What Do You Know About Vertigo?


 

By Dr. Peter Le 

Beep Beep Beep… the alarm clock rings. It’s a beautiful morning and it’s time to get going. You stand up, get out of bed and BOOM, it hits you like a freight train. The world starts to spin, your balance is off, and you feel like you want to vomit. No, you’re not on a boat and no, you didn’t over indulge on the wine last night. What you are experiencing is VERTIGO!

What is Vertigo?

 

Most get vertigo confused with being dizzy however, they are not the same. While being dizzy is associated with vertigo, vertigo is a bit more complicated. In addition to the sensation of spinning or losing your balance, patients with vertigo can experience nausea, abnormal eye movements (nystagmus), headaches, ringing in the ear and even hearing loss.

Vertigo is a vestibular disorder, it affects a certain part of your inner ear. There are two types: Peripheral or Central.

Can neck pain be associated with Vertigo?

Dysfunction of the cervical spine can lead to dizziness, balance issues and nausea. This can be mistaken for vertigo. This often occurs when cervical segments become misaligned therefore, irritating the facets. Often these misaligned segments can contact the spinal cord itself. These misalignments are usually over looked when brain and cervical images come back unremarkable. The doctors at our office, test for these misalignments by positioning the neck and head in specific ways which will re-create the symptoms if in fact, the neck is the culprit. If it is the culprit, treating the neck properly is in fact the only answer. This is a condition we treat successfully, every day. In fact, there's a condition that we teach to other doctors, called The Superior Cervical Ganglion Syndrome. It often causes dizziness, light sensitivity, headaches, head flushing, hearing changes and head "fullness" or pain. It is usually not diagnosed. If you have these symptoms, please look at this page. It's very important, and can be life changing.

How does Vertigo develop and how do you treat it?

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is an example of peripheral vertigo. BPPV is the most common form of vertigo and it is caused when tiny crystals (Otoconia). They are normally attached to a part in the inner ear but can become dislodged and begin to float around. If these crystals block the normal flow of fluid in the inner ear, you can develop Vertigo. It can also develop from a disorder that causes a buildup of fluid in the inner ear that changes the inner ear’s pressure, known as Meniere’s disease. Vestibular Neuritis can also cause vertigo when someone acquires an infection which causes inflammation around the nerves associated with balance.

Unlike peripheral vertigo, Central Vertigo develops from injuries to the central nervous system. Lesions to the spinal cord or cerebellum can leave a person unable to stand or walk. Vertigo affects millions of people of all ages, while women are three times more likely to develop vertigo than men.

It can be relieved by some medications and sometimes by physical manipulations of the head, especially the Epley maneuver. The maneuver treats BPPV. It can take a few tries to position the head so that these Otoconia can be displaced and return them to the vestibule.

 

Who should I see if I think I have Vertigo?

If you or someone you know suffers from Vertigo and life is negatively affected, there might be treatment options available. Patients should come see us first. We will probably save them unnecessary tests and medications, as the cervical spine is the most often missed cause of dizziness and vertigo. If we recognize that it is not starting in the neck, we will order the necessary tests and send them to the appropriate doctor. Ask us today about what treatment options might be right for you and how to get started.

Location
Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc.
2428 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 305
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: 310-504-2608
Fax: 310-458-0051
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310-504-2608