Chiropractic Treatments for Vertigo
Vertigo is the term used to describe any type of dizziness associated with a feeling of movement, often a spinning sensation, which may be from a disease of the inner ear or from disturbances in impulses in the nervous system. Chiropractic treatment is an option for the treatment of some types of vertigo.
Chiropractic manipulation targets joints that are moving improperly. In the upper neck, faulty muscle movement patterns can result in misinformation about body position and movement being communicated from the joints to the brain. This type of cervicogenic vertigo, is more likely be affected by chiropractic manipulation. In a study published in the “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,” October 1991, chiropractor Don Fitz-Ritson reported a 90 percent success rate when treating this type of vertigo with manipulation.
The inner ear is the body’s balance center, the vesibulocochlear system. This complex system of fluid-filled tubes is lined with hair-like sensors that provide information to the brain about position, movement and speed of movement. In some individuals, debris may become lodged in the vestibulocochlear apparatus. When the debris settles on sensitive nerves within the tubes, the brain can perceive the input as movement. If the patient’s vertigo appears to be coming from the inner ear, a chiropractor can help through a specific procedure such as the Epley Maneuver to reduce the debris’ contact with the nerves. This a pain-free and simple manuever.
Exercises that target the vestibulocochlear system may be suggested to aid in maintaining the progress. Brandt-Daroff exercises, in which the person sits on the edge of his bed and alternately flops on first one side, back upright, then to the other side at 1-minute intervals are an example. These exercises are described in a successful case study reported in the “Scientific World Journal” in 2006. Other exercises, such as tai chi may also be recommended. The slow, controlled movements of tai chi may provide as safe exercise focusing on body awareness and balance.
There may also be potential triggers in the patient’s diet. An analysis of diet and other lifestyle factors may help the chiropractor identify these triggers and make suggestions for lifestyle changes. Things like tobacco, alcohol and caffeine that stimulate or depress the nervous system may play a role. According to the “Merck Manual of Health and Aging,” non-prescriptive sleep aids or antihistimines can contribute to feelings of dizziness. The chiropractor may also suggest strategies such as meditation, relaxation, or supplements to help control the symptoms.
“Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary 26th ed”, WB Saunders Co: 1981
“Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics”, Assessment of Cervicogenic Vertigo: D Fitz-Ritson; October 1991
“Scientific World Journal”; Rehabilitation Exercise for treatment of Vestibular Disorder: A Case Study; A Feazadeh, and E Carmeli; February 2006
Merck Manual of Health and Aging: Dizziness