Sunday, August 1, 2010


Definition of Vertigo

Vertigo is a type of dizziness felt as a shift in a person's relationship to the normal environment (a feeling that the room is spinning is common) or a sense of movement in space. Although dizziness and vertigo are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. While all vertigo is dizziness, not all dizziness is vertigo.

True vertigo, from the Latin "vertere," to turn, is a distinct, often severe form of dizziness that is a movement hallucination.

Description of Vertigo

There are four major types of dizziness - vertigo, presyncope, disequilibrium, and lightheadedness.

Most patients with true vertigo have a peripheral vestibular disorder, such as benign positional vertigo. This is usually associated with tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hearing loss.

Central disorders, such as brain stem or cerebellar lesions, tend to be more chronic but less intense than peripheral disorders and are not associated with hearing loss. Central disorders account for only 15 percent of patients with vertigo.

Vertigo is the illusion that you - or your surroundings - are moving. You may feel that you are spinning, tilting, rocking, or falling through space. You may vomit or have ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Also, your eyes may uncontrollably jerk back and forth (a condition called nystagmus).

Causes and Risk Factors of Vertigo

There are several causes of vertigo:

Benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV) is a disorder of the inner ear. The cause usually is unknown, but an upper respiratory tract infection or a minor blow to the head may be responsible. This type of vertigo occurs abruptly when you move your head up and down, or when you turn over in bed. Symptoms can be distressing but they fade in a few seconds. Avoiding positions that bring this on may reduce its occurrence.

BPPV is the commonest form of vertigo, with attacks lasting 30 to 60 seconds, typically set off when rolling over in bed, moving the head to one side or reaching for something ("top-shelf vertigo"). Sufferers can usually describe specific head movements that trigger it.

Although BPPV often occurs for no apparent reason, it can follow an ear infection, head or ear injury, and is thought to result from the dislodgement of normal crystalline structures in the ear's balance detectors. People with BPPV are often relieved to hear that it is due to an inner ear condition and does not signify some serious disorder such as a stroke or tumor.

Labyrinthitis refers to a variety of conditions within the inner ear. It may be associated with inflammation, an upper respiratory infection or nerve deterioration, but often occurs independently of other problems.

Central nervous system disorders that can cause vertigo as a symptom include multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, neck injuries, certain forms of migraine, acoustic neuroma, cerebellar and brain stem tumors, and TIAS (transient ischemic attacks).

Symptoms of Vertigo

A patient may experience severe vertigo for days or weeks. Nausea, vomiting, and involuntary eye movements are common. The condition gradually improves, but symptoms can persist for weeks or months.

chiropractic care for Vertigo

Chiropractic care can help significantly for dizziness and vertigo problems. more commonly, I find that the upper cervical region is where the problem begins. The occipital, atlas and axis area has a tremendous impact on how the body functions.

Upper Cervical Anatomy

The Skull, Atlas (C1) and Axis (C2) allow you to be able to move the head through most of the motion available in the neck. these bony structures protect and support the lower brain stem and top of the spinal cord. Subluxation of these joints will have various degrees of impact to the neural function of these pathways. Simple put, when the Atlas is out of place, the skull does not sit level on top of the  spine and the spine will shift left and right below the Atlas compensating for this shift.  With this type of subluxation,  the proprioceptors of the upper cervical region will fire into the cerebellum's balance centers, giving the sensation that either you or the room around you  is spinning. 
Adjustments to the Atlas, Axis and Occiput can provide relief to these symptoms.

There are several techniques that provide a very specific upper cervical adjustment to reduce the Atlas subluxation.   Talk to  your Chiropractor  if you are having any of these symptoms.
Renaissance Chiropractic Center
4902 Tacoma Mall Blvd
Tacoma WA 98409

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