Vertigo is defined as the sensation of whirling or spinning associated with a loss of balance. A person experiencing a vertigo episode can feel like he or she is spinning, or that the surroundings are moving. This can be very disturbing, especially when it’s not well understood why this is happening. Vertigo can have several causes, the majority of which have connections to inner ear function:
- BPPV – Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo occurs when small particles of calcium collect in the canals of the inner ear and interrupt signals to the brain regarding proper balance.
- Meniere’s disease – Symptoms consist of spontaneous vertigo episodes along with ringing and/or a feeling of fullness in the ear and hearing loss.
- Labyrinthitis – This inner ear problem is usually related to a viral infection that causes inflammation, leading to vertigo symptoms.
No matter what the condition, most standard vertigo treatments involve symptom management. This usually involves various medications to address the sensations of motion sickness and nausea. While this might provide some much-needed relief in the moment, many vertigo sufferers are looking for a solution that is longer lasting.
Because vertigo is related to inner ear function, many times a problem with the upper cervical spine is overlooked or ignored. However, the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) vertebrae are positioned just beneath the skull and surround the brainstem, which is a critical area for proper central nervous system function. A misalignment of these vertebrae can put abnormal stress or pressure on the brainstem and surrounding nerves and contribute to the root cause of vertigo symptoms.
At Providence Chiropractic, our approach towards adjusting the upper cervical spine is very specific and extremely gentle. We do a thorough analysis with each of our patients to determine if an atlas misalignment is present and if it is creating dysfunction within the nervous system. By addressing vertigo symptoms at their cause rather than masking them with medications or other treatments, it’s possible to achieve results that are effective and long lasting.