Vertigo Guide: Causes, Symptoms, Tests & Treatment
Vertigo is the false feeling of spinning even when you are not moving at all. Some of our patients here at Trillium Spinal Care in Rochester, Minnesota describe vertigo as a feeling of motion sickness or riding on a fast tilt-a-whirl ride. Vertigo is a false sense of motion and is considered one of the leading medical conditions in the world. It is sorted into two types:
- Subjective Vertigo: When you feel like you are moving.
- Objective Vertigo: When it feels like your surroundings are moving.
Vertigo is different from lightheadedness. Vertigo has quite a few causes and is no way infectious.
Peripheral and Central Vertigo
Vertigo has two categories: peripheral and central.
- Peripheral: This type is caused by an issue in the vestibular nerve or inner ear. This nerve links the inner ear and the brain.
- Central: This type is due to a problem with the brain (particularly the cerebellum) and central nervous system. The cerebellum directs body movements and maintains balance.
16 Conditions That May Cause Vertigo
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): It occurs due to calcium crystals that have traveled into the wrong area of the ear and are suspended in the semicircular canals of the inner ear. This is the most common form of vertigo that lasts from 15 seconds to a few minutes. It is often prompted by changes in the position of your head, such as turning over in bed.
- Meniere’s disease: This is an inner ear ailment that comes with vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus. Meniere’s patients suffer from the abrupt onset of intense vertigo and varying hearing loss with intervals of no symptoms in between episodes. It can be linked to allergies, viral infections, genetics, and a head injury.
- Acute peripheral vestibulopathy (APV): The swelling of the inner ear which results in the sudden onset of vertigo
- Inflammation of the inner ear: It is also called labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis, and it is recognized for the unexpected onset of vertigo. A bacterial or viral infection in the inner ear usually triggers it. Some patients may experience temporary hearing loss. It can persist for days until the irritation calms down.
- Migraine: A neurological condition that usually involves a severe headache and may include vertigo
- Head trauma and neck injury
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy: Women may feel the sensation of vertigo when they are pregnant and have low blood sugar
- Perilymphatic fistula: Irregular communication between the middle and inner ear.
- Acoustic neuroma: This is a rare cause of vertigo that is associated with a tumor of the nerve tissue of the inner ear. Besides vertigo, ringing in one ear and hearing loss may also occur.
- Otosclerosis: An atypical bone development in the middle ear
- Cholesteatoma erosion: Deterioration initiated by a cyst in the inner ear
- A tumor in the cerebellum
- Multiple sclerosis: The start is usually sudden and may involve the incapacity of the eyes to move past the midline toward the nose
- Anxiety and panic attacks: These can also cause episodes of vertigo. Stress may worsen the symptoms, but it does not produce them.
- Diabetes: Complications brought by diabetes can result in toughening of the arteries which cause a reduction in blood flow to the brain.
Signs and Symptoms of Vertigo
Imagine your room spinning or moving like during an earthquake or a carnival ride. Vertigo has been said to feel very similar to that. It is more than the sensation of being off-balance and losing equilibrium. It is the false sensation of movement or spinning. Vertigo can stay for minutes or last for hours and can either display chronic or episodic symptoms. It may also come with the following:
- Irregular headaches
- Aura or visual disturbances
- Stumbling while trying to walk
- Abnormal eye movements
- Difficulty speaking
- Reduced consciousness
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Hearing loss
Tests for Vertigo Diagnosis
To be given a vertigo diagnosis, your doctor may order you to undergo an MRI or CT scan to examine your case thoroughly and determine the origin of the problem. He or she may also ask you to do a series of tests including the following:
- Head-thrust test: You stare at your doctor’s nose, and he or she does a swift head movement to the side to know if you have precise eye movement.
- Fukuda–Unterberger test: You march in position with your eyes closed to see if you start to lean from side to side.
- Dix–Hallpike test: While sitting on the test table, you’re briefly lowered so you are lying down with your head vaguely to the left or right. Your eye movements will be watched to study your vertigo.
- Romberg test: Standing with your feet together and eyes open, you then close your eyes to find out if you can keep your balance.
How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Can Cure Vertigo
Vertigo is often associated with a misaligned vertebra in the upper cervical spine. The C1 and C2 vertebrae are prone to misalignment due to their mobility and position. Any trauma caused by whiplash, car and sports accidents, or even a simple trip and fall can lead to a misalignment. If there is a misaligned bone in the spine, the C1 and C2 vertebrae that should be protecting the brainstem put pressure on it instead. This results in sending improper messages to the brain about the body’s position in its surrounding, with vertigo becoming the end result.
Here at our upper cervical chiropractic clinic, we locate the area of misalignment in the neck through a series of technical measurements and imaging. We then perform a unique, gentle method that does not crack the neck or spine. Instead, we encourage the bones to return into their correct position naturally. This supports a longer-lasting adjustment and fewer visits to our clinic. Almost all our patients report improvement in their vertigo symptoms after receiving our care.