Vertigo, along with general dizziness, is one of the main reasons people make visits to their primary care physicians. It comes in among back pain and headaches as top complaints. Falling can be a consequence of dizziness, and if it happens with an elderly person, the risk becomes more complicated as you add on other neurological deficits and medical problems. Falling also adds the risk of fracturing bones, leading to even more issues for the person.
Those experiencing dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance make up around 5 to 10 percent of the population. However, once the age of 40 is reached, the percentage increases to 40 percent. In those over the age of 65, the incidence of falling reaches 25 percent. In the years 1995 through 2004, vertigo and dizziness made up 2.5 percent of the visits to the emergency room. In 2011, the visits to the emergency room for vertigo or dizziness was 3.9 million.
Another report (from the Swedish National study on Aging and Care) stated that in patients under the age of 80, falls were at 16.5 percent and dizziness was at 17.8 percent. When the patients reached the age of 80 or older, falls came in at 31.7 percent and dizziness at 31.0 percent. Older patients had more general predictive factors, whereas younger ones had more specific predictive factors.
Vertigo, dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and hearing loss are usually associated with inner ear diseases rather than central nervous system diseases. Mild hearing loss is the most common disability worldwide. Around 40 percent of those over the age of 40 have hearing loss, while 25 percent of the general population (any age range) report tinnitus. Migraines are more prevalent (10 percent) than Meniere’s disease (less than 1 percent). As many as 40 percent of those having migraines have vertigo, motion sickness, and mild hearing loss. This makes it difficult to determine if vertigo is coming from a migraine or from an inner ear disorder.
Seeking Care for Vertigo and Dizziness
Most primary care physicians will evaluate your dizziness and vertigo and determine what the next step should be. Neurologists are sometimes included, depending on what is going on. Your medical history will be taken and an examination will be done to try to identify the underlying cause. Testing may include auditory, vestibular, radiologic, and complimentary blood tests. This will help narrow down the diagnosis and tailor care to your specific problem.
Care may include vestibular rehabilitation and medication. Safety issues must be discussed with you and your family. Occupational and physical therapists may be able to help in this area.
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and vertigo download our complimentary e-book How to Naturally Relieve Vertigo without Drugs by clicking the image below.
What Exactly Is Vertigo?
Although we have talked about the statistics surrounding vertigo, we haven’t really addressed what it is. It is a false sense of movement that makes you feel as if you or the things in the environment around you are spinning. If you experience vertigo you may feel as if you are:
- Off balance
- Being pulled in one direction
Other symptoms may include:
- Being nauseous
- Nystagmus (abnormal eye movements)
- Hearing loss
- Headaches or migraines
Symptoms may last for a few minutes or a few hours, and they may be intermittent.
Causes of Vertigo
Since vertigo is a symptom of another condition, let’s take a look at what some of these are.
- Meniere’s disease: An inner ear disorder attributed to a buildup of excess fluid in the ear leading to a change in the pressures of the ear. It causes vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: Also referred to as BPPV, this happens when tiny crystals of calcium, called canaliths, clump up in the canals of the inner ear. The ear is responsible for sending signals to the brain about movements of the head and body related to gravity in order to help you keep your balance. These crystals interfere with this and can cause balance issues.
- Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis: An inner ear issue usually due to a viral infection that has caused inflammation around the nerves responsible for sensing balance.
- Migraine headaches
- Certain medications that cause ear damage
- Stroke, tumor, or other brain problems
- Head or neck injury
Getting Relief for Vertigo Through Proper Spinal Alignment
What is the best way to know if a particular course of care will work for you? Case studies can give you some insight. A case study observed 60 patients who had been diagnosed with vertigo. Out of these, 56 recalled having some form of head or neck trauma prior to the onset of their vertigo. Upon examination, it was noted that all 60 had a misaligned vertebra in the top of their neck. Each was given an adjustment tailored to their specific needs by an upper cervical chiropractor. All responded positively within one to six months of care. Of these, 48 reported a total remission of their vertigo, while the remaining ones saw a huge improvement. This shows there is a definite link between upper cervical misalignments and vertigo.
The reason this improves vertigo symptoms has to do with the function of the brainstem. The brainstem is protected by the top bones of the neck, the C1 and C2 vertebrae. If these bones move out of place, they put the brainstem under stress and cause it to send improper signals to the brain about the body’s movement and location. This results in vertigo.
At Precision Chiropractic West, we use a method similar to the one used in the study above. It is a very gentle technique that does not involve cracking or popping the back or neck. Rather, we encourage the bones to move back into place more naturally so that the adjustment lasts longer and does no further damage to muscles or tissues. Once realigned, proper signals can once again be sent to the brain and vertigo may improve or become a thing of the past.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Laurel Griffin call 515-224-1093 or go to http://info.precisionchirowest.com/west-des-moines-chiropractor-consultation/