Category: <span>Chiropractic</span>

chiropractors can help with vertigo

Chiropractors Can Help With Vertigo

Vertigo – it comes in many forms, has many causes, can be acute or chronic and affects around 35-40% of all people over the age of 40 at least once in their lifetime. Perhaps you have experienced it? Or know someone who has? It’s extremely frustrating and debilitating…and if it is chronic, it is a tough way to live your life.

When I hear about a friend or relative having an experience with vertigo, I always feel a lot of empathy for what they are going through. Sufferers often have a sense that the room is spinning, with extreme dizziness. Vertigo can be accompanied by tinnitus – or a ringing of the ear – balance issues, nausea and vomiting and headaches. Some folks can even lose their hearing over time.

I’ve known people to have a temporary experience with vertigo that thankfully subsided over time. Vertigo has various causes but many are related to the inner ear. Patients have asked me if chiropractors can help with Vertigo – and the answer is yes! But before visiting one, here’s what you should know about the condition and the treatment.

 

What Causes Vertigo

Vertigo is not a condition you can predict or expect to have happen. For many, it just shows up one day, although there are some instances when head trauma or a virus can trigger it.

 

Central vertigo occurs as the result of a disturbance in one or more parts of the brain, known as sensory nerve pathways.

 

Peripheral vertigo occurs when there is a disturbance in the balance organs of the inner ear. This is the more common cause of vertigo. Within this category of causes, there are a few main kinds:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BBPV is a condition that affects the inner ear, particularly when calcium particles or crystals clutter in the canals of the ear and the endolymph fluid can’t move them along.
  • Meniere’s disease is caused by a change in pressure in the ear plus a buildup of fluid. This can cause both vertigo and possibly hearing loss.
  • Labyrinthitis is commonly associated with having an ear infection in the structure of the ear that controls hearing and balance.
  • Vestibular neuritis is also a condition commonly associated with having an ear infection. The nerves of the inner ear become inflamed and vertigo symptoms ensue.

 

Treatments for Vertigo

For the forms of vertigo that don’t go away without treatment, there are some treatment options that do work. In fact, many forms of vertigo – and BBPV in particular – can often be cured over time when specific treatment is applied.

There has been some research on the impact of chiropractic on people suffering from vertigo symptoms, such as dizziness and lack of balance. In this study, patients did improve over time.

Primarily, we chiropractors offer three kinds of treatments that have all shown to be impactful in reducing the symptoms of vertigo.

 

Chiropractic manipulation focuses on the joints that are not moving properly. Cervicogenic vertigo, when the joints of the upper neck send the wrong signals to the brain about body position and movement, benefits the most from chiropractic manipulation. Chiropractor Don Fitz-Ritson conducted a study that had a 90 percent success rate when treating this type of vertigo with manipulation, after 18 months of treatment.

 

Positioning maneuvers is another approach that is well-known for improving vertigo symptoms. If the source of vertigo appears to be the inner ear, it may be that debris has accumulated in the balance center of the inner ear. When debris settles in the complex system of fluid-filled tubes of the inner ear, patients can end up with vertigo. By conducting positioning maneuvers, with the Epley Maneuver being one of the most recognized, a chiropractor can attempt to reposition the debris to a less problematic position within the inner ear. This maneuver works well for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV.

 

 

Finally, we can show you some exercises that are designed to break up the crystals that can lead to Vertigo. They target the vestibulocochlear system, with the Brandt-Daroff exercises being the most commonly known. Patients have to follow the steps religiously and repeat them five times in the morning, afternoon, and evening for about two weeks.

With the Brandt-Daroff approach, I have the patient sits on the edge of his/her bed and alternately lay on first one side, back upright, then the other side at one-minute intervals. While this can help with symptoms if the protocol is followed, I always warn patients that there is a risk of nausea – so folks should discontinue if that symptom becomes severe.

 

Conclusion

While vertigo can be difficult to live with and challenging to resolve, for many people it will go away within a few weeks or months. For some, this won’t happen without treatment. If you find yourself with a bout of vertigo, it’s hard to do nothing and hope it will disappear. So consider seeking help! Chiropractors can help with vertigo – and once we diagnose the cause of your vertigo, we’ve got several options for how to help you get rid of it. I hope you never have it, but I’m here if you do.

 

Dr. Sharman

chiropractic for headaches

Can Headaches Be Helped With Chiropractic Care?

Do you ever get headaches? If so, you’re not alone.

Nine out of ten people get headaches of some variety….frequent, infrequent, chronic, migraine and sadly, some completely debilitating. It’s a very common ailment.

People try lots of things to rid themselves of headaches, including taking various medications, lying down and simply powering through them until they go away. I’ve had patients ask me if chiropractic care can help their headaches – thankfully, the answer is YES!

But before I explain how, let’s start by talking about the common triggers for headaches.

 

What’s Causing Your Headache

Headaches can be caused or triggered by the environment, stress…even the foods you eat.

Environmental triggers can vary. Noises, lights, smells can all create conditions ripe for headaches to develop. Be aware of these factors when you get headaches and see if you can pinpoint your triggers (it will help you avoid them in the future).

Stress is known to create many health ailments in the body – so minimizing your stress levels by using relaxation techniques can help. Yoga, meditation and exercise are all proven ways people successfully keep their stress at bay.

Muscle tension is a big contributor to headaches these days – especially with how sedentary people are these days. Spending hours in front of a computer screen, fixed in one position and having poor posture can increase joint irritation and muscle tension, causing head and neck aches.

Certain foods, insomnia, dehydration, teeth-clenching and blood sugar changes are also headache contributors. Even excessive exercise can cause a headache! 95 percent of headaches can be traced back to some kind of trigger. Only 5 percent are warning signs of some other physical problem. So knowing your triggers and avoiding them at all costs is the best preventative.

 

How Chiropractic Care Can Help

The research supports chiropractic care, in particular, for certain types of headaches. A 2011 JMPT study found that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches.

Migraine headaches are now considered a neurological disease, which results in a severe throbbing recurring pain, usually on one side of the head. A headache can be accompanied by visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.

Cervicogenic headaches, for those unfamiliar with the term, result in “referred pain” or pain perceived as occurring in a part of the body other than its true source. A cervicogenic headache is a secondary headache caused by another illness or physical issue. Its cause is a disorder of the cervical spine and the bony structures or soft tissues of the neck.

Keep in mind that chiropractic care is beneficial for prevention of headache episodes rather than the alleviation of symptoms once a chronic episode has begun.

When I work with patients, I am concerned with helping to correct any neuromusculoskeletal sources of a headache. This includes nerves, muscles and bones of the body. I perform a spinal exam to assess whether chiropractic care could alleviate the pain. I look for whether or not the headache may be caused, or aggravated by any misaligned vertebrae in the spine (subluxation) as that could be creating undue nerve interference.

If I determine that chiropractic care will help, I’ll recommend it. The type of spinal manipulation, frequency of manipulations and duration of treatment can vary. Any reputable chiropractor will take into consideration guidelines, his/her clinical experience and evidence-based findings.

The evidence for using spinal manipulation to relieve pain for patients with a tension-type headache remains questionable. While chiropractic care may help, we don’t have enough evidence to say this definitively.

 

Other Things Your Chiropractor May Recommend

As I mentioned earlier, the causes of headaches are varied – and by taking proactive steps, you may avoid having them altogether! I often provide my patients with nutritional advice and recommend dietary changes and the addition of B complex vitamins. As I’ve written about before, posture is a big part of avoiding all kinds of pain in the body – and focusing on improvements to posture and utilizing ergonomic supports can help stave off certain types of headaches. I often recommend relaxation and/or exercise as a lifestyle change to reduce the frequency of headaches my patients’ experience. Exercise, in particular, can stimulate the circulation of blood to the head and help to maintain neuromusculoskeletal flexibility.

RELATED: What Vitamins Should I Take – Getting the Essentials

 

Final Thoughts

Non-drug treatments may be the first choice for many patients – especially if they have a poor tolerance to medications, have experienced side effects or simply aren’t getting any relief from pharmacology. As well, if a patient is pregnant, nursing or simply has an aversion to medication, spinal manipulations from a licensed chiropractor may be a good option.

If you think you might benefit from chiropractic care – let me know! My staff can schedule an appointment where we can do a thorough exam and decide if chiropractic care may help with your headaches.

Dr. Sharman