Thursday, May 20, 2010


It's not uncommon for people to seek chiropractic care for the treatment of vertigo. Vertigo is characterized by the perception of dizziness or motion when one is stationary. Some describe a sensation of being pulled toward the floor or toward one side of the room. Symptoms of vertigo are intensified by moving the head or changing position in any way.

In my office, the majority of patients presenting with vertigo fall into one of three treatable categories:

1.Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo ( BPPV ): Patients present with intermittent ( i.e. come and go) sensations of vertigo that last a few seconds to a few minutes. Other associated symptoms may include a migraine headache, light headedness, nausea, imbalance that can be caused by any change in position. Individuals suffering from vertigo most often experience symptoms when they tilt their heads back to look up. Symptoms of BPPV are caused by dislodged calcium crystals moving through the semicircular canals of the inner ear. BPPV can be caused by a head injury or the degeneration of the inner ear in older people. My treatment of BPPV is very simple and involves either Epley's or Semmont's maneuvers. These are non-adjustive gentle techniques used to move the calcium deposits out of the inner ear. If BPPV was caused by a head injury, as part of the treatment, I would also treat any associated neck dysfunction.

2.Menier's disease: Patients not only present with signs of vertigo but often with associated ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and ear pressure. This type of vertigo can last hours to days. The cause of Menier's type vertigo is uncertain but is generally believed to be related to excess fluid in the inner ear that bursts or spills from its normal channels. My treatment of Menier's disease focuses primarily on diet and nutrition but, depending on the patient, may also include chiropractic adjustive treatment of the ear and upper neck.

3.Cervical Vertigo: Patients present with vertigo that, occasionally, is associated with ringing in the ears or general ear discomfort. There should be no hearing loss. Cervical vertigo often follows an injury to the head or neck, usually related to a car accident. The symptoms may present a day or 6 six months following the accident. The most common cause of cervical vertigo is mechanical pressure on the spinal cord caused by a disruption in the curve of the neck. My treatment of cervical vertigo focuses on restoring the proper movement and function of the neck. The treatment often includes soft tissue massage, ultrasound, gentle mechanical traction and decompression as well as chiropractic adjustments.

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