The vestibular system is the part of the brain that controls our balance and stability, and even plays a role in maintaining proper neck motion. Vertigo, dizziness, and balance disorders (disequilibrium) are common symptoms that many people suffer with when there is dysfunction in the vestibular system.
Causes of Vertigo
There are many causes of dizziness and vertigo; some cases of vertigo can be caused by dysfunction of the joints in the neck. This is known as cervicogenic vertigo. Still other causes, in the absence of disease, include imbalances in the brain, specifically the cerebellum or the cerebral hemispheres.
One of the most common causes of vertigo is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) which causes severe dizziness and spinning sensations with movements of the head. Patients will often describe “turning over in bed and suddenly feeling the room spin.” A person with BPPV may lean their head back to look upward and feel spinning. This may happen on just one side, for example, leaning the head back to the right and not the left.
BPPV is usually a result of calcium carbonate crystals that line the inner ear dislodging and settling in the inner ear canals. The crystals clump together, preventing the movement of inner ear fluid which functions to provide a feeling of stability when turning the head. If the fluid cannot move, a person can experience spinning sensations, imbalance, sensitivity to sounds, ringing in the ears and nausea if the condition becomes chronic. Because of gravity, the debris (crystals) usually settles in the back part of the inner ear canal. This is why leaning the head backwards brings on the symptoms in many cases.
Very often those who are diagnosed with a vestibular disorder find they are limited in their options for treatment that do not include drugs or surgery. Typically, the normal routine for patients is to have numerous diagnostic tests performed including MRIs, X-rays, and blood chemistry panels to rule out disease processes such as cancer, infection, or damage to the vestibular system. The diagnostic tests are frequently negative for disease, but the person still suffers with the condition.
In cases such as BPPV, medications are often prescribed, such as the popular Antivert (Meclizine) which may help with the symptoms, but do not correct the cause. Oftentimes a simple, non-invasive procedure known as the Epley maneuver or particle repositioning can be performed to maneuver the crystals out of the canal. In many cases this procedure alleviates the symptoms of vertigo/dizziness/ disequilibrium — without prescription medication.
We understand that most people do not want to live on medications and are interested in more natural therapies.
The Holistic Approach
Chiropractic Neurology provides an alternative for those who suffer with vestibular disorders who seek therapies that do not involve drugs or surgery, helping to improve neurological function naturally and and non-invasively. Through thorough examination and evaluation, our doctors can determine the cause of your vertigo and develop a customized treatment plan to help correct the cause of your symptoms.
You can learn more about dizziness, vertigo and balance disorders by visiting the Vestibular Disorder Association at http://www.vestibular.org/.