What is Vertigo?
Have you ever felt like the world was spinning, but you were not moving at all? Have you felt periods of sudden intense dizziness or disorientation where you had to stop and grasp onto something to feel stabilized? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you may be experiencing vertigo. Vertigo is a symptom characterized by dizziness or a sensation of spinning that is commonly caused by sudden head movements. One can also experience nausea, difficulty concentrating, ringing in the ears, and sweating in addition to one’s vertigo. But where is this dizziness coming from?
Causes of Dizziness
Most commonly, vertigo is caused by an issue found in the inner ear due to its function in maintaining one’s balance. Conditions that affect the inner ear and cause vertigo include Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), inner-ear infections, and Meniere’s Disease. Other conditions that have the ability to cause vertigo include migraines, blood pressure conditions, misalignments of spinal segments, Multiple Sclerosis, low blood sugar, trauma to the head, and more. Conditions affecting the cerebellum (which is located at the center of the brain and maintains balance) may also cause dizziness. Due to the multiple conditions that can cause one to experience vertigo, it is important to find the root cause.
Diagnosis With a Greenville Chiropractor
A physical examination performed by a trained physician will help determine where the vertigo is coming from. General Physicians, Physical Therapists, and Chiropractors are a few types of physicians that can analyze vertigo. Chiropractors are highly trained to specifically analyze the spine for areas of dysfunction so that they may return segments to their normal positioning. This helps the brain have free communication with the rest of the body and gives proprioceptors the ability to function at their optimum. In addition, Chiropractors are trained to perform physical examinations to determine what is causing your vertigo. The first test they can perform is blood pressure. Alterations in blood pressure can cause dizziness including both high and low blood pressure. If it is found that you have abnormal blood pressure, a Chiropractor will send you to a General Physician for further evaluation.
If blood pressure is ruled out, they can then perform Epley’s Maneuver. Epley’s Maneuver tests the semicircular canals located in the inner ear. These canals detect motion and send those signals to the brain. Inside the canals are crystals that help detect movement. In certain cases, crystals can detach from the canal and become free floating, which can disturb the signals that go to your brain–resulting in a feeling of dizziness. Epley’s Maneuver repositions the crystals to help relieve vertigo.
If Epley’s does not resolve the vertigo, your doctor will then look at your spine for areas called subluxations. Subluxations occur when segments within the spine misalign, putting pressure on the spinal nerves and distorting proprioceptors and mechanoreceptors–all of which can lead to feelings of dizziness or imbalance. At Greenville Spine Institute, we perform thorough inspections consisting of orthopedic, neurological, and physical examinations. If necessary, X-rays will be taken to further assess the condition of your spine. Depending on its condition, a care plan may be developed to help return your spine and Central Nervous System to its optimum function.
Chiropractic Care of Vertigo
Chiropractic focuses on maintaining communication between the brain and body through the Central Nervous System (CNS). The CNS consists of your brain, spinal cord, and spinal nerves. When functioning properly, the brain sends signals down the spinal cord and out through the spinal nerves to control everything in the body. In fact, the nervous system is so crucial to the body that it is entirely protected by the spine. However, forces sometimes enter into the spine that misalign segments and place pressure on spinal nerves, cutting off communication between the brain and body.
Receptors in the spine called proprioceptors enable you to judge limb movements, position, and force. Combined with other senses, they help you locate external objects relative to your body and contribute to body image. Proprioception is closely tied to the control of movement. Misalignments of spinal segments create dysfunction to proprioceptors that may, in turn, cause dizziness and disorientation.
How Chiropractic Adjustment Helps Vertigo
A Chiropractor focuses on carefully analyzing the spine to look for areas of misalignment. They first analyze the spine for subluxations by motioning the separate segments of the spine to look for fixation or lack of motion. Next, they feel for swelling and edema. When spinal nerves compress, the area will begin to swell and bring heat to the area, causing pooling edema. When the doctor locates the areas of dysfunction in the spine, they will make gentle adjustments to help you regain normal motion and alignment. Specific adjustments will be made according to the condition of each individual’s spine. If spinal segments become stuck and are left untreated, the spinal segments will begin to decay during a process called Spinal Decay. Spinal Decay can be present without any symptoms due to the fact that only 10% of our spinal nerve functions communicate pain, so it is crucial to have your spine analyzed to prevent this from happening.
Can Vertigo Resolve on Its Own?
It is hard to determine whether your vertigo will resolve on its own without proper examination by a doctor. If the cause of your dizziness is due to an underlying condition, then it is best to resolve that condition immediately before it worsens. Leaving underlying conditions untreated can lead to dire consequences such as permanent physical damage or even death. When physicians diagnose your condition at the first sign of vertigo, they can determine the level of treatment to be completed. If you experience signs of vertigo, please contact a physician immediately.
Vertigo can affect your life on a daily basis. It can affect you when you least expect it–when you are driving, giving an important presentation, or taking care of a family member–and can be especially frightening during these times.
Dr Kevin P Lewis demonstrates the Dix-Hallpike Test & Epley Maneuver