What is Cervicogenic Dizziness?
Cervicogenic dizziness is vertigo caused by conditions related to the neck. It can be caused by irritated nerves and blood vessels, either after an injury or years of bad posture, or it can be caused by a number of other medical conditions that involve the degeneration of the cervical spine.
There are tiny receptors in the muscles and joints in your neck that send messages to your brain, inner ear, and eyes. These receptors help you determine where your head is located in relation to the rest of your body. When this system malfunctions it causes sensory confusion, which is why you experience dizziness.
Additional symptoms include:
- Dizziness related to neck movement or turning the head
- A sensation of spinning
- Ear pain and tinnitus, or ear ringing
- Visual disturbances while shaking the head
- Nausea and vomiting
- Neck Pain and dizziness
The pain in your neck can make you dizzy. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may also experience an unsteady gait that can be aggravated by moving your neck or your spine. You may experience pain in your jaw (TMJ), difficulty swallowing, fatigue, as well as problems with your arms and hands due to neuropathy. Vascular compression can also be a cause of cervical vertigo. Generally, there is pain and stiffness in the neck or spine. The dizziness is aggravated by movement, as well as compression in the nerves or blood vessels.
Cervicogenic Headaches and Dizziness
Often people with cervicogenic dizziness will often have a headache along with the dizziness. In many cases, when the neck pain is alleviated, the rest of the symptoms will resolve. The dizziness you experience with this disorder usually occurs after the neck pain starts. The neck pain can be accompanied by a headache. Neck pain can trigger a migraine, and a migraine can cause dizziness.
Cervicogenic Dizziness Diagnosis
Cervicogenic dizziness is usually diagnosed after other causes of vertigo have been eliminated. This would include conditions such as vestibular neuritis, benign positional vertigo, psychogenic vertigo, and Meniere’s disease.
An assessment may include:
- A range of motion assessment
- A postural control assessment
- A neurological assessment
- A sensorimotor function test, including eye movement and balance
Cervicogenic Dizziness Treatment
Typically, the management and treatment of this disorder involves physical therapy. Your therapist will work with you for gentle mobilization, training for posture, and coach you on several neck exercises that will help to regain the range of motion in your neck and spine. Depending on the cause of the vertigo, your posture may need correction; you may also need eye exercises and rehabilitation exercises or exercises that involve walking. Heat, ice, and massage can help alleviate the pain.
Cervicogenic dizziness is a debilitating condition, but can be managed and treated with physical therapy. Once the exact cause of the condition is determined, rehabilitation can help to increase the range of motion in your neck and spine and alleviate many of your symptoms. If you’re experiencing neck pain or dizziness you think might be related to your neck pain, Biomotion Physical Therapy can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.