A 24-year-old female presented to the clinic with neck pain, headaches and dizziness. She was in a stressful job and frequently suffered from headaches and dizziness on a weekly basis and had been for a number of years.
Dizziness and neck pain are often connected although many people simply consider themselves to be clumsy, to suffer light-headedness, or have a poor sense of balance.
Cervicogenic dizziness may also be associated with headaches and nausea and can be suggestive of compressed nerves in the neck, cervical spinal stenosis, or even infection. Dizziness with neck pain may be fleeting and mild; with clients realizing that sudden neck movements or certain positions bring about the dizzy spells and neck pain. In other cases the pain can be severe and the dizziness extremely debilitating as it may induce considerable fear of falling, disabling nausea, and/or loss of motor skills.
Where clients has neck pain and feels off balance, they might be diagnosed as having cervical vertigo and usually have a history of some kind of trauma to the neck, such as previous fall or whiplash. Inner ear (vestibular) problems can also be the cause of neck pain and dizziness, particularly where bone deformation or inflammation cause pressure in the ear and facial structures.
The nervous system functions to allow us to be aware of our position and posture in space; this is known as proprioception and relies upon three small tubes in the ear, which are filled with fluid. Infection, whether bacterial or viral, and trauma, inflammation, or loss of blood supply (ie: stroke), can all compromise the health of the proprioceptive mechanism and damage the nerves, or change the crystals in the ear. Low blood pressure, some heart problems (such as cardiac arrhythmias), anxiety disorders such as panic attacks or (uncommonly) by hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) can also cause dizziness.
It is important to see your GP if you have any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, to make sure there isn’t a more serious condition that requires medical attention. Once you get the all clear from your doctor then a manual therapist can help.
At Elite Myotherapy the client was treated with a variety of manual therapy methods such as dry needling, massage, intra-oral soft tissue treatment in the jaw and joint mobilisation. The client was also provided with postural advice along with deep neck flexor exercises and had been performing them on a daily basis. This has helped the client strengthen her neck so she didn’t push her head forward and into extension. Previously this position of her head was where she felt most comfortable, however was causing a lot of dysfunction structurally. After the client’s third visit, her posture had changed, her headaches and dizzy episodes had completely cleared up and her neck pain had diminished significantly.
If you suffer from vertigo symptoms, feel free to contact us to see if one of our Myotherapists can help.
Esther Malone – Elite Myotherapist