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A Chiropractors First hand Experience with Vertigo.

Written by Dr. Derek Larsen DC

June 15, 2022

Alright, it’s story time again. This time I want to talk about one of the reasons I became incredibly excited about becoming a chiropractor aside from my initial experience due to back pain. Let’s be honest there are a ton of reasons why I love being a chiropractor but this one stands out in my mind, and it helps me relate with more of my patients. Let’s talk about my experience with vertigo.

About a year before entering chiropractic college I started experiencing vertigo. It was the weirdest thing. I remember quite vividly the first time it happened. I was starting a run and just before I started the whole world started to spin around me. It felt like someone had just spun me on a swing set like we used to do as kids but I was just standing there. I thought that I could just run it out so I left on my little run and the whole time the world didn’t stop spinning. I shrugged it off after it went away and didn’t think anything of it. Then a few days later it happened again and it started becoming more and more frequent until it was happening consistently about 1 time a week. Most of the time I would get dizzy for 10-15 minutes and then it would go away. The worst time it happened I was standing on a dock and the whole world started spinning very violently, I got nauseous and had to lay down so I didn’t fall into the water. After about 15-20 minutes I could stand up again but it didn’t completely stop for 30 minutes or so. It was terrible. I told my parents that I was having these issues and my dad started sending me his google searches about vertigo and how I was probably dying because of the vertigo symptoms. Again I shrugged all that off.

When I started chiropractic college I was put under chiropractic care by one of the upperclassmen. She asked me if I had any concerns and the only legitimate concern I had was vertigo I had been experiencing. We went through tons of tests because vertigo can be a warning sign of some dangerous conditions. After we got through all the tests that ruled out the more dangerous causes of vertigo and there were no reasons not to adjust the spine we went forward with getting adjusted. My intern doctor of chiropractic focused on the upper cervical segments of my spine. C1 to be specific. After a couple of months of getting adjusted very regularly, I started to notice a change which led to the vertigo symptoms disappearing. I was ecstatic, I had no idea a chiropractic adjustment could help with vertigo but low and behold here I was improving without changing anything except getting checked and adjusted more often. 

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is a feeling of yourself spinning or the world around you spinning when there isn’t any actual movement. The feeling you get after getting off of a ride at the carnival that has spun you very quickly or after getting spun on a swing set as a kid is a type of mild vertigo with a known cause. It is a disconnect between the organs in the inner ear that tell your brain where your head is and sensory information from your eyes. The two signals the brain receives? don’t match and so the brain does the best it can to interpret those two signals that should be the same but aren’t. There are lots of things that can cause vertigo such as  Meniere’s disease or BPPV to name a couple. There are also some potentially dangerous causes of vertigo so if you are experiencing the symptom of vertigo give us a call and we can evaluate you to see if chiropractic care would be a good fit for your symptoms or send you to where you need to be to get the care you need. 

How is vertigo related to chiropractic?

Now you might be asking how in the world could chiropractic and vertigo be related. There are a few theories on how they are related, and there is some research going on that may show more of a connection between chiropractic care and a decrease in vertigo in patients. Most often in patients who experience relief from vertigo after a chiropractic adjustment, we can hypothesize that the misalignment had an effect on the vestibulocochlear nerve. This may be because of the proximity of the vestibulocochlear nerve to the structures of the brain stem, spinal cord, and spinal canal. the vestibulocochlear nerve is responsible for transmitting the information gained by the inner ear to the brain. the inner ear has a set of tiny organs that can detect where the head is and then transfer that data to the brain for interpretation and comparison with the information being gathered by the eyes. Misalignment of C1 can tug on the structures that surround the vestibulocochlear nerve and therefore cause interference. It is hard to pinpoint the cause of vertigo but the area directly above C1 is very sensitive and when it is tampered with it can become the cause of vertigo. 

What will your chiropractor in Juneau do if you come in with vertigo?

When a patient comes into the office with a concern of vertigo we go through a barrage of tests to rule out any of the causes of vertigo that could be underlying for which we would refer to other practitioners. As with all patients, we check for red flags that would contraindicate an adjustment. At Happy Family Chiropractic, your chiropractor in Juneau does all he can to get you the care you need even if it isn’t in our office. Once we deem that you are in the right place and chiropractic adjustments have the potential to help your situation we design a care plan with you to get you taken care of. If you or anyone you know sufferers from vertigo send them our way, we would love to assess them and see if their case could be helped through chiropractic care. I know how life is with vertigo, I experienced it first hand and therefore understand how life-changing it can be. Come in and see me. 

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We are located at 800 Glacier Ave in Juneau, Alaska. Book an appointment today!

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If you liked this post, share it with your friends! It will really help my practice grow. -Dr. Derek