Is my dizziness coming from my neck?

Dizziness is a frustrating symptom to have-especially if you have been suffering from it for a while. Dizziness can be described as making us feel light-headed, woozy or unbalanced. What is important to note is that dizziness is not a disease but rather a symptom of a disorder or disease. One may also encounter vertigo which is a form of dizziness. Vertigo makes one feel as if they themselves or the environment around them is spinning or moving. Depending on the severity, vertigo can make it difficult to manage everyday tasks like walking or driving because of the feeling of being off-balance.

Dizziness can be caused by a wide variety of conditions. Dizziness that comes before fainting is usually because of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) or hypotension (low blood pressure). Dizziness can be caused by other conditions such as: decreased blood volume, anxiety, anaemia, dehydration, ear infections, vision problems, metabolic problems,  meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis, heat stroke, dehydration, motion sickness, excessive exercise, BPPV (benign positional paroxysmal vertigo), vestibular neuritis, TIA’s (transient ischaemic attacks), head and neck injuries and cervicogenic dizziness. If dizziness is coming from the neck, it is termed cervicogenic dizziness.

It can be difficult for healthcare professionals to differentiate between vascular, vestibular or cervicogenic causes of dizziness. Cervicogenic dizziness symptoms include: unsteadiness, disorientation, neck pain, headaches and a decreased cervical range of motion. The way in which cervicogenic dizziness can be differentiated from vestibular (ear) causes has to do with neck movement. If a patient feels dizzy when their neck position changes or if they move their neck, it is most likely cervicogenic in origin. Cervicogenic dizziness can occur after whiplash injuries or from biomechanical, inflammatory or degenerative changes in the neck. Some believe that faulty cervical proprioceptive inputs may be the reason for cervicogenic dizziness. (Proprioception refers to our body’s ability to perceive its position in space.)

One of the treatment options for cervicogenic dizziness includes a visit to a chiropractor. Your chiropractor will treat your cervical spine through performing cervical manipulation and other soft tissue treatments, in order to relieve your dizziness symptoms. The relief may be due to the resolution of faulty proprioceptive inputs, an increase in cervical spine range of motion and a decrease in pain.

Ref: “Chiropractic spinal manipulative treatment of cervicogenic dizziness using Gonstead method: a case study.” (2011). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3259942/ (Accessed 08-06-21) “How to diagnose cervicogenic dizziness” (2017). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5759906/#:~:text=Cervicogenic%20dizziness%20is%20characterized%20by,causes%20of%20dizziness%20are%20excluded

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