Have you ever gone to roll over in bed and felt like the whole room was spinning around you? Do head checks while driving make you feel like you’ve been flipped around on a rollercoaster?
You could be suffering from vertigo… and you’re not alone – some studies indicate that 20% of adults are affected by dizziness (including vertigo) every year, with this number exceeding 36% in those over the age of 50, and a whopping 50% in those over the age of 85!
What is vertigo?
Vertigo is considered to be a sensation of movement – usually either feeling like you are spinning, or feeling as though your surroundings are spinning around you.
To understand vertigo, you need to know just a little bit about our body’s vestibular system – a sensory system composed of various parts of the inner ear, the eyes, and the brain.
In the inner ear, we have three tubes called the semicircular canals, and two organs called the otolith organs.The canals contain fluid and “hairs”, and the otolith organs contain tiny crystals known as canaliths.
These structures work together to stimulate the vestibulocochlear nerve to transmit information to the brain about the movements of our head, and they also stimulate the vestibular-ocular reflex which in part helps to stabilise our vision when we move our head.
Additionally, the nerves and muscles surrounding the cervical spine (neck) are also essential for movement and for communication between your body and brain.
Vertigo can occur from disruption to any of these components, which can be from a number of reasons such as blood pressure issues, side effects of medications, inner ear dysfunctions, trauma to the head or neck, and in rarer cases it can be from more serious causes.
So how can your friendly local osteopath help?
The most common causes of dizziness & vertigo that an osteopath may see include:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Dysfunction of the inner ear where the canalith crystals become stuck in the semicircular canals and cause abnormal messages to the brain about your head movements
- Vestibular Migraine
A type of migraine that may not always present with pain in the head, but can have a range of symptoms including vertigo, balance issues, nausea or vomiting, tinnitus, blurry vision, or sensitivity to light & sound
- Cervicogenic dizziness
Dizziness due to dysfunction to the muscles, joints, and ligaments of the base of the skull and upper neck, and the jaw. This may be due to trauma such as a whiplash injury, or from long-standing dysfunctions like teeth grinding, and postural strains.
Our osteopaths will take a comprehensive case history to learn about your specific symptoms and triggers, so that we can narrow down the possible causes of your vertigo.
We will then perform an assessment which may include taking your blood pressure, asking you to perform gentle movements of your neck and jaw, and doing specialised positioning and balance techniques.
Osteopathic treatment might include gentle manual therapy to address any restrictions or tensions around your neck and jaw, and if we determine that the cause of your vertigo is BPPV then we may perform a technique called the Epley manoeuvre, which involves a series of movements aimed at repositioning the canalith crystals in the inner ear.
We will also give you some gentle exercises to do at home, and provide advice on things like lifestyle changes, sleep postures, and stress management strategies.
Are you ready to take control of your vertigo?
Book in with one of our osteopaths here: https://www.bodywellhealthcare.com.au/book-online/