What is Cervicogenic Vertigo?
Your brain processes three different inputs to establish your sense of balance: your inner ear, your eyes, and tiny pressure sensors that line the inside of the joints of your upper neck. Each of these systems relays information to your brain about the position of your head and body.
Dizziness arises when one or more of these balance systems malfunctions and “confuses” your brain by sending incorrect information. When you lean your head sideways, the pressure sensors on that side of your neck are triggered and relay information to your brain about the tilt of your head. When your inner ear and eyes agree with this information, all is well. If one of the joints in your neck becomes abnormally restricted, it’s pressure sensors are “falsely” stimulated. This sensory mismatch, called “Cervicogenic dizziness”, confuses your brain into a temporary state of dizziness until it can sort things out. This is different than a vestibular vertigo which arrises from irritation of the vestibular system.
Cervicogenic dizziness can develop when the muscles of your neck are too tight or the joints become stuck in an abnormal position. Certain conditions, like joint swelling, disc bulges, muscle tightness, or arthritis can be triggers for dizziness. This condition commonly develops after “whiplash” injuries.
Cervicogenic dizziness causes a feeling of light-headedness, floating, unsteadiness, or general imbalance, but rarely, true “spinning.” Your symptoms likely come and go and are provoked by movement and eased by remaining still. Many patients report some neck discomfort or stiffness associated with their dizziness. You may notice a headache beginning near the base of your skull. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a “severe” or “different” headache. You should also inform your doctor if you have a history of head injury, loss of consciousness, frequent unexplained falls, hearing loss, ringing in your ears, ear “fullness”, earache, fever, numbness or tingling in your face or arms, visual disturbances, difficulty speaking, difficulty swallowing, difficulty walking, or if you are taking a new medication.
Conservative chiropractic care, like the type provided in our office, is very effective at relieving Cervicogenic dizziness. Studies have shown a greater than 90% success rate for the chiropractic treatment of this condition.
Any dizziness warrants prompt attention, so if you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms, please contact us to schedule an appointment.