It’s like a moment of mental weightlessness. You stand up, and the world around you seems to be tilting, like looking in a fun house mirror. Dizziness can be as mild as a brief lightheadedness; or a more extreme dizziness called vertigo may cause the sensation that your environment is spinning, moving, or tilting whether standing, sitting, or laying down.
In most cases, dizziness is generally not serious, although both mild dizziness and vertigo affect your sense of balance and can increase your risk of falling.
Maintaining your balance is a complex collaboration between the inner ear, eyes, muscles, and joints sending spatial data to the brain. But the mechanisms for maintaining balance are so intricate that finding the exact cause of dizziness can be difficult — like finding the cause of an electrical short in your house’s wiring system.
Determining the best treatment depends on what is causing the vertigo. Chiropractic treatment is an option for the treatment of certain types of vertigo, such as cervicogenic, which is caused by some type of mechanical problem in the neck. A chiropractor will conduct a thorough examination to determine if the neck is the culprit.
For example, if the dizziness occurs regardless of position or motion, it is less likely that the cause is the neck. However, if the dizziness increases by changing postures or positions, it may be cervicogenic. Cervical vertigo is caused by an injury to the neck, such as whiplash, and is characterized by a misalignment of the cervical vertebrae that can result in the body sending misinformation to the brain regarding position and movement.
If you are diagnosed with cervical vertigo, you may require one or more treatments involving spinal manipulation of the vertebrae in your neck as well as massage and soft tissue manipulation to alleviate any muscular tension associated with your compressed vertebrae. Chiropractic manipulation has proven to be an effective treatment for this type of vertigo, with one study reporting a 90 percent success rate.
Another common cause of vertigo and dizziness is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), also called benign vertigo or positional vertigo. On average, approximately 20 percent of all cases of dizziness are due to BPPV, with about half of all dizziness in older patients prompted by the condition.
While it is prone to recurrence, BPPV is typically not a sign of a serious health problem and is caused by a problem in the inner ear. Specifically, inside the inner ear canals are teeny calcium particles. When you stand up or turn your head, the stones move around to help you keep your balance. Various conditions can hinder or prevent the calcium’s movement, including infection and inflammation. When this happens, the brain does not get the proper data, which can result in vertigo, the sensation of spinning or tilting when you are not.
Most of the time, BPPV usually lasts a minute or two. Sometimes it is mild; other times it can be bad enough to cause nausea and even vomiting. Bouts of BPPV often resolve without treatment after a few weeks. But many patients have reported that chiropractic adjustment helps alleviate the condition.
Remember that chiropractic adjustments are not recommended for all types of vertigo, so it is vital to be checked out so your practitioner or medical doctor can determine the cause in your particular case.