Vertigo is the sensation of rotation, as if the world is spinning. You may feel like you are spinning or the things around you may appear to be spinning, even though you are not moving at all. You may have seen a child cause themselves to have vertigo by spinning around and around until they fall down. This is self-induced vertigo and only lasts for a few minutes. However, adults with vertigo generally have vertigo happen all of a sudden with little or no warning. It may be a result of an injury and can last for many hours or even many days.
The Balance System and Vertigo
As sound waves come into the outer ear, they travel until reaching the eardrum. At this point, the sound is turned into vibrations that are transmitted by three small bones in the inner ear — the stapes, the malleus, and the incus. These vibrations go to the cochlea and on into the vestibular nerve, which transmits the signals to the brain. A vital part of the inner ear make-up is the three semicircular canals that are positioned at right angles to each other. These canals are lined with sensitive cells that act like a gyroscope for the body. The design of this structure is so complex and so intricate, feedback is given instantaneously regarding our position in the environment we are in. This system not only works for helping us hear but also helps us to keep our balance. As the head turns, the fluid in the semicircular canals lags because of inertia. This sends a signal to the brain about what is happening in the body. If something is interfering with these signals, vertigo can be the end result.
Symptoms of Vertigo
As mentioned, the main symptom of vertigo is the sensation of spinning. Certain movements can induce this to occur, such as rolling over in bed, standing up too quickly, or turning your head fast. Symptoms can vary in intensity. You may feel lightheaded while other people’s vertigo attacks make them feel like they might pass out. It is quite common to experience nausea and vomiting with a vertigo attack. Some people have what is called nystagmus. This is an abnormal or jerking movement of the eye. You may also have a feeling of imbalance. However, if it lasts for more than a few days or you have weakness or incoordination with your vertigo, you should seek medical care. It is possible a stroke or another issue of the brain is to blame for these symptoms.
Vertigo has a variety of different causes. Vertigo is put into two categories depending on what is causing it. These are peripheral or central. Central vertigo is caused by brain or spinal cord problems. Peripheral vertigo is due to an inner ear problem. If the inner ear becomes inflamed because of illness or the tiny crystals of the inner ear move to the wrong section of the ear, vertigo can be the end result. The latter is called BPPV, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, and is one of the most common types of vertigo.
Meniere’s disease is another reason you may experience vertigo. You may also have tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hearing loss due to a buildup of inner ear fluid. It is unknown why this occurs. Head and neck injuries may be a reason for vertigo as the inner ear may have been damaged. Sometimes, strokes, multiple sclerosis, or tumors can cause vertigo to occur. There is a type of a migraine, called basilar artery migraine, which has vertigo as one of its main symptoms.
Who Is at Risk for Vertigo?
The following can put you at risk for vertigo:
- Head and neck injuries
- Anti-seizure medications
- Blood pressure medications
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Caring for Vertigo Traditionally
If you suffer from peripheral vertigo, there are some things that might help you cope with your vertigo symptoms more effectively. For one, if you have BPPV, the Epley maneuver has been seen to be helpful. It is a routine of specific head movements that help to reposition the loose crystals within the inner ear. Moving the crystals reduces the chance of irritation, and this helps symptoms to resolve. Keep in mind, the movements involved may initially cause your vertigo to get worse, and it is a good idea to get a professional to help you do this.
Vestibular rehabilitation exercises help your body to adjust to the vertigo sensation and still perform well. This decreases sensation in the nerves. Medication may help in some cases but is not recommended for long-term use. The truth of the matter is, if you do not address the underlying cause of vertigo, it will continue to occur.
The Root Cause of Vertigo
It is likely that your recurring vertigo is due to a misaligned bone in the top of the neck. The C1 and C2 are particularly to blame. If these bones are out of alignment, they can put the brainstem under stress. If the brainstem begins to malfunction and starts sending messages to the brain that the body is in motion when it is not, vertigo can be the end result.
Vertigo Treatment Park Ridge NJ
Upper cervical chiropractors have been specially trained to find these misalignments. We work with patients individually to give them exactly what they need to begin recovering. We use a method that is gentle and safe to help encourage the bones to move back into place without the need to pop or crack the spine. Once corrected, many people report seeing a huge improvement in their vertigo symptoms.