Vertigo, the Cervical Spine and Blood flow to the Brain

Posted in Balance Disorder on 08/03/2021 12:40 PM

A recent report found that people experiencing vertigo demonstrated a significant reduction in blood flow through the vertebral arteries, which supply blood to the centres of the brain involved with balance, coordination, and vertigo.

Specifically, the researchers found that physical wear and tear through the neck (known as degenerative spondylosis or degenerative arthritis) was the major catalyst.

We often use the example of a bicycle that has been left outside in the rain. Based on the amount of rust, you can tell if the bike has been outside for days, weeks, months, or even years. The same is true with degenerative arthritis.

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Degenerative arthritis is not something that just happens because you are getting older. It is the effect of an old injury that was never properly treated, and as a result, starts to create problems much later in life.

We frequently ask people, “Do you take better care of your teeth than you do of your neck? If the answer is “Yes,” and especially if you experience neck pain, headaches, dizziness, or vertigo, now might be a good time to pay attention to what you need to start doing differently to take care of your neck. Do you take better care of your teeth than you do of your neck?

Your cervical spinal cord is the lifeline that conveys messages from your brain to all parts of your body.

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Neck injuries come in many forms from mild sprains and strains to dangerous fractures. When it comes to dangerous stuff, people are quick to get immediate treatment. However, when it’s only a little bump, knock, or injury, they are far less likely to get the care that they actually need.

Or they presume that because they aren’t experiencing any pain that there isn’t a problem. 

Well, if the damage is a micro-tear of the muscles or ligaments that support the alignment and function of the spine, there may not be any immediate pain or problem. However, when you add those micro-tears over a long period of time, like compound interest, the little problem can actually grow into a very big problem.

Then, depending, on the nature of the symptoms you are experiencing, you either go to your GP or physiotherapist or massage therapist, or chiropractor to fix the problem only to discover that the true nature of your problem is not something that will be fixed quickly in just a few days, but that may take many months or even years to undo the damage that has been caused from that micro-injury that happens so long ago.

When it comes to the insidious onset of vertigo, this is the common story that we find occurs so terribly often.

Fortunately, while it may take time to put the genie back in the bottle, it is often possible to solve the issue of vertigo by addressing and correcting the alignment of the cervical spine through a unique form of healthcare known as the Blair method.

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The Blair Technique and Vertigo

The pair of arteries that supply blood to the centres of the brain responsible for balance and equilibrium is known as the vertebral arteries. These arteries actually travel through the cervical vertebrae towards the brain, and actually form a loop around the top two vertebrae in the neck, which are known as the atlas (C1) and axis (C2).

As the researchers of this study found, mechanical disturbances with the cervical vertebra may affect the flow of blood to the brain, and as a result, people may be more likely to experience vertigo.

Several other studies have also shown that problems with the alignment and motion of the C1 and C2 vertebrae are also strongly connected with a myriad of vertigo conditions including cervicogenic vertigo, Meniere’s disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and Barre-Lieou’s syndrome.

Many common treatments that work on the alignment of the C1 and C2 vertebrae include things like chiropractic, osteopathy, massage, physiotherapy (including the Watson Technique), acupuncture, and even prolotherapy. 

However effective as many of these treatments are, often when there is a specific type of problem with the alignment of the atlas or axis vertebrae that is causing the dizziness or vertigo, it takes something a little different in order to resolve the issue.

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The Blair technique is an approach developed and researched in the USA that focuses on the relationship between the alignment of the C1 and C2 vertebrae, the neurovascular system of the brain, and vertigo among other symptoms. Technically, it is a special division of chiropractic, but not one that uses any form of rotatory manipulation or “neck cracking,” which is frequently not a good idea for people with vertebral artery issues or vertigo.

Instead, the procedure involves a detailed physical and neurological exam including customised diagnostic imaging (because everyone’s bone structure is different, which does not routinely show up on standard x-rays, CTs, or MRIs). With this level of detail, a Blair upper cervical chiropractic doctor is able to perform a precise correction for the alignment of the C1 or C2 vertebra for the purpose of taking pressure off of the brainstem and arteries that could be causing vertigo, and thereby allow your body to heal itself.

Looking for Vertigo Treatment in Brisbane?

Atlas Health Australia is the premiere Blair upper cervical healthcare centre in Brisbane. Located in North Lakes, our practice is dedicated to helping people with chronic health conditions including vertigo reach their optimum health potential so that they can have long-term solutions and get back to enjoying the things in life that matter most.

Our principal Blair upper cervical chiropractor is Dr. Jeffrey Hannah, who is an advanced certified instructor with the Blair chiropractic society. He is an international lecturer, published author, and recognised leader in the field of upper cervical specific healthcare. 

If you would like more information about how the Blair Technique may be able to help you if you experience vertigo, our office offers a complementary 15-minute consolation with Dr. Hannah to discuss your condition and answer any questions that you may have so that you can decide if care is right for you.

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Simply call us at 07 3188 9329, or send us an email through the Contact Us link on this page, and we will be sure to get back to you.

We look forward to hearing from you, and we will do our best to assist you,

Atlas Health Australia - “Hope, healing, and wellbeing from above-down, inside-out.”

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Chiropractic adjustment for persons with severe vertigo

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Mar 10, 2020

Grgić V. [Cervicogenic proprioceptive vertigo: etiopathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and therapy with special emphasis on manual therapy]. [Article in Croatian] Lijec Vjesn. 2006 Sep-Oct;128(9-10):288-95. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17128668

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Understanding Disequilibrium and Where to Find Help

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Mar 19, 2017

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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30092465

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