Vertigo is the sensation that you or the environment around you is spinning or moving about. It is not the same as dizziness as it must have a rotational component and an illusion of movement. If you feel that you yourself are moving, it is called subjective vertigo. It if seems that your environment around you is moving, it is called objective vertigo.
Causes of Vertigo
The causes of vertigo fall into two different categories:
- Central vertigo is related to a problem of the central nervous system or brain.
- Peripheral vertigo is caused by a problem of the inner ear.
Vertigo is not a condition, but actually a symptom of a condition. Listed below are three of the most common conditions that have vertigo as the main symptom:
- BPPV (benign paroxysmal vertigo): This is the most common type of vertigo, known for a feeling of movement that lasts for around 15 seconds to a few minutes. It comes on suddenly and may be due to certain head movements, such as rolling over in bed or turning the head too fast.
- Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis: Caused by inflammation of the inner ear that leads to a sudden attack of vertigo and may be associated with hearing loss, it is often caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the inner ear. It can last as long as it takes for the inflammation to go down, sometimes several days.
- Meniere’s disease: Made up of a triad of symptoms -- vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and hearing loss -- Meniere’s is also known for the sudden onset of vertigo. You may have periods in which you are symptom-free, and then it may flare up again.
6 Interesting Facts About Vertigo and Dizziness
- Your inner ear is vital when it comes to balance. The ears don’t just allow you to hear; they also allow you to keep your balance. There is a complex structure called the vestibular system which sends signals to the brain to help you maintain your balance. Therefore, if there is a problem in this area, such as too many calcium crystals building up in the inner ear, you can feel a sensation of vertigo.
- Your balance is aided by your joints, muscles, and even your skin. Because of the sensory receptors in your muscles, joints, ligaments, and skin, your body is able to send the proper signals to the brain and keep you in balance. Certain sensors, like those on the bottom of your feet or on your back, are sensitive to stretching and pressure sensations. The neck sensors relay to the brain the way the head is turned. Ankle receptors tell the brain how the body is moving in relation to the ground.
- Age plays a part in balance problems. As we age, we experience deficiencies in 3 of our main systems: vision, the vestibular system, and proprioception. When you combine these with the reduction we experience in muscle strength and flexibility, we can see how older adults are more likely to fall. In fact, one-third of Americans over the age of 65 falls every year.
- Your ears, rather than your big toe, contribute to balance. It has been a common misconception that the big toe is not itself vital to balance. Without a big toe, you can still walk and run. You just may be a little slower and have a shorter stride. It may change the way you walk, according to a study from 1988. But those in the study had little or no disability because of the loss of the toe.
- You can feel as if you are moving even though you are not. There is a phenomenon called vection that makes us feel as if we are moving. For example, have you ever been in a car and the vehicle next to you is slowly moving but it seems as if you are moving. This is because your visual field has started to move. You actually see the other car moving but it makes you feel as if you yourself are moving. This is due to your brain having a conflict between the incoming sensory information from two different sources.
- Migraines are linked to balance problems. As many as 40 percents of people with migraines have dizziness or vertigo that may accompany a migraine or hit at a totally different time. This is called migraine-associated vertigo. It is unknown why this happens, but it might have to do with how migraine impacts the signals from the brain, slowing down the brain’s ability to interpret sensory information from the eyes, muscles, and inner ear.
Finding Help for Vertigo
If you are wondering why you are experiencing vertigo, it could be due to a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. If the C1 or C2 vertebrae are out of alignment, they could be putting undue pressure on the brainstem, causing it to send improper signals to the brain about the body’s position
. Once this is corrected, many people see a great improvement in their vertigo-associated symptoms. Here at Atlas Health Australia in Northlakes, Queensland, we focus on making sure the C1 and C2 are in proper alignment. If not, we use a gentle method to help realign them without the need to pop or crack the neck or back.
Rather, we encourage the bones to move back into place naturally. This allows for healing to take place and communication to be restored between the brain and body. This is often all that is needed to see an improvement in or elimination of vertigo. To schedule, a complimentary consultation call our North Lakes Queensland office at 07-3188-9329