Most people have had an encounter with vertigo symptoms at some point or another, and it’s usually circumstantial due to something like spinning in circles for a length of time or an amusement park ride. Vertigo is a category of dizziness that includes a false sensation of movement or spinning. This feeling can come on suddenly and disappear just as quickly, or sometimes it stays for hours or even days. What are a few other symptoms that are associated with vertigo?
- Nausea and vomiting
- Double vision
- A racing heartbeat
- Feeling off balance or like you are being pulled in one direction
- Abnormal or jerking eye movements called nystagmus
- Ringing in the ears or hearing loss
According to Dr. Marlan Hansen, an associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, dizziness is amongst the most common reasons for the elderly to visit the emergency room. However, vertigo is not always the underlying problem. For over 12 years, he has been treating disorders of the ear, nose, and throat, and he has found that most of the patients that are referred to him have not been diagnosed accurately.
Vertigo Is Not a Condition – It Is a Symptom
Vertigo is usually a symptom of another condition going on. It can be due to a number of things. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): This is the most prevalent vestibular disorder, and it happens because of calcium building up in the canals of the inner ear and then breaking off. As the small crystals travel where they do not belong, it can result in a sensation of movement, and this signal is sent to the brain, resulting in an experience of vertigo. It is usually caused by some kind of trauma to the head or neck.
- Vestibular neuritis: This can be caused by an inner ear infection which leads to inflammation developing in the surrounding nerves that help the body sense balance. Vertigo can last a day or more, be pretty severe, and even involve hearing loss in some cases. The Cleveland Clinic has reported that 95 percent of patients fully recovery without any further recurring episodes.
- Meniere’s disease: Built up fluid in the inner ear is what causes the pressure resulting in the following Meniere’s disease symptoms: tinnitus, hearing loss, and nausea and vomiting.
- Head or brain injuries: These are a common cause of vertigo.
- Labyrinthitis: Beginning with severe vertigo, this condition is associated with nausea, vomiting, and feeling off balance. It is thought to be caused by a viral infection of the inner ear, although the exact cause remains unknown. You may have a feeling of fullness in the ear or tinnitus along with balance issues.
- Vestibular migraines: Oftentimes, migraines and vertigo occur together. The reason for this is not fully understood, but some theories link it to the stimulation of the trigeminal nerve. Women suffer more often from these kinds of migraines.
A singular root cause of vertigo has not been determined. However, there are few consistent situations that seem to bring it on. If you struggle with vertigo, it would be helpful to know what these situations are so you can avoid further complications with vertigo.
- Motion sickness: Onset of vertigo can be caused from a cruise or even a short boat ride. For some people it may take a number of days for the rocking sensation to cease entirely.
- Dehydration: Even mild dehydration can bring on the spinning feeling of vertigo.
- Head position: Similar to the previously mentioned BPPV, adjusting your head position or moving suddenly could lead to a vertigo attack.
- Medication side effects: Vertigo is listed as a potential side effect on many medications. This can be a particular risk when it is a high dose. It is recommended to begin at as low a dose as possible and to have your doctor oversee a slow increase.
- Migraines: As mentioned above, migraines often go hand in hand with vertigo.
- Being extremely tired
- Foods that have a lot of sugar or salt
- Caffeine or alcohol
- Sinus or viral infections
- Prolonged bed rest
One suggestion for vertigo sufferers is to track the symptoms you are having as well as record what you were doing when your vertigo episodes hit. This can help you to identify possible triggers. Most episodes of vertigo are harmless but can be unpleasant and inconvenient. If it ever begins to interrupt your daily life or if the frequency of the episodes increases, we recommend that you check in with your family doctor.
A Natural Way to Treat Recurring Vertigo
If you have chronic vertigo, it most likely means that you have some other condition related to this symptom, and it is time to see if an upper cervical chiropractor can help you. At Turning Point Spinal Care, we have a thorough knowledge of the important relationship between the bones of the upper neck and their impact on how well the balance system functions. When either the C1 or C2 vertebra are misaligned, it puts stress on the brainstem. This pressure results in the sending of inaccurate information to the brain about the location of the body. For example, when the brainstem sends a false message that the body is in motion when it is not, vertigo can happen as a result.
We use a gentle and precise method that is designed to naturally encourage the bones to return into place without using strong force. This means no cracking the neck or spine in order to make progress. Another benefit to these types of adjustments is that they hold longer and require less frequent future visits to maintain the results. Our patients often report seeing improvement in their vertigo after only a few visits.