Vertigo, Neck Pain, and Headaches

14 Jan
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How are vertigo, neck pain, and headaches related?

Vertigo, neck pain, and headaches are all symptoms that can be experienced after neck injuries. These symptoms can remain for years after the injury. The upper neck is very sensitive and has many important roles to play in the body. When the upper neck is subluxated, the patient often experiences headaches and is out of balance.

The following case study highlights a patient who had vertigo, neck pain, and headaches immediately following a car accident. She suffered a rear end collision while waiting at a stop. These symptoms last 3 years before she was able to properly address them with the Chiropractor. The patient presented to the Chiropractic office due to her neck pain, but over the course of care the other symptoms where mentioned. Through the ninth visit, the patient’s balance was restored, her headaches were gone, and her neck had improved greatly.

The following are some of my favourite excerpts and a summary of a 2019 Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research article titled:
Resolution of vertigo, neck pain, and headache following Chiropractic Care: A Case study & Review of the literature.

“The rationale behind how whiplash injuries cause vertigo is based on the idea that post-traumatic modifications in the proprioceptive input, along with cervicalgia, will alter the proprioceptive input into the cerebellum and cause subsequent damage to the vestibular-spinal reflex.”

“It is postulated that when the neck is in chronic pain, such as in a post-traumatic situation, and the cerebellum is compromised, the vestibular-occular reflex will not integrate properly into the brain. This will lead to a sense of vertigo and issues with balance. Simply put, if the eye movements are not properly coordinated and therefore vision is not perceived accurately, vertigo will inevitably result. This concept will prove to be especially important in the outcome of this case.”

“The interventions utilized in this case had notably positive outcomes on the patient’s complaints in most every aspect of her symptomatology. It was shown that the use of a functional neurological approach in conjunction with chiropractic care can be of efficacious benefit to patients suffering from vertigo and other whiplash associated disorders.”

“In summary, a whiplash injury will cause negative neuroplastic changes in the brain due to the altered proprioception from cervical subluxation as a result of the injury. Using chiropractic care, as well as specific neurological exercises, the patient’s cervical subluxation, as well as negative neuroplastic changes causing subsequent vestibular dysfunction, can be alleviated and improved”

The author summarizes the Dysafferentation Model of Subluxation Correction in this patient’s experience as:

” This patient was suffering from inappropriate sensory information from her cervical spine, resulting in inappropriate output manifesting as vertigo, inaccurate eye movements, and possibly even as her hypertension.”


What Chiropractic Techniques were used to help this patient?

The Chiropractor used Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique as well as functional neurology methods to assist this patient in recovering.

I hope this information makes you curious about the importance of the neck with regards to injury and recovery. Read more about the topic of vertigo, and meniere’s disease by following the links.

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