Neck Pain and Dizziness - Is your neck the missing link?

Posted in Neck Pain Disorders on Feb 15, 2022

It’s not exactly news of the relationship between the health of your neck (cervical spine) and chronic dizziness. As we have written numerous times over the years, the structure and function of your neck have a massive role in the development of cervicogenic dizziness and a variety of other dizziness conditions including Mal de Debarqument Syndrome (MdDS) and persistent postural positional dizziness (PPPD).

A recent study looked into these associations just a little deeper. They found that among people who experienced neck pain for longer than one month that 40% of them experienced dizziness. That is a very significant number! 

In addition, the people who experienced neck pain were categorised separately as experiencing pain associated with trigger points (e.g., myofascial pain or fibromyalgia). Of these people, 60% of them experience dizziness. So the prevalence was even higher! Note: Dizziness is a remarkable difference sensation from vertigo. Vertigo is the sensation that the world is spinning around you. Dizziness is the sensation that you are swaying within the world. … Unfortunately, many people can actually experience both.

Request Appointment

What this study highlights again is more evidence that when it comes to the sensation of dizziness, one of the most important things that must be considered is the health of your neck.

A Different Perspective on Neck Pain and Dizziness

These details are all well and good, but when it comes to helping people who experience neck pain and dizziness, really, it comes down to one thing: what can you do to help it?

Related article

Neck Pain Exercises a closer look

Neck Pain Exercises a closer look

Apr 12, 2020

From the standard medical and specialist perspective, unless you have a brain tumour, infection, or bleed, there is really very little that can be done to help with dizziness except for taking anti-nausea medication (which frequently doesn’t really help when people experience dizziness).  And with neck pain, the common treatment approaches include physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, osteopathy, or massage. And if that fails, then just more drugs and “learning to deal with it.”

On this note, we should like to like to offer a different potential solution for helping people with neck pain and dizziness. First, even if you have had CTs and MRIs of your neck and brain, even if those tests say that everything looks “normal” does not necessarily mean that everything actually is normal. Imagine if you would that you have a computer that is running slow because it has malware on it. Even if you take the computer apart looking for the defect, you won’t see it because the problem is a functional issue. Similarly, although the link between neck pain and dizziness is a physical one, it also has a functional component as well.

The Neurological Link Between Neck Pain and Dizziness - What your Specialist may not have told you

One of the common underlying features that may link neck pain and dizziness is the presence of degenerative arthritis. Degenerative arthritis is a sign of physical wear and tear caused by an old physical injury. The joints may not have broken or dislocated, but where arthritis is present, odds are that there was a small yet significant injury that has been accumulating like rust or compound interest for a number of years.  If cancer can start from the mutation of a single cell in your body, it should also reason that arthritis can develop from the offset of even a single millimetre between the joints in your spine. The reason that this accumulative damage matter is because the joints in your neck contain three types of sensory nerve receptors:

  • Pain receptors
  • Pressure receptors
  • Proprioceptors.

Proprioceptors detect body position sense and regulate muscle tone and tension. The joints in your upper neck are particularly dense with proprioceptors, which wire into the exact same parts of your brain as your inner ear. In other words, the nerves of your neck are processed in the central part of your brain that coordinates balance and equilibrium.

Related article

The connection between Migraines and Neck pains

The connection between Migraines and Neck pains

Aug 10, 2021

Here is the missing link and why even if know that you do have arthritis in your neck that no one ever connected the dots. It is because the link is not linear. It’s about probabilities. Remember from the study that people with neck pain have a 40-60% chance of also experiencing dizziness. These are two different nerve types processed in two different areas of the brain. And because both of these sensations are so subjective, no two people experience the exact same thing. 

  • Some people with tons of arthritis may experience no pain at all!. 
  • The same goes with dizziness, and then any combination in-between. 

Now, even the neck arthritis itself may not be the primary issue here. The real question is what can be done to help reduce the pressure so that even if you can’t undo arthritis you can help the body to function better so that dizziness and neck pain are not so unrelenting.  Here is where a unique, independent approach to healthcare known as the Blair Technique may be able to help you.

The Blair Technique, Neck Pain and Dizziness - A Natural Treatment Option

The Blair Technique is a special division of upper cervical chiropractic that takes a precision-based, personalised approach to help people with conditions of the neck and the nerve system, which includes neck pain and dizziness. Unlike general spinal manipulation, the Blair Technique does not use any pressure points, twisting, cracking, stretching, or popping on the neck. In this regard, the Blair Technique is a “sibling” of other upper cervical techniques, which include the NUCCA and Atlas Orthogonal methods.

Developed in the USA (which is why it is still so rare here in Australia), the Blair Technique is based on the fundamental premise that all human beings are built differently on the outside and also on the inside. As a result, unless these individual differences are taken into account, it is difficult to determine exactly what may be affecting the health of your spine. As a result, you could be working in the right area, but in the wrong direction. 

Related article

What is an Upper Neck Subluxation?

What is an Upper Neck Subluxation?

Aug 01, 2016

The Blair Technique starts with a focused history, physical and neurological assessment, and then customised diagnostic images that are able to show things that even standard CT and MRIs don’t show. (The difference is the angle and how the studies are performed). With this information, a Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractor is then able to identify the exact location, direction, and degree of misalignment in your neck that could be impacting the function of your nerve system and could be linked with your neck pain and dizziness. Thus, they are able to prescribe you a different course of care to help address the underlying cause of your systems, free your system to be able to do what it is designed to do: heal itself.

As we mentioned briefly, one of the major differences in the Blair Technique is that the angles that we frequently find the misalignment combinations that are linked with neck pain and dizziness are different from the customary methods that are usually used by many general practitioners, physiotherapists, massage therapists and also other chiropractors.  While dizziness and neck pain can certainly be a complex issue, the ability for a Blair upper cervical chiropractor to take a different approach means that we may be able to offer assistance and a potential solution if you have already tried so many other treatments that just haven’t quite hit the mark.

Atlas Health Australia is the leading provider for specific upper cervical chiropractic in Brisbane. Our practice is located in North Lakes to provide care for the greater Brisbane and Sunshine Coast communities. Our focus is to help people with complex health conditions, including neck pain and dizziness, so that they can get back to enjoying the things in life that matter most to them. We believe in the Innate healing potential for every human being to be well given the right time and opportunity.

We hope that this article has been able to provide you with valuable information towards taking that first step. If you would like to schedule a consultation to find out how the Blair Technique may be able to help you, click the Contact Us link at the top of this page, or call us direct at 07 3188 9329. We look forward to being able to assist you.


Armstrong BS, McNair PJ, Williams M. Head and neck position sense in whiplash patients and healthy individuals and the effect of the cranio-cervical flexion action. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2005 Aug;20(7):675-84.

Related article

Neck and back pain -  red flags

Neck and back pain - red flags

May 03, 2021

Attanasio G, Califano L, Bruno A, et al. Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency and menière's disease: Interventional versus medical therapy. Laryngoscope. 2019 Nov 11. doi: 10.1002/lary.28389. [Epub ahead of print] 

Burcon MT. Health Outcomes Following Cervical Specific Protocol in 300 Patients with Meniere’s Followed Over Six Years. Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ June 2, 2016, ~ Pages 13-23.

Damadian RV, Chu D. The possible role of cranio-cervical trauma and abnormal CSF hydrodynamics in the genesis of multiple sclerosis. Physiol Chem Phys Med NMR. 2011;41:1-17.

Flanagan MF. The role of the craniocervical junction in craniospinal hydrodynamics and neurodegenerative conditions. Neurology Research International, 2015; Article ID 794829: 

Jain S, Jungade S, Ranjan A, Singh P, Panicker A, Singh C, Bhalerao P. Revisiting "Meniere's Disease" as "Cervicogenic Endolymphatic Hydrops" and Other Vestibular and Cervicogenic Vertigo as "Spectrum of Same Disease": A Novel Concept. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Jun;73(2):174-179. doi: 10.1007/s12070-020-01974-y. Epub 2020 Jul 22. PMID: 34150592; PMCID: PMC8163930.

Rosa S, Baird JW. The craniocervical junction: observations regarding the relationship between misalignment, obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid flow, cerebellar tonsillar ectopia, and image-guided correction. Smith FW, Dworkin JS (eds): The Craniocervical Syndrome and MRI. Basel, Karger, 2015, pp 48-66 (DOI:10.1159/000365470).

Related article

Everything you Need to Know about Post Concussion Syndrome

Everything you Need to Know about Post Concussion Syndrome

Feb 11, 2020

Teng CC, Chai H, Lai DM, Wang SF. Cervicocephalic kinesthetic sensibility in young and middle-aged adults with or without a history of mild neck pain. Man Ther. 2007 Feb;12(1):22-8. Epub 2006 Jun 14.

Wong JJ, Shearer HM, Mior S, et al. Are manual therapies, passive physical modalities, or acupuncture effective for the management of patients with whiplash-associated disorders or neck pain and associated disorders? An update of the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders by the OPTIMa collaboration. Spine J. 2016 Dec;16(12):1598-1630. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2015.08.024. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

Yang L, Chen J, Yang C, et al. Cervical Intervertebral Disc Degeneration Contributes to Dizziness: A Clinical and Immunohistochemical Study. World Neurosurg. 2018 Nov;119:e686-e693. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.07.243. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Vural M, Karan A, Albayrak Gezer İ, et al. Prevalence, etiology, and biopsychosocial risk factors of cervicogenic dizziness in patients with neck pain: A multi-center, cross-sectional study. Turk J Phys Med Rehabil. 2021;67(4):399-408. Published 2021 Dec 1. doi:10.5606/tftrd.2021.7983

Leave a comment