness/vertigo despite medical management and this can often be related to the neck.
Interestingly, it was found, when facet joints were injected with lignocaine for neck pain, some patients developed dizziness and unbalanced walking for the first time. This then triggered the idea that some cases of dizziness could be caused by the neck, more particularly the lack of movement in the upper segments of the neck. It is still unknown as to why dysfunction in the movement of the upper neck can trigger dizziness and there are a number of hypotheses, none of which have been proved.
So how do we know if the dizziness is coming from your neck? Well Chiropractors are highly trained in assessing and diagnosing the cause of your vertigo through thorough history taking but also clinical assessment and usually the process is by elimination of all other causes. However there are some clinical history clues, which have been outlined in table below (adapted from the American PT Association). Some patients may have only 1 of these symptoms but some may experience them all.
|VERTIGO BPPV||NECK RELATED DIZZINESS|
|Difficulty sleeping||Neck pain and stiffness, more specifically in the upper neck|
|Swimming sensation||Referred pain to shoulders|
|Hearing loss +/-||Tinnitus|
|Light headed feeling||Headaches|
|Dizziness worse when lying flat or on one particular side||Nausea|
|Unable to walk properly due to unbalanced feeling||Dizziness associated with neck movement|
|Neck muscle tension||History of neck trauma such as car accident or fall|
Once it has been established by your Chiropractor that the dizziness is coming from your neck, they are able to start a short course of treatment which aims at restoring proper motion into the upper part of your neck, improving joint movement and allowing the surrounding muscles to relax around the joint. This is done either through mobilization, activator or manipulation of the dysfunctional joints in your neck, depending on your severity. Sometimes it may only take 2 – 3 treatments to get the symptoms to completely subside, in a comfortable and gentle way.
If you would like to know about how we can help with your neck related dizziness, please call or on 9203 8313 or book online now.