Dizziness, vertigo and lightheadedness are symptoms which differ in their medical definition and possible origin, but they are often used interchangeably by those who suffer from them. They are all very distressing and in some cases they may be debilitating. There can be many causes for the feeling of dizziness or vertigo. Many disorders of the inner ear may cause such symptoms. Some systemic and neurological disease also must be ruled out.
Dizziness is defined as a sensation of disturbed relationship to surroundings, and may also be described as giddiness or unsteadiness. Vertigo is the sensation that the world is revolving around the patient or that the patient is moving in space. Lightheadedness is a term which may be used for dizziness, faintness or just feeling "out of sync" with your surroundings. Meniere’s disease or syndrome is a disorder of the inner ear characterized by vertigo, deafness, and ringing in the ear.
A common cause of lightheadedness, dizziness and even vertigo is a problem with spinal alignment and function which affects the postural or "righting" reflexes - the reflexes which help keep you upright. Throughout the postural muscles of the body are nerve pathways which interact with the nerves from the inner ear and the eyes. This complex system of reflexes acts to orient us in space by combining signals from our muscles, the world we see, and the organs of balance in the inner ear. A disturbance in function of the spine can affect this process by sending diminished or false signals from the postural muscles to the brain. The result is a feeling of disorientation or being off balance, which may occur only in certain positions. Many cases diagnosed as Meniere’s syndrome respond well to spinal corrections, diminishing and sometimes eliminating the symptoms.
Another cause of vertigo or dizziness is a problem in the neck or upper spine which affects the autonomic nervous system and may have a direct effect on the inner ear mechanisms, or an indirect effect through circulatory changes. Problems in the neck or upper spine can also cause visual disturbances and a feeling of being "out of focus" or unable to think clearly.
If you have been experiencing dizziness, vertigo or lightheadedness, contact our office and Dr. Mattern can evaluate your individual case to determine whether spinal correction may be indicated.