What is Cervicogenic Dizziness?
Cervicogenic dizziness is vertigo caused by conditions related to the neck. You may have asked yourself a question like, ‘can a pinched nerve cause dizziness’. The answer is yes, under certain conditions a nerve in the neck experiencing excess pressure can cause bouts of dizziness.
Such conditions can include irritated nerves and blood vessels, a previous injury or years of bad posture resulting in a stiff neck and dizziness. A number of other medical conditions that involve the degeneration of the cervical spine can also be the cause.
Head or Neck Injuries Can Result in Cervicogenic Dizziness
Cervicogenic dizziness can often result from a case of whiplash or a head injury. When ligaments of your neck take damage or are over-stretched, pressure on your nerves can take place. This, in turn, can result in bouts of cervicogenic dizziness. If you are experiencing neck pain and dizziness, it’s important to act immediately. Consult with a physical therapist to prevent any other issues from occurring.
Additional symptoms of Cervicogenic Dizziness 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
Depending on the severity of your condition, you may also experience an unsteady gait. Such instances can be aggravated by moving your neck or your spine. You also 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. Vascular compression syndromes are excess pressure being applied to a blood vessel and cranial nerve. Generally, there is pain and stiffness in the neck or spine. Compression in the nerves or blood vessels results in more intense dizziness.
Cervicogenic Headaches and Dizziness
Often people with cervicogenic dizziness will often have a headache along with the dizziness. In many cases, when you alleviate the neck pain, 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
Diagnosis of cervicogenic dizziness usually occurs after the elimination of other causes of vertigo. 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
Often, the management and treatment of this disorder involve physical therapy. Here at Biomotion, your therapist will work with you to regain the range of motion in your neck and spine. Gentle mobilization, posture training, and coaching will help alleviate symptoms of cervicogenic dizziness. We also help you train through several neck exercises to reinforce recovery.
Depending on the cause of vertigo, your posture may need correction. You may also need eye exercises and rehabilitation exercises that involve movement. When recovering it’s important to note heat, ice, and massage can help reduce the pain.
Cervicogenic dizziness is a debilitating condition. However, physical therapy can help manage and treat the issue. 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.