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Posted on 04-03-2018

Imagine sitting at your desk at work or walking down the street and suddenly feeling like you are spinning round and round on a tilt-a-whirl. If this has ever happened to you, you might have had an episode of vertigo. Vertigo is a form of dizziness that has a rotational component to it. You may feel as if you are spinning or the things around you might appear to be spinning. The feeling may come for just a few seconds and then leave, or it may last for hours or days. In addition to the spinning sensation, you may also have nausea and vomiting, double vision, a racing heartbeat, and headaches.

One of the main reasons for elderly people to visit the emergency room is dizziness, but not always vertigo, according to Dr. Marlan Hansen, an associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He has been caring for disorders and diseases of the ear, nose, and throat for over 12 years. He further states that most people are diagnosed improperly.

Causes and Types of Vertigo

Most commonly, vertigo is the result of inner ear infections or diseases of the ear. Vertigo has two main types depending on how it occurs. These are peripheral and central. A third type is rarely diagnosed if peripheral and central have been ruled out.

Peripheral vertigo: This is caused by a problem of the inner ear and is the most common form of vertigo. The inner ear has the important job of converting the vibrations of air into signals that your brain processes as sound by using the tiny hair cells in your cochlea. The inner ear also helps you keep your balance when you are moving. However, if the signals coming from the inner ear do not match the signals coming from your eyes, your brain becomes confused and vertigo ensues. The following conditions are kinds of peripheral vertigo.

  • Labyrinthitis: The labyrinth of the ear is made up of a network of fluid-filled tunnels that have two purposes. The first one is to send sound signals to be processed by your brain. The other one is to help you keep your balance by sending signals to the brain about the head’s position and when it moves. If your labyrinth becomes irritated and inflamed, labyrinthitis occurs. Along with vertigo, you may experience tinnitus, loss of hearing, and nausea.

  • BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo): This is the most common reason for vertigo and has to do with small crystal deposits in your ear becoming dislodged and floating around in the fluids of your inner ear. As you move your head, you will begin to feel like the world is spinning around you and causing you to lose your balance. Vertigo will come on very suddenly and can last for a few seconds or a few minutes.

  • Meniere’s disease: Meniere’s is a buildup of fluid (called endolymph) in the labyrinth. This occurs if the labyrinth is not draining fluid properly. You may feel like your ear is full or congested, feel off balance, have a reduction in hearing in the affected ear, and experience nausea.

Central vertigo:  This may happen when you endure a sports-related injury, a viral infection that negatively impacts your brain, a stroke, or a brain tumor. This type of vertigo lasts longer and is more intense than peripheral vertigo. Another difference is that your hearing will not be affected in most cases. The following conditions have vertigo associated with your central nervous system:

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS): MS is an autoimmune disease that attacks your myelin, the layer of protection for your nerve cells. This leads to a problem with the nervous system and it begins sending improper signals to the body about muscle coordination. This results in vertigo, eyesight problems, movement problems, and hearing issues.

  • Acoustic neuritis: Characterized by a nonmalignant tumor growing on the cranial nerve deep inside your inner ear, this condition causes vertigo by putting pressure on the adjacent nerves. You may also have hearing loss, headaches, and numbness in the face if the trigeminal nerve is being pressed on.

  • Migraine-induced vertigo: A migraine is a severe, throbbing, pounding pain in the head. It may cause spontaneous vertigo attacks that are sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Some types of food, hormone fluctuations, weather changes, and sleep disturbances can bring on a migraine.

Cervical vertigo: A special type of vertigo that is not caused by an inner ear problem or a brain issue is called central vertigo. This is often due to a problem in the neck. Even the slightest movement can cause vertigo to ensue.

Finding Help for Vertigo

Case studies have been performed that show the effectiveness of upper cervical chiropractic care to help ease vertigo. A number of issues, including those with peripheral, central, and cervical vertigo, can all be caused by a misalignment in the bones of the upper neck, particularly the C1 and C2 vertebrae. If these bones move out of alignment, a few things can happen that lead to vertigo. For one, the stress put on the eustachian tube leading to the ear can cause lesions to develop. This can impact your hearing and cause vertigo. A misalignment here also puts pressure on the brainstem, causing it to send improper signals to the brain. This can lead to some of the above-mentioned conditions. If you have endured an injury to your head or neck, cervical vertigo may be the end result.

We use a gentle method to help the neck bones to realign themselves naturally without the need for force. This helps the bones to stay in place longer and leads to fewer office visits down the road. Many people see their vertigo improve once the bones are back in their original positions.

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