Using Chiropractic to Stop the Terror of Vertigo
By Dr. Molly Casey
Have you ever felt like the world is spinning around you? And I don’t mean from an overcommitted schedule or heavy duty family and life situations, which all of us have experienced and can affect our health negatively. I mean literally physically spinning? You’re not sick. You don’t have a hangover. There’s no apparent reason for it. If you’ve experienced it, you know that calling it “horrifically awful” is an understatement. If you haven’t experienced it, say your prayers of thanks right now because “horrifically awful” is an understatement. It happens more often than you think and it can cause people to freak out a bit. As a chiropractor, I’m grateful for the opportunity to help educate and calm patients who wonder when, or if, the spinning with stop.
It’s not just an Alfred Hitchcock film, it’s real.
Vertigo is a blanket medical term that describes the feeling that objects are moving around a person. In truth, the objects are not moving. People frequently describe it as a spinning or swaying feeling. Think of the last time you stepped off a merry-=go-round onto solid ground and it took a moment to stop feeling the sway of the ride. Or you finished a day of boating and, upon getting back on land, the momentum of the water still had you flowing. It feels unnerving right?
Vertigo is often accompanied with nausea, vomiting, sweating and/or difficulties walking. Quite frankly, it’s can be extremely difficult to perform daily tasks and the symptoms can be debilitating.
There are a variety of reasons one may experience vertigo. There are some very serious medical issues that can cause it, but it’s usually a result of less severe issues almost exclusively centered around the inner ear. Your inner ear (aka your vestibular system) is responsible for your sense of balance and spatial orientation.
One of the most common causes of inner ear problems (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) occurs when small components -- crystals, for lack of a better word -- are moving around in the ear as you change position. With that movement, you experience the swaying feeling, nausea, etc.
Meniere’s disease is characterized by vertigo, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and a feeling as though your ear canal is blocked or full of fluid. The exact cause is unknown though it’s thought to have both genetic and environmental factors.
Last among the three most common causes of vertigo is labrynthitis, which is a fancy name for an ear infection. There’s inflammation of the inner ear and the vertigo is a symptom of the infection.
Vertigo and Chiropractic
Can chiropractic help someone who’s dealing with vertigo? The short answer: Absolutely. The long answer: There are two primary techniques used to assist in helping the body heal and the patient return to a sense of balance.
The primary tool in our bag is the chiropractic adjustment, which allows your nervous system -- your body’s the master control system -- to function at its highest possible level. By adjusting the spine (which encases the nervous system) and facilitating better communication between the brain and the rest of your body, including the ear, lymph and immune system (particularly important if the vertigo is due to an infection), you are positioned for faster healing and with greater ease.
Another tool is the Epley maneuver, a repositioning technique. It’s simple, easy and performed in the chiropractic office. It’s done to facilitate the recalibration of the inner ear and its components.
The chiropractic adjustment and Epley maneuver are non-invasive but truly support the body’s ability to heal on its own.Should you, or anyone you know, be suffering from vertigo, we at The Joint want to help! Please come see us and let’s allow chiropractic the chance to bring you back to your best self so you can live the life you want to be living.
Dr. Molly Casey is a Doctor of Chiropractic who practices in the Los Angeles area. She works twice a week at The Joint Chiropractic in Glendale, CA.