Chiropractic adjustment for persons with severe vertigo

Posted in Balance Disorder on Mar 10, 2020

Does it involve neck cracking?


Do you hate the idea of getting your neck cracked?

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Especially if you have vertigo, are you concerned that something like spinal manipulation could actually make your vertigo worse?

If so, you are not the only one. Chiropractic is often one of the last professions that people use when they experience vertigo, often because medical doctors refer instead to vestibular physiotherapists or vertigo specialists. For many people, however, the medication and the manoeuvres don’t really help to resolve the vertigo.

Then you find yourself between a rock and a hard place: 

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“Do I continue to suffer with vertigo? Or do I try something instead that kind of scares me?”

Well, what if there was another way that covered the best of both worlds: a highly specific and safe form of chiropractic care with a long history of helping people with vertigo but without the cracking, pulling or twisting?

I repeat: NO neck cracking!

If that sounds like what you’re looking for, Blair upper cervical care might be the approach to vertigo relief that you have been looking for!


How can my neck cause vertigo?

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Think of your brain like a computer processor. Your brainstem, which is located at the base of your skull is the master control centre for everything that goes on in your body. It includes the processing centres for balance and equilibrium. Many people don’t realise it unless their vertigo specialist tells them that your balanced and equilibrium are affected by three major sources of input:

  1. Your inner ear
  2. Your eyes
  3. Nerve receptors in your upper neck.


If you have been to see vertigo specialists and your brain MRI or other tests have come back as “normal” it may well be because the problem is actually not with your inner ear or your eyes at all.

You can get the exact same array of symptoms if there is a problem with the alignment or motion of the joints in your upper neck.

There are many potential reasons.

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  1. Your top bones in your neck are called the C1 (atlas) and the C2 (axis) vertebrae. Unlike every other bone in your spine, these two are not locked into place. Instead, they are suspended by muscles that are involved with head balance. These muscles contain 100-200x as many nerve receptors for position sense than other muscles in your neck! Therefore, if the vertebrae someone get locked out of normal position, they may send an abnormal cascade of information that overwhelms your brainstem balance processing centres, and thus produce the sensation of vertigo
  2. You have a pair of vertebral arteries that ascend through your neck and then loop around your C1 and C2 vertebrae as they enter your skull. These arteries supply the blood for your brain balance centres (plus your inner ear). If the flow of these arteries is impaired due to physical obstruction of your neck - even for a moment - it may produce vertigo or even the sudden sensation of a blackout, like fainting.
  3. You also have a pain of vertebral veins that follow the same course of your vertebral arteries, but drain blood from your brainstem. If these veins are under pressure, especially when you are standing, they may cause congestion and pressure that builds up in the back of your skull, causing vertigo but also blurry vision, headaches or even migraines (i.e., vestibular migraines).


How do I know if my vertigo is coming from my neck?

The best way to know for certain is with a series of specific tests that examine the impact of your neck health on your nerve system. However, there may be a few clues that you can check for yourself first.

  1. You have ever experienced a whiplash injury. Even if it was 20 years ago and you “felt fine” afterwards, it is not uncommon for neck injuries to build up slowly - like unpaid interest on your car or house - that seems to pop up for no apparent reason many years later.
  2. You experience vertigo with certain head movements or positions. If you deliberately or accidentally move your head into positions that produce an effective “kink” in your neck, it may aggravate the blood flow issues involved with your vertigo.
  3. You have a posture problem. Contrary to common belief, posture is not caused by laziness. It is caused by nerve irritation, and represents your brain’s attempt to reduce the irritation by changing your muscle tone. Particular with vertigo, the hallmark is where your shoulder rises one side, and your head also has a “natural” lean to that same side
  4. You experience other symptoms besides vertigo that are related to your neck health. Some of the more common symptoms include headaches, migraines, tingling in your hands of fingers, tight muscles in your shoulders or neck pain, TMJ or jaw problems, ringing in your ears (aka  tinnitus) or other nerve/muscle symptoms potentially anywhere in your body.


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Blair upper cervical chiropractic and vertigo

Now that we’ve established the physical connection between your neck health and vertigo, we can consider your options.

As we already mentioned, there are many types of “vertigo specialist” professions including ENT medical doctors, neurologists and vestibular physiotherapists. Alas, there is no such thing as “one size fits all.”

Thus, many people who have been to these vertigo specialists find that they are still experiencing problems. Here is where a different approach may be able to help: Blair upper cervical chiropractic.

Upper cervical chiropractic is a special division of chiropractic developed and researched in the USA. Dr William Blair is the founder of the Blair method, which is a unique system of analysis and adjusting without spinal manipulation (more on that in just a moment).

The focus of upper cervical care is to identify particular types of misalignments in the upper neck - the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) vertebrae - that can have negative impact on your nerve system, and thus the function and health of your body. The purpose of upper cervical care is thus to correct these misalignments in order to facilitate normal body function and healing.

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In this way, a Blair upper cervical chiropractic doctor is not a traditional “vertigo specialist” treating the symptoms only. Instead, we are focusing on restoring normal body function so that your own nerve system is able to do what it is designed to do: to heal itself naturally without drugs or surgery.


Is there neck cracking with Blair upper cervical treatment?

Read my lips: NO NECK CRACKING.

Many people don’t realise but the original methods of chiropractic did not depend on “cracking the bones.” To illustrate, in The Philosophy and Principles of Chiropractic Adjustments (1908), Dr BJ Palmer writes of page 343, “In giving Chiropractic adjustments there are many points to be involved. While it is true that anyone can push bones into place and make them “pop” or “crack,” that is far from delivering an accurate and exact correction of subluxations, and getting the attendant results.”

In other words, chiropractic is not the practice of “bone cracking.”

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The Blair upper cervical chiropractic builds on this principle that they key is specificity. One of the key differences that a Blair chiropractic doctors performs first is a detailed examination of your neck, which includes unique types of x-rays. Unlike routine images taken at standard imaging facilities, the Blair method recognises that every human being is built differently. Thus, in order to identify what is actually going on requires a personalised analysis with images that are tailored to the individual.

A Blair upper cervical chiropractic doctor is able to measure the exact direction, degree and dimension of the misalignments in your neck. And with that level of precise information, we don’t need to “crack the bone” into place, but instead use a quick and light tap, which allows your own body to recapture the vertebra and bring it back into alignment on its own.

How much force you ask? About 3-5Kg worth of pressure, which is the amount of force that you would use to feel your pulse. That’s it! Moreover, the procedure is performed with your neck in a neutral position, which means that we aren’t even attempting to “crack the bone” into place.

Many people are amazing that what we do is so different from general chiropractic, and often so light that they don’t believe that anything happened at all … at least until the experience the changes that happens simply by getting their neck aligned.


The next logical step for vertigo help

Atlas Health Australia is the premier Blair upper cervical heath centre in Brisbane. Dr Jeffrey Hannah is an advanced certified Blair upper cervical chiropractor, and has also studied numerous additional approaches to upper cervical chiropractic. He is an author and international lecturer helping to train doctors around Australia and New Zealand in this powerful and unique form of healthcare so that it may eventually be available in every major community in Australasia. 

If you would like more information on Blair upper cervical care and how we may be able to help you with vertigo, we’d like to hear from you. Our north Brisbane office is happy to offer a complementary 15-minute over the phone consultation with Dr Hannah so that you can privately discuss any specific details about your condition and ask any question you may have to decide if care is right for you.

If you would like to accept this offer, you can click the Contact link on this page, or call us at our office: 07 3188 9329.

If you are ready for a different approach - something natural and gentle - to help you with your vertigo, Blair upper cervical care may be what you’re looking for.

Atlas Health Australia - “A passion for helping people reach their full life potential.” 



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