What is Cervical Vertigo?
Vertigo refers to severe dizziness, or experiencing a spinning sensation within the body. One person might feel like the world is spinning around. It is possible for them to feel like the world is spinning around even though they are still standing still. Anybody who has ever spun around and then stopped can feel vertigo. It feels like the body is spinning even though they have stopped spinning.
Vertigo can often be caused by an inner ear condition or another condition that may disrupt the body’s center for balance. The cause of cervical vertigo is however in the neck. Cervical vertigo is usually a sign of an underlying condition, such as a neck injury. After a trigger event, such as a sudden head turn, a person may experience dizziness. The dizziness can last from a few minutes up to several hours.
Cervical vertigo can be caused by a variety of factors, including traumatic injuries to the neck and chronic, long-term injuries. It is still a controversial issue to diagnose the condition. According to a study published in Archives of Physiotherapy Trusted Source, health professionals are not able to diagnose the cause of the symptoms accurately. The condition is not currently recognized as a definitive diagnosis. Doctors usually perform tests for other conditions and then rule out cervical vertigo.
A recent study in the journal Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology Trusted Source found that people with cervical vertigo may appear to doctors as people with migraine who also have neck injuries, and 94% of people with cervical vertigo report having neck pain. The signals sent by the muscles, nerves and joints of the neck to the inner ear and lower brain include signals about orientation and information about the body. This is part the body’s attempt to remain balanced and coordinated.
What are the symptoms for cervicogenic dizziness?
Cervicogenic dizziness symptoms can include dizziness or lightheadedness as well as the actual sensation of dizziness. The following symptoms are common:
- Disequilibrium is the feeling that one is about to fall while standing or walking.
- It’s as if one were swimming.
- Neck pain can cause sleep problems
- Neck pain can cause posture problems
- Tinnitus (ringing in your ears) and hearing loss
- Stiffness in the neck
- Shoulder pain
Whiplash injuries can occur when the neck is suddenly whipped backward and forth. Whiplash can be caused by a rear-end collision. Neck pain is the most common symptom of whiplash, but there may also be dizziness or other symptoms.
Whiplash can cause dizziness and brain injury. There is another possibility: the muscles and joints of the neck may become infected by specialized receptors (proprioceptors). Your brain may receive messages from the muscles and joints of your neck. These receptors provide feedback about the position of the neck and head. The proprioceptors located in the neck, along with the inner ears and eyes, are thought to play a part in maintaining balance. A injury to these proprioceptors can lead to feeling unsteady or dizzy.
Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency (VBI) can occur when one of the vertebral arterial gets inflamed or compressed within the cervical spine. VBI is a condition where blood flow to the brain, inner ears, and brain stem is reduced. This can lead to serious symptoms, such as dizziness. Bow Hunter’s syndrome is a type of VBI that causes temporary dizziness and other symptoms when the head is turned sideways (a bow hunter would). This type of compression is uncommon, but it is most common between the C1-C2 vertebrae in cervical spine.T he bone spur on a neck vertebra pinches the blood vessels when the head is turned.
Cervical Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is when trigger points in muscles or connective tissue develop. This condition is known as cervical myofascial syndrome if it is felt primarily in the neck. The condition can cause tender trigger points that can flare up during activity or touch, as well as muscle stiffness and achiness. Pain can also spread to the head and shoulders. Although cervical myofascial syndrome is uncommon, about one-third to three quarters of those with the condition experience dizziness.
There is no known cause for cervical myofascial pain syndrome. Previous injury, repetitive neck movements, poor posture and stress are all possible causes. Although the link between neck pain and dizziness remains unclear, evidence suggests that myofascial pain syndromes can be treated with medication, trigger point injections or physical therapy.
When should you see a doctor?
A doctor should be consulted if you experience dizziness that persists or continues. To determine the cause of dizziness and neck pain, a qualified medical professional can conduct a physical exam. Although there is no way to determine if a neck problem is causing dizziness or not, a doctor may be able to narrow down the possible causes and suggest treatments. Additional testing and spinal injections may be necessary to determine the cause of your pain and improve your quality life. If neck pain or dizziness is accompanied by other troubling symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and/or headaches, you should seek immediate medical attention. You may experience persistent nausea, severe headaches, fevers and chills, weakness, numbness or bowel/bladder dysfunction.
It is impossible to prevent cervical vertigo in all cases. Some causes, such as car accidents, may not be prevented. There are several things you can do to prevent the occurrence of other causes. Exercise the neck muscles to strengthen them can help reduce pressure and weight in the area. Sitting upright with your head, shoulders and spine aligned can reduce neck pressure and protect delicate structures. Regular stretching of the neck and regular chiropractic adjustments can help. Warm compresses may also be helpful.