Feeling dizzy or off-balance are symptoms of a common condition called vertigo. Approximately 40% of Americans report having vertigo at some point in their life. Although it’s not life-threatening, vertigo can be extremely debilitating. When you constantly feel like the room is spinning, living a productive and fulfilling life becomes challenging.

Mild cases of vertigo go away on their own, but you may need treatment for severe conditions. Chiropractic treatment for vertigo can help you avoid traditional medication, physical therapy or surgery.

In this guide, you’ll learn all about vertigo and how to get relief with adjustments like chiropractic neck adjustments, at-home treatments and inner ear realignment.

What Is Vertigo?

Vertigo is an uncomfortable sensation people experience for a variety of reasons. It can make you feel dizzy and unstable, like you just stepped off a roller coaster. Vertigo affects people of all ages but is most prevalent and dangerous in people over 60 years old.

There are two main types:

  1. Peripheral vertigo: Symptoms of peripheral vertigo stem from problems in the vestibular system, which consists of the structures within the inner ear. Peripheral vertigo is much more common and has less severe implications.
  2. Central vertigo: Symptoms of central vertigo arise from issues with your central nervous system, which consists of your brain and spinal cord. While less common, central vertigo is often a symptom of more critical conditions.

Since many other conditions cause vertigo, it can be challenging for doctors to find the root cause. Most cases are relatively harmless and easily treatable, while others can be a symptom of a life-threatening illness.

What Causes Vertigo?

Vertigo symptoms are caused by other health conditions that originate in your vestibular or central nervous system. The source of your vertigo will influence the severity of your symptoms. Discovering the underlying condition is the first step toward finding vertigo relief. Here are the most common causes of vertigo:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): Small crystals inside your ear play a crucial role in regulating your sense of gravity. It’s common for these crystals to dislodge and collect in other areas of your ear, causing BPPV. People with BPPV experience vertigo, nausea and vomiting. BPPV is rarely serious and typically resolves itself within a few weeks.
  • Meniere’s disease: Fluid build-up and pressure in the ear contribute to this condition. People with Meniere’s disease often experience vertigo, tinnitus — ringing in the ears — and hearing loss. This disease usually clears up over time, but extreme cases may require surgery.
  • Vestibular neuritis: Also known as labyrinthitis, this condition stems from a viral infection that creates swelling in the inner ear. The inflammation presses on the nerves that regulate balance, often leading to vertigo, headaches, ear pain, vision changes and hearing loss.
  • Migraines: People who have a history of migraines may develop vestibular migraines. It’s caused by problems in the central nervous system. Vestibular migraines don’t always cause headaches. Instead, the primary symptom is vertigo. People also report feeling nauseous, disoriented, unsteady and sensitive to sound.
  • Stroke: Vertigo is a warning sign and symptom of stroke. In one study, nearly 3.2% of patients over 44 years old who visited the emergency room for vertigo, dizziness and imbalance were diagnosed with having a stroke or mini-stroke.
  • Tumor: As brain tumors grow, they put pressure on the surrounding tissues, which may cause vertigo, tinnitus, headaches and nausea. These symptoms mimic BPPV and other forms of peripheral vertigo, making these tumors more challenging to diagnose. Patients who present these symptoms and don’t respond to treatment of vertigo should have an MRI taken of their brain to check for tumors.
  • Multiple sclerosis: Vertigo is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis. Lesions on the brain damage the nerve pathways that control balance, leading to dizziness and lightheadedness. Your healthcare provider may prescribe anti-motion-sickness medication or corticosteroids to relieve your symptoms.

Vertigo Symptoms

Changing the position of your head typically triggers vertigo. People describe feeling like they’re spinning, swaying, tilting or being pulled in one direction. Standing, walking or moving can make the sensation even worse. Vertigo can be constant or come in waves, lasting from a few minutes to several days.

Various conditions cause vertigo, so it’s often accompanied by other related systems such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Slurred speech
  • Weak limbs
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Facial paralysis

woman rubbing her head from feeling dizzy

Can a Chiropractor Help With Vertigo?

Medication is often the first treatment patients receive to help manage their vertigo. While this can be effective in some cases, it may not treat the underlying condition. Surgery is invasive and requires months of recovery. Chiropractic treatment for vertigo is an all-natural alternative that helps reduce symptoms and prevent future dizzy spells. Unlike physical therapy, chiropractors specialize in treating muscles, nerves, vertebrae and spinal cords. They can help target and relieve symptoms of peripheral and central vertigo.

The following vertigo and chiropractic care techniques can help you regain your sense of balance:

1. Vertigo Chiropractic Manipulation

Neck alignment and dizziness are often related. Your spine’s alignment significantly impacts the function of your central nervous system. A basic chiropractic adjustment will help realign your joints and vertebrae so your nerves can communicate properly. Chiropractic care treats vertigo at the source to relieve your symptoms and prevent them from reoccurring.

2. The Epley Maneuver

The Epley Maneuver realigns the inner ear to treat BPPV and other forms of peripheral vertigo. It helps reposition the crystals within the ear that regulate your balance. It’s a non-invasive technique with almost immediate results. Here’s what you can expect:

  • You will lie down with your shoulders resting on a pillow, so your head is extended back about 20 to 30 degrees. The chiropractor will position your head to face 45 degrees to the right. You will rest in this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • The chiropractor will rotate your head 90 degrees to the opposite side. You will rest in this position for another 30 to 60 seconds.
  • You will turn onto your left side, facing down toward the table, so your head is 45 degrees from horizontal. You will rest in this position for another 30 to 60 seconds.

3. The Brandt-Daroff Technique

Your vertigo chiropractor may recommend simple exercises like the Brandt-Daroff technique to help you regain your balance. This method is quick and easy enough to do at home. Follow these steps:

  1. Sit on the edge of your bed or couch with your feet resting or dangling in front of you.
  2. Lie down on your left side, turning your head, so you face the ceiling. You may tuck your legs onto the bed as you lie down. Your head should be looking up at a 45-degree angle. Try to complete this movement within 1 to 2 seconds and hold this position for about 30 seconds.
  3. Sit up and face forward for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat the first three steps on your right side.
  5. Perform this exercise four times on each side for a total of five repetitions.
  6. When you’ve finished the exercise, you may feel light-headed. If so, rest for a few moments before standing up.

Get Vertigo Relief With Thrive Chiropractic Group

Treating vertigo shouldn’t be done alone. Get back to doing what you love with vertigo treatment from Thrive Chiropractic Group. We provide the South Oklahoma City community with long-term relief from vertigo and many other conditions. Our team of experts has helped patients take control of their health for over 14 years.

We’re proud to be serving a diverse range of patients from athletes to seniors and everyone in between. Don’t just survive, thrive! Schedule an appointment today to receive treatment for vertigo symptoms.

chiropractor aligning patient's back for vertigo relief