Treating Vertigo: A Springfield, IL Chiropractor’s Perspective

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Introduction to Vertigo

If you have ever felt dizzy, off-balance, or completely unable to hold yourself upright, then you know just how harrowing that feeling can be. It is almost as if your entire sense of reality is being warped, which is a deeply uncomfortable sensation to experience. Unfortunately, for people who have vertigo, this is a common occurrence. While it is not a life-threatening condition by nature, it is definitely scary and debilitating and can have a massively negative impact on one’s quality of life.

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Vertigo is a condition in which the inner ears are not able to properly regulate a person’s balance. This results in feelings of dizziness, unsteadiness, faintness, and possibly blurred vision. Other common symptoms of vertigo include nausea, vomiting, headaches, ringing in the ears, just to name a few. There are special tubes in the inner ears called semicircular canals, and each tube has tiny hair sensors that track our positioning at all times. These are all part of the vestibular system, which coordinates all of this information with the brain to make sure that we keep our balance and center of gravity under normal conditions. When things become dysfunctional in the inner ear, it can throw off your sense of balance and make you unsteady and dizzy.

There are many different medications and other medical treatments that are used to treat vertigo.  Dramamine, a commonly used medication for seasickness, is one example.  It helps to reduce symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and helps people feel better. Generally speaking though, this addresses the symptoms of vertigo, not the actual cause. 

Treatments such as Epley’s maneuver and chiropractic are two examples of natural care that can help address the root cause of the problem and lay the foundation for more sustained healing. This can help a person make a more full recovery, rather than just masking the uncomfortable symptoms. At the Springfield Wellness Center, we have been able to help many people improve their quality of life and get back to doing the things they love.

How We Treat Vertigo in Springfield, IL

Comprehensive Consultation and Exam

As a new patient at the Springfield Wellness Center, our doctors must be first able to get to know you and learn about your problems. This helps them to understand where you are coming from and what kind of impact vertigo has had on your life. Our doctors will ask detailed questions about the history of the problem to get as much information as possible. The clearer picture they have of the situation the more accurately they can diagnose the problem, which then dictates what kind of treatment recommendations to make.

After the consultation, the doctor will take you through a series of examinations to further assist in the diagnostic process. Orthopedic, neurologic, and postural exams are performed to understand the functional state of the spine and the role it is playing in the person’s symptoms. Additionally, for patients with suspected vertigo, our doctors will perform a test called the Dix-Hallpike maneuver to verify the diagnosis of vertigo. By taking the time to get to know their patients and properly evaluate them, our doctors can better understand their patients and get them on the correct path of treatment.

Specific Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is at the center of our treatment efforts when it comes to vertigo. When a spinal bone or section of the spine becomes misaligned, it creates stress on the nerves and spinal cord in that area. This affects how those nerves communicate back and forth with the brain. Over time, if misalignments are left uncorrected, a person will eventually begin to experience symptoms. 

When it comes to vertigo, there are typically issues in the upper cervical (neck) part of the spine. The nerves from the C1 level travel to places such as the middle and inner ear and deliver messages from the brain that help them function. If there is a misalignment there disrupting that communication, it can cause dysfunction in the middle and inner ear and things like vertigo or more frequent ear infections. Addressing this misalignment helps restore function to these areas allowing symptoms to resolve.

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Epley’s Maneuver

With vertigo, displacement of the tiny crystals that exist within the inner ear is a major cause for why balance gets thrown off. To help restore one’s sense of balance and positioning, those crystals need to be restored to the correct position. One of the best natural ways to correct this  is Epley’s maneuver. This is a technique that involves having the head in different positions through a series of deliberate movements. These movements are specific and designed to guide the crystals back to their rightful place. When done properly, relief from vertigo can be instant.

At Springfield Wellness Center, our chiropractors have helped many people with vertigo using Epley’s maneuver. If you are not able to get to the office due to severe vertigo symptoms, however, it is a technique that can be learned and done yourself from the comfort of your own home. In a bind, this can provide some relief until you can get to the office for further evaluation and treatment. Overall, Epley’s is one of the most recognized ways to effectively treat vertigo at the source.

Therapeutic Exercise

We take a cautious approach when incorporating exercise into any vertigo treatment plan.  Exercise is the best way to help improve postural and muscle imbalances that can cause dysfunction of the spine, even in the upper parts of the neck where dysfunction could lead to vertigo. We are mindful of the fact, however, that people with vertigo are in vulnerable positions where quick head movements could trigger dizziness. Gentle postural exercises that don’t require a lot of rotation are preferred so that the head can stay as still as possible.

One exercise that is utilized to help with vertigo is called the Brandt-Daroff habituation exercise. This exercise involves sitting on the edge of the treatment table or bed, turning your head 45 degrees in one direction, and quickly laying on the opposite side. Going through these repetitions helps to stabilize the positioning crystals in the inner ear and bring longer relief from symptoms.

Common Causes of Vertigo in Springfield, IL

Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo

Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo, BPPV for short, is a common cause of vertigo, where you feel like your head is spinning. The crystals in your inner ear that help regulate balance, known as otoliths, get dislodged from their usual position. This disrupts your sense of equilibrium and is deeply uncomfortable to experience. It can cause vertigo ranging from mild to extremely severe. Dizziness is usually caused by nystagmus, rapid movement of the eyes back and forth. This happens when the eyes are trying to re-establish equilibrium and are in constant movement to do so. The best way to treat BPPV is performing Epley’s maneuver, which can help reposition the crystals in their proper place and restore balance to the individual.

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Labyrinthitis

The labyrinth is the inner part of the ear that contains the centers for both hearing and balance. If you have an infection such as a cold, sometimes it can travel to the inner ear and cause inflammation of the labyrinth, in a condition known as labyrinthitis. When this happens, it is possible that the vestibular branch of the Vestibulocochlear Nerve can also be inflamed, which can cause vertigo. Thankfully, labyrinthitis is a self-limiting condition that usually resolves on its own in a few days. On occasion, people take medications to help ease the symptoms of vertigo until the labyrinthitis can clear up.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s Disease is a condition of the inner ear that commonly causes vertigo. It can be the result of an infection, but also from genetic factors or even trauma such as a concussion. While vertigo is a common symptom of Meniere’s disease, it is commonly identified by some of its other symptoms – such as hearing loss, the feeling of “fullness” in the ear, and ringing in the ear. It typically only affects one side has the potential to be chronic. Overall, it is a condition that has the potential to cause a decrease in quality of life because it can affect people over a longer period.

Concussions

Another common cause of vertigo is concussions, which is a mild type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). In a concussion, there is impact to the head where the brain smashes into the inner part of the skull, causing inflammation and bruising. This can affect balance by itself, but it is also possible during impact for otoliths to become dislodged and cause vertigo symptoms as well. Concussions can be frustrating for some because they can sometimes take long periods to heal fully – sometimes several months or longer. Treatments like Epley’s maneuver can be helpful towards addressing vertigo that results from a concussion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can going to a chiropractor in Springfield, IL help with vertigo?

Yes, the chiropractors at the Springfield Wellness Center have helped many people with vertigo find relief or complete resolution of their vertigo problems. By utilizing treatments such as chiropractic and Epley’s maneuver, they have helped address the root cause of peoples’ vertigo and help get them back to living life the way they want to and doing the things they want to do.

How do you get rid of vertigo fast?

If vertigo is caused by dislodged crystals in the inner ear, then Epley’s maneuver is a great way to get quick relief from vertigo. By moving the head into specific positions, the crystals can be restored to their correct position and provide nearly instant relief for the individual suffering from vertigo. It may take more subsequent treatment to fully resolve the issue, but it is a great way to get quick relief when someone is feeling really dizzy.

Can a chiropractor in Springfield, IL help with inner ear problems?

Yes, the chiropractors at the Springfield Wellness Center can help with various inner ear problems such as ear infections or vertigo. The balance centers in the inner ear can be thrown off for various reasons, and our doctors have the skills to help address these issues and restore normal function. They can also help restore function to the Eustachian tube, which sometimes doesn’t drain properly and can cause ear infections to occur.

Can spine problems cause vertigo?

A misalignment in the upper part of the neck can contribute to vertigo. Branches of the C1 nerve root travel to the inner ear, and if this nerve doesn’t function well it can cause the balance centers in the inner ear to also not function well, which has the potential to result in vertigo.

What triggers vertigo attacks?

Sudden head movements, whether intentional or not, have the potential to cause otoliths in the inner ear to be displaced. This can result in vertigo and cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Vertigo can also be caused by infections, Meniere’s disease, or concussions as well.