How Chiropractic Can Assist Vertigo / Dizziness

Dizziness is a common symptom presenting in chiropractic patients, especially after head and neck trauma. Vertigo can be a very disabling complaint. It is a sense of dizziness or spinning, sometimes associated with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and sweating.

It can have many causes and in most cases it is a treatable condition. The treatment used obviously depends on the cause. That is why the chiropractor has to do a thorough examination when you first come in for treatment. The good news is that the most common causes respond well to conservative care. Functional spinal problems, particularly in the upper neck, can produce symptoms of dizziness, and if this is the cause, then they respond well to normal chiropractic adjustment techniques applied carefully to the neck.

There are other, more serious, causes of vertigo such as stroke, tumours and neurological diseases such as MS. With these conditions there are other symptoms present as well and they are normally picked up in the chiropractic and neurological examination.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is an inner ear condition that causes brief, severe episodes of vertigo feeling like the room is spinning.

Whilst it can occur in children, the older you are, the more likely it is that your dizziness is due to BPPV. About 50% of all dizziness in older patients is due to BPPV. It is important to note that the risk of serious / life threatening injury secondary to a fall increases with advancing age, so chiropractic may have an important role to play in the prevention of these injuries in the elderly.

In half of all cases, BPPV is called “idiopathic”, which means it occurs for no known reason.
Chiropractors are able to diagnose this condition after taking a full case history and performing a physical and neurological examination.

Treatment of BPPV

The condition is treated by certain repositioning manoeuvres.

Our chiropractors are trained to perform the Epley Manoeuvre, which is a simple and well-tolerated technique that will resolve BPPV in the majority of patients.

The chiropractor will move you into specific positions depending on what has previously been found in the assessment, using gravity to move the calcium carbonate crystals away into an area of the inner ear where they will cause no further symptoms.

The treatment is very effective and within 3-4 treatments 80% are symptom free.The symptoms can recur and research shows a relatively low recurrence rate of about 15 percent per year.

Chiropractic treatment might not be the first thing you think of if you have dizziness, but the manoeuvres and treatment used is the same as you would have if you go to medical clinicians who specialise in these conditions.

Chiropractic is not suited for all types of dizziness, but if we can’t help you we will refer you back to your GP for further investigation.

Don’t rely on symptomatic relief. Taking tablets for this condition is not the answer.

Richard G. Strunk and Cheryl Hawk. Effects of chiropractic care on dizziness, neck pain, and balance: a single-group, preexperimental, feasibility study.J Chiropr Med. 2009 Dec; 8(4): 156–164.

Kendall JC, Hartvigsen J, French SD, Azari MF.Is there a role for neck manipulation in elderly falls prevention? – An overview.J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2015 Mar;59(1):53-63.

Hilton MP, Pinder DK.The Epley (canalith repositioning) manoeuvre for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Dec 8;(12):CD003162.

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