How Can a Chiropractor Help with Vertigo?

Vertigo patient seeking chiropractor

Feeling dizzy? And the world seems to be spinning around you. Maybe it’s due to vertigo. But can a chiropractor help with vertigo?

It happens very often, and it’s not a good sign. Vertigo is a very common disease nowadays.

I found many people with vertigo are very much fed up with taking medicines for that long and have almost given up hope of getting cured and looking for some other type of treatment.

Chiropractors are thought of as a medical specialty, which deals with neck and back pain. Well, I have seen people recovering through chiropractic adjustments of the spine and body; it might help reduce or even stop vertigo.

Let’s have a look at how can a chiropractor help with vertigo, its causes, symptoms, and benefits over other kinds of treatment.

Understanding Vertigo and its Causes

Vertigo is a prevalent disease in the United States in which a patient experiences a sense of false spinning movements as if the world is revolving around him. The patient feels as if he is suddenly been pulled in one direction and at the very next moment to the other. This overwhelming change in the patient’s balance and orientation makes it difficult to do daily activities.

Vertigo is believed to have several causes as mentioned below:

PERIPHERAL

CENTRAL

OTHERS

  • Motion sickness
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Meniere Disease
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Brain stem infarct
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Posterior fossa tumors
  • Arnold Chiari deformity
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Cardiac  causes i.e. Hypertension
  • GI causes i.e. GERD
  • Psychogenic i.e. PTSD, ANXIETY
  • Drugs i.e. aminoglycosides, diuretics

Signs and Symptoms

women with Vertigo symptoms waiting for a help from chiropractor

Appearance of vertigo varies a little bit from patient to patient but some of the typical signs and symptoms are:

Signs

  • Nystagmus i.e. uncontrolled rapid eye movements
  • Facial paralysis + slurred speech if the cause is central

Symptoms

  • Sudden onset
  • Nausea and sweating
  • Asymptomatic periods in between
  • Ringing in ears i.e. tinnitus
  • Rolling spin during attacks
  • Headache and Dizziness triggered by head movement
  • Double vision

**Symptoms disappear in 20-30 seconds after attack.

Chiropractic Assessment of Vertigo

Chiropractors start the treatment after assessing the patients whether the vertigo of the patient is happening due to which cause, either peripheral or central. Following are the ways of assessment that chiropractors mostly perform:

Dix-Hallpipe Maneuver

This maneuver is important in diagnosing Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). The patient is made to sit at 45 degrees for a while and then asked to lean backward. While leaning backward the patient his eyes must be wide open and one ear must be pointing toward the ground. At the same time chiropractor will have to look in his eyes for nystagmus i.e. abnormal movement of eyes. If nystagmus occurs then BPPV is confirmed.

While discussing this maneuver a question arises in the reader’s mind What is BPPV? It is the second most common cause of vertigo in which crystals that are part of the balance system (vestibule) of the inner ear get dislodged due to any head trauma or any other cause and collects in semicircular canals of the inner ear.

Along with the movement of your head that crystal moves and the brain perceives it as a different signal and sends it to the eyes and muscles. So eyes and muscles adjust themselves according to a signal received but in actuality, these adjustments will make him fall.

Romberg’s Test

This test is helpful to assess the balancing ability of a patient. In this test patient is made to stand upright while closing his eyes, if he tends to fall then he might have inappropriate proprioception. This test indicates poor balance in BPPV-affected patients.

Confrontation (Eye Movement) Test

In this test, patients have to follow the fingertip of their chiropractor. This will check the external muscles of the eye. If any defect in those muscles then the patient’s eyeball speed will not match finger speed. This abnormality can be the cause of vertigo and needs an ophthalmologist.

Neck examination

Neck mobility will be assessed, if there will be reduced movements in any direction then radiological intervention will be required to see anatomical structures. Then for musculoskeletal abnormality chiropractic intervention will be required.

How Can a Chiropractor Help with Vertigo?

chiropractor helping female patient with Vertigo

Chiropractors have not got much to do with central causes of vertigo. Still, in peripheral causes such as BPPV, Labyrinthitis, and cervical spondylosis, it may be beneficial to have sessions with a chiropractor. As per my professional experience, I have seen many patients recovering well from that overwhelming disease.

Now question is how can a chiropractor help with vertigo? And the answer is that chiropractors treat this disease in various ways which are mentioned below:

Neck and Spine Alignment

Picture your spine as the body’s information highway, and your neck as a crucial intersection. If there’s a traffic jam – misalignment – it can lead to mixed signals in your brain, causing vertigo. Chiropractors aim to unclog these traffic jams by applying pressure on targeted areas, helping your body communicate smoothly.

Epley’s maneuver

This maneuver is quite beneficial in BPPV. As we have explained this disease very well above in this article, now we will try to explain how a chiropractor will remove that crystal from the semicircular canal (balance system) of the inner ear back to the utricle.

In this patient sits now and the health care provider will move the patient’s head to the right at 45 degrees and the patient moves backward on the bed while maintaining the position of the head.

Nystagmus will appear for 4-5 seconds. Now patient’s head is moved to the left 45 degrees and the patient has to change his lie to the left side while maintaining his head in the left lateral. After that patient has to sit again while maintaining the neck position.

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)

Now, let’s talk about Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT). This is a specialized form of therapy that focuses on exercises to improve balance and reduce dizziness. Chiropractors often incorporate VRT into their treatment plans to provide a comprehensive approach. VRT includes activities that challenge your balance and coordination, helping your brain and body adapt to changes in movement more effectively.

Counseling

Counseling weighs as much in treating any disease as treatment itself.  Chiropractors counsel patients with vertigo and dizziness in a way that is described below in the form of various exercises to do at home:

  • Height adjustable neck pillow is placed under the patient’s head and then pressed by the head while counting up to 10.
  • Balance exercises
  • Catching exercises
  • Eye exercises such as watching a pen while holding it in hand and moving it in all directions.

Emergency Management of Sudden Attack of Vertigo

While at home if you encounter a sudden attack of vertigo you must do the following maneuvers:

  • Lie flat: Find a comfy spot
  • Stay calm: Take deep breaths using abdominal muscles
  • Turn Head Slowly: Move it to the less dizzy side
  • Drink Water: Stay hydrated
  • Focus on Still Point: Drive your attention toward something pleasant
  • Move Slowly: Avoid sudden moves
  • Hold onto Something: Use support if needed
  • Wait it Out: It may pass.

Case study

John, a 45-year-old man, had been struggling with dizziness and a sensation of spinning, symptoms of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) for the last 5 years. This was making it hard for him to handle day-to-day activities.

He decided to see a chiropractor for help. The chiropractor performed an Epley’s Maneuver, a head movement technique, to shift misplaced crystals in John’s ear. His dizziness reduced, and the spinning sensation stopped altogether after 3-4 consecutive sessions. The chiropractor counseled him about what exercises he had to do at home.

In his follow up John said that chiropractic care improved his life significantly this particular case study shows how a chiropractor helped a patient with vertigo!

FAQ’S

1. How do chiropractors fix vertigo?

Chiropractors fix vertigo through the following methods:

  • Adjustments of spine
  • Epley’s maneuver
  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy
  • Other exercises such as catching, balance, and eye exercises.

2. Should I see an ENT or chiropractor for vertigo?

Depending on what’s causing your vertigo, your course of action will differ. Should the root cause be a middle ear infection or trauma to the middle ear, it’s necessary to consult an ENT specialist. However, if you’re dealing with conditions like BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) Cervical Spondylosis, or any other musculoskeletal condition, a visit to the chiropractor would be more appropriate.

3. What specialist is best for vertigo?

In most instances, a multidisciplinary approach is required. ENT doctors often collaborate with audiologists and neurologists for diagnosis. However, nowadays, the emphasis has shifted towards supportive treatments, such as spinal adjustments and Epley’s maneuver.

4. What is the most serious type of vertigo?

According to the American Institute of Balance, peripheral vertigo is more serious than central vertigo. Internal ear problems mostly cause a peripheral type of vertigo.

Bottom Line

Vertigo can turn your world upside down, but a chiropractor can help set things right. Through careful adjustments and targeted maneuvers, these specialists can address the root causes of vertigo, providing relief without resorting to medication or surgery.

With gentle spine adjustments, improved blood flow, and a better connection to your inner ear, chiropractic care might just be the key to putting your world back in balance.

So, if you’re ready to kick vertigo to the curb, give chiropractic care a try – your steady steps await!

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