Imagine yourself jogging outdoors or sitting at work, and suddenly it feels like you are on a ride at an amusement park – that’s how people with vertigo feel during a vertigo episode. Vertigo is a kind of dizziness that makes you feel as if you or your environment is spinning.
The sensation may hit unexpectedly and vanish just as quickly, or it may last for hours or even days. It could be deadly if it occurs in dangerous situations such as when you are driving or operating heavy equipment. People with vertigo experience other symptoms too:
- Feeling off balanced or being pulled in one direction
- Nausea and vomiting
- Double vision
- Ringing in the ears or hearing loss
- Racing heartbeat
- Nystagmus or involuntary eye movements
Dizziness is one of the leading causes of trips to the emergency room for the elderly, according to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. But vertigo is usually caused by some other health condition. Some patients go years without getting a correct diagnosis.
Conditions Connected to Vertigo
Vertigo can be due to problems in the brain, other parts of the central nervous system, or the inner ear. It is often a symptom of conditions such as the following:
- Vestibular neuritis: This happens when the vestibular nerve or the nerve responsible for the body’s sense of balance becomes inflamed, resulting in dizziness. Vertigo may last for a day or more and can be debilitating. People with this condition may even experience hearing loss. Luckily, 95% of patients make a full recovery and are never bothered with it again, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): The most prevalent vestibular ailment, this occurs when otoconia (calcium crystals) build up in the canals of the inner ear. When they shift to where they do not belong, it causes a sensation of motion. That signal is relayed to the brain, resulting in the feeling of vertigo. BPPV can happen any time, for no apparent reason, but it has been seen to occur after a person experiences a head trauma.
- Meniere’s disease: This results from the buildup of fluid and changing pressure in the inner ear. It can include ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and nausea and vomiting. Meniere’s is a rare disorder and adults age 40 to 60 are the ones usually affected.
- Labyrinthitis: This condition causes severe vertigo accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and feeling off balanced. It is started by a viral infection affecting the labyrinth (the system of loopy tubes and sacs in the inner ear). You may have a feeling of fullness in the ear or tinnitus along with balance issues.
- Vestibular migraines: It is a problem in the nervous system that causes recurring dizziness or vertigo. Doctors are unsure of the cause, but some credit it to the stimulation of the trigeminal nerve that leads to nystagmus. Women are more likely to have vestibular migraines than men are.
- Head or brain injuries: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause vertigo due to the damage of the sensory organs inside the inner ear. Doctors report that between 30% to 65% of people with TBI suffer from dizziness and disequilibrium, the lack of balance while sitting or standing.
Common Triggers for Vertigo Attacks
Certain things may bring about vertigo. It is essential to be aware of your personal triggers to stay away from danger and complications with vertigo. Try to avoid these triggers as much as possible.
- Head position: If you have BPPV, changing your head position or moving too suddenly can often bring on a vertigo attack.
- Motion sickness: Vertigo may follow when you get on a cruise ship or take a short boat ride. The rocking sensation may last for a couple of days before it completely goes away.
- Dehydration: Not drinking enough water can dehydrate you, which may cause the spinning feeling of vertigo.
- Medication side effects: Some medications include vertigo as one of the potential side effects, especially when the dosage given is too high. It is better to start at a low dose when taking new medications, then slowly increase with your doctor’s advice.
- Migraines: Those who experience migraines with an aura are at a higher risk of having vertigo. Some of the symptoms of migraine-related vertigo are dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
- Stress: Too much stress or even a substantial decrease in it may bring about vertigo. Many people report dealing with a stressor before a vertigo attack..
- Foods with too much sugar or salt: Sodium can cause body fluid imbalance, which leads to building up of pressure in the inner ear. In addition, foods full of sugar can also bring on vertigo because of their effect on your blood sugar levels.
- Caffeine or alcohol: Too much caffeine intake or withdrawing from it can prompt vertigo. Alcohol disrupts the equilibrium of the body, causing vertigo.
- Anxiety: The feeling of vertigo tends to come during intense anxiety attacks. Anxiety is linked to multiple sensations resembling the experience of vertigo such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea.
- Sinus or viral infections: Sinus-induced vertigo can range from mild to severe and includes symptoms like dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, and fatigue.
- Prolonged bed rest: Excessive bed rest may cause your blood to pool in the legs. Standing up can lead to dizziness and falls. Days of immobility also decreases the volume of blood in the body and decreases oxygen uptake by the brain and can lead to vertigo.
Doctors highly advise keeping track of the vertigo symptoms you are experiencing. It’s a good idea to have a diary to record your activities each time the vertigo hits. This can help you pinpoint what your personal triggers are. Most bouts of vertigo are rarely life-threatening. However, if it begins to affect your daily activities or happens more frequently, immediately consult with your family doctor.
A Natural Treatment for Persistent Vertigo in Escondido, California
If you have been experiencing vertigo attacks that are not associated with any underlying condition stated above, you could be a candidate for upper cervical chiropractic treatment. Here at Rickards Chiropractic in Escondido, California, we understand the relationship between the bones of the upper neck and the body’s balance system. Do not hesitate to call or visit our Escondido clinic for a consultation.
Any misalignment in the C1 and C2 vertebrae can put pressure on the brainstem and cause it to send false signals to the brain about the location of the body. Consequently, if the brainstem sends a message that the body is in motion when it is not, vertigo can ensue.
We use the Blair chiropractic technique, a specific method of examining and adjusting the upper cervical vertebrae of the spine. We focus on the C1 and C2 vertebrae and use neurological tests, heat sensitive instrumentation, and other means to detect and correct misalignment in this area. Our method naturally assists the bones in returning to place without force.
Unlike what is common in traditional chiropractic practice, we do not perform loud cracking of the neck to attain results. The success of our method lasts longer, and most of our patients see improvements in their vertigo symptoms even in a short period of time.