Many people experience vertigo, yet it remains a puzzling subject for most. As a vertigo chiropractic doctor in MI, I want to clear up some common misunderstandings about vertigo. With a proper understanding of vertigo, it’s easier to come up with solutions to address not just the symptoms but the underlying cause itself. Listed below are five common misconceptions about vertigo.
#1: Vertigo Is a Fear of Heights
The movie Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock had a main character with a fear of heights. Because of this work of fiction that became famous, a misunderstanding regarding vertigo has been born. The popularity of this film is partly responsible for the common misconception that vertigo is the fear of heights. While it is true that anxiety due to a fear of heights (called acrophobia) can trigger the condition, vertigo is the false sensation of spinning or movement.
#2: Vertigo Is a Disease
Many people mistake vertigo for an actual diagnosis of a disease like the flu or the common cold, but this is not correct. Vertigo is a symptom. Thus, if you have vertigo, it is best to inform your doctor about it as well as other symptoms you are experiencing so that you can receive an accurate diagnosis.
In reality, only half of the people who have vertigo ever find out its underlying cause. They don’t know what else to call their condition. The most common form of vertigo is BPPV, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This is triggered by changes in the position of the head, hence the term “positional.”
#3: Vertigo Is the Same as Dizziness
Vertigo is a hugely misunderstood symptom, and up to now, people still raise questions about what it is or what sets it apart from dizziness. Many people use the terms vertigo and dizziness interchangeably, which can make the process of getting an accurate diagnosis harder. Therefore, it is vital to understand the true nature of vertigo and differentiate it from other forms of dizziness, such as lightheadedness and disequilibrium.
If you are experiencing any false sensation of movement, then it is most likely vertigo. It is not only when you or your surroundings seem to be spinning, although that is one common description given by those who have vertigo. It also includes feeling as if you or the things around you are moving even though they are not. For instance, as you are waiting for the green light in front of a stoplight, you see the car next to you rolling backward, then you hit your brakes harder because you think you were moving forward. This is considered vertigo in the strictest sense of the word, although there may also be other environmental factors involved in the sensation.
#4 Closing Your Eyes Can Stop Vertigo
Unfortunately, stopping the feeling of vertigo is not that easy. Even if you close your eyes, it will still seem as if you are spinning. Vertigo cannot be treated by just closing your eyes or thinking and reminding yourself that you are just standing still or laying down. This is why severe vertigo can cause nausea and vomiting. Once vertigo starts, the person experiencing it usually just has to wait until it dies down.
#5: There Is No Effective Natural Relief for Vertigo
This is definitely not true. There are several things you can do to ease the sensation of vertigo without using medications or surgeries. The following are some of the natural ways in which you can cope with vertigo:
Specifically, a low sodium diet is beneficial for those who experience vertigo. However, make sure not to change your diet suddenly without consulting your physician.
This is a physician-assisted maneuver that aims to reposition the small crystals in your inner ear.
Upper cervical chiropractic
This is a very specialized form of chiropractic care that focuses on the upper bones (the C1 and C2) of the spine.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care in Relieving Vertigo
The topmost bone of the spine called the atlas can become misaligned by a slight head or neck trauma, which can eventually lead to vertigo. By being misaligned, the atlas puts pressure on the brainstem, which will prevent it from properly functioning. Since the brainstem is responsible for the traveling of signals in and out of the brain, it can send incorrect information regarding the body’s position or location relative to the environment. Misalignment of the atlas can also negatively affect blood flow to the brain, impairing the functioning of the central nervous system (CNS). Vertigo that is related to the CNS is called central vertigo.
The atlas sits near the ears and can affect the function of the Eustachian tubes. This can cause an excess of fluid in the ear, which is also another cause of vertigo. This can explain why case studies involving hundreds of patients with Meniere’s disease report improvement with their vertigo after seeking upper cervical chiropractic care.
Schedule a consultation at Balanced Living Chiropractic in Rochester Hills, Michigan if you have a history of head or neck trauma. Upper cervical chiropractic may be the best solution for your vertigo, and we can help you find that out and restore your best quality of life.