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What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is the feeling of dizziness. More accurately it is a feeling of perceived motion that you, or the inside of your head, is spinning. Vertigo originates from a problem with the vestibular system found in your inner ear, or deeper within, in your Central Nervous System (CNS). Some of the symptoms you might experience with vertigo can be headache, neck pain, vision problems, or even ringing in your ears (tinnitus).


Vertigo can be triggered by a multitude of things. Acute or sudden instances like a trauma like whiplash injury during a car crash or a concussion playing sports. It can be caused by more chronic issues like Meniere’s disease, hypertension, or even tumors and cancer. The onset of vertigo can be a secondary symptom from things like migraines, an infection, a negative food reaction, or even from an inappropriate combination of prescription medication. Lastly, they can even be brought on by movement of your head and neck, and the bones that comprise them.

Common Types

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo. Unlike other forms of vertigo, BPPV comes on without an immediately known trigger. BPPV is caused by free floating crystals made of calcium carbonate in the inner ear. These free floating objects then affect the vestibular system, found in the inner ear, during specific changes in the position of your head. This might occur when you tip your head up or down, when you lie down, or when you turn over or sit up in bed. BPPV causes a sudden sensation that you are spinning and causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness.

Cervicogenic Vertigo is another form of vertigo that might come on suddenly for what seems as an unknown reason. Cervicogenic vertigo is caused by an increase in muscle tension in the head and neck region. This is because there is a vertebral misalignment, or Subluxation, causing tension of a muscle. This muscle tension not only puts pressure on the surrounding soft tissue, but can also affect blood flow or the adjacent nerve sending signals to the brain. The combined results of this Subluxation can lead to the symptom of vertigo, among others.

How can your Chiropractor help?

The first step, your Chiropractor will be able to correctly identify any Subluxation that may be the cause of any increased tension or instability in your spine. By returning your spine to proper alignment your body has the power to better resolve vertigo. One specific study showed that of 60 patients, 80% were symptom free within 1- 6 months, while the rest were showing improvement. Also, your Chiropractor can help you with properly performing Epley’s Maneuver, which has shown up to 90% improvement in patients. Lastly, your chiropractor can recommend proper follow up if these methods prove to be ineffective over a period of time.