Tag Archives: neck

Vertigo and Dizziness imagery created by Dr. Peever in Mississauga

Vertigo in Mississauga

Vertigo in Mississauga

Vertigo is a very disabling complaint that we see often as Chiropractors in Mississauga.  Often times patients will be accompanied with a family member to the office because of how severely disabling the condition can be.  The patients will often say that they are “dizzy”.  Dizziness is a word that describes many things, including vertigo.

Dizziness can mean:

  • the patient is in a “fog”
  • the patient feels unbalanced or “out of sorts”
  • the world is spinning

Vertigo is when the world is spinning when you are not!

What causes vertigo?

This problem can be caused by many different things:

  • the neck
  • the ear, nose, or throat
  • the brain or spinal cord
  • the heart or blood vessels

The Chiropractic approach addresses the neck component and how it connects to the spinal cord and spinal nerves.  The word we use in Chiropractic to describe this physiological phenomena is vertebral subluxation.

How does the neck cause vertigo?

There are four hypotheses explaining cervical vertigo (how the neck creates the disabling condition) that are mentioned in this research paper on the Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Cervical Vertigo. Short snippets are mentioned below from the article.  I will try to summarize the concepts for the reader in brackets:

1. Proprioceptive Cervical Vertigo:

(Your neck is causing your problem when in different positions because of injuries to the neck.  Manual therapies such as Chiropractic are suggested to address the neck component of this condition)

  • Whiplash injuries often cause cervical proprioception disorders, leading to cervical vertigo
  • Manual therapy is recommended for treatment of proprioceptive cervical vertigo
  • Manual therapy is effective for cervical vertigo

2. Barre-Lieou Syndrome (Sympathetic Dysfunction)

(The neck is irritating the sensors along the spine which are very important for the body to determine where it is in space and to coordinate body functions. The resulting experience is a feeling of spinning as well as other uncomfortable and disabling symptoms.  Manual therapies such as Chiropractic are suggested to address the imbalance the neck is creating amongst the body’s sensors.)

  • It is a sympathetic nervous system dysfunction
  • The sympathetic plexus surrounding the vertebral arteries could be stimulated by cervical degenerative disease and this stimulation could contribute to reflexive vasoconstriction of the vertebrobasilar system
  • Clinical symptoms include vertigo, tinnitus, headache, blurred vision, dialated pupils, nausea vomiting, etc.
  • Effective treatment includes manual therapy and/or physical therapy. Fusion surgery may be required

3. Rotational Vertebral Artery vertigo (Bow Hunter Syndrome)

(When the neck is turned in these patients the blood flow to the brain is decreased leading to this dizzy and spinning feeling.  These cases can improve with conservative treatments such as Chiropractic care but can also require spine surgery. Fortunately, these cases are rare.)

  • Occlusion or insufficiency of the vertebral artery during neck rotation resulting in decreased blood flow through the posterior inferior cerebellar artery, causing vertebrobasilar insufficiency and vertigo
  • May respond to conservative treatment, but cervical decompression and/or cervical spine fusion may be required
  • Rotational vertebral artery vertigo is rare

4. Migraine-associated Cervicogenic Vertigo

(Migraine sufferers can unfortunately experience this same problem as part of their migraines.  There is no proven treatment according to this research paper but conservative efforts such as Chiropractic care are suggested as the primary approach.)

  • Typically these patients suffer from cervical pain and stiffness, migraine, and vertigo.
  • The association between migraine and vertigo has been well documented in the literature.
  • There is no proven treatment, conservative efforts should be the primary approach.

Vertigo in the elderly

According to this same paper mentioned above, 65% of dizziness in the elderly is attributed to cervical spondylosis (the neck).  Cervical spondylosis is when the joints in the neck are “degenerating” or “becoming arthritic”.  Fortunately, the joints in the neck can still be “taught” to move better in spite of the arthritis, unlike the “old dog who can’t learn new tricks”.

How does the neck create vertigo?

The neck creates this problem because your brain relies on information from your neck to determine where your spine and skull are.  If this information is wrong or “jumbled”, then the brain has a very difficult time navigating the world, resulting in this condition.  Here are some excerpts regarding vertigo and the neck:

“Proprioceptive input from the neck helps the coordination of the eye, hand, and body posture as well as spatial orientation.”

“Patients with whiplash injuries always have postural control impairment.”

“Patients with cervical vertigo usually have pain in the back of the neck and occipital region, sometimes accompanied by stiffness of the neck.”

“Cervical vertigo is often increased with neck movements or neck pain and decreased with interventions that relieve neck pain.”


Should I see a Chiropractor if I am suffering from Vertigo?


A thorough Chiropractic examine will help you determine if your neck is  contributing to your problem.  Chiropractors refer to bones in the neck interfering with the nerves as a subluxation.  If your Chiropractor determines that the neck is involved in your case, a series of Chiropractic care will be suggested which can help you get your world “level” again.

Here to help in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health
– Dr. Callum Peever

Contact us in Mississauga

Want to read more associated with this topic?

Check out this other blog from Dr. Peever on Meniere’s Disease. Where Dr. Peever discusses recent research on how 300 Chiropractic patients who were suffering with the dizziness and hearing loss symptoms associated with Meniere’s disease improved with the help of Chiropractic care.

Another great blog is one on upper neck injuries.  The upper neck is a very important part of your spine, and if it is subluxated, it can lead to a wide range of uncomfortable and disabling problems.

Exploring Chiropractic a Vertigo further

This Chiropractic research paper linked below adds some interesting information into the exploration of chronic vertigo, the neck, and what Chiropractic can do to help.

As the title mentions, it goes through the experience of 60 Chiropractic patients who underwent Chiropractic examination and adjustments after presenting to the office with chronic vertigo.

Sixty Patients With Chronic Vertigo Undergoing Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care to Correct Vertebral Subluxation: A Retrospective Analysis

This paper mentions that “Of the 60 vertigo patients, 56 recalled experiencing at least one head or neck trauma prior to the onset of vertigo including auto accidents (25 patients); sporting accidents, such as skiing, cycling, or horseback riding (sixteen patients); or falls on icy sidewalks or down stairs (six patients).”

We discussed in our blog on Meniere’s disease that upper neck injuries, even those that are from 15 years or longer ago, can impact the neck to move and function differently than ideal, which can lead to malfunction amongst the joints, nerves, and sensors in the neck.

This adds to the discussion as the patients in this study didn’t all have cervicogenic vertigo, but they all did show improper necks on chiropractic examination, and they all improved with Chiropractic care.  The patients in this study had different medical diagnoses; including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), cervicogenic, disembarkment syndrome, labyrinthitis, Meniere’s, and migraine-associated vertigo (MAV).

“[Within one to six months of treatment] … Forty-eight patients were symptom-free following treatment and twelve cases were improved in that the severity and/or frequency of vertigo episodes were reduced.”

This is promising for people who are suffering with various forms of vertigo.  Whether it is BPPV, labyrinthitis, or other forms of vertigo, it is important to have your neck examined by a Chiropractor to determine if the neck is also contributing to your problem.  Sometimes it is a major component of the problem that has been overlooked, and sometimes it is a minor component that is worth improving on while other treatments are considered.

Whether your neck is a major or minor component of your problem, it is worth your efforts to improve it and get your life balanced again.

Dr. Callum Peever – Chiropractor in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health

BPPV and Chiropractic

The following research study discusses a case in which a lady suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo was helped through Chiropractic care.  Some of my favourite excerpts from the article are listed below along with my comments.  To learn more, read the article or connect to me in Mississauga. – Dr. Callum Peever

Resolution of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) in a 33 Year Old Female Following Chiropractic Care

“The following case study features the favorable outcome of a female patient who presented to her chiropractor with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.”
-At our Chiropractic office in Mississauga we see people suffering with these problems often. These symptoms are too worrisome and severe for the patient to ignore and they have often seen other specialists with no success first.  Much focus is spent on the ear canals, which is helpful, but often times the neck component of the problem has not been assessed.  That is where the Chiropractor comes into play.  It is important that all aspects of the problem are addressed in order to encourage the body to regain its balance again.

What is BPPV?

“Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is a spinning sensation perceived with changes of head position and movement.”

What is this patients experience with this dizzying problem?

“The patient began re-experiencing BPPV and again sought treatment form her general practitioner and an otolaryngologist (ENT). She was prescribed medication but refused to take it since she was nursing her 1-year-old child. The Epley maneuver was also performed and while the severity subsided, the vertigo remained. She then scheduled an appointment with her chiropractor.”

“The patient was driven to her first few appointments, as she was so dizzy she was unable to drive. Cervical radiographs (X-Rays) were also taken. Osteoarthritis was present at the levels of C4, C5 and C6 with evidence of minor osteophytosis in its early stage. She lacked a cervical lordosis, instead displaying a straightened neck with anterior head carriage. Static and motion palpitation revealed several spastic, hypo-mobile and tender segments throughout the patient’s spine. The patient’s posture demonstrated right head tilt with left head rotation.”
-The Chiropractic exam focuses on how the bones, joints, and nerves in the neck are functioning together.  If these important structures in the spine are not functioning properly, they can greatly impact a person’s balance.  (Interestingly, these structures in the upper neck can even impact the pressure/fullness in the ears, as well as nerve functioning in the ears.)  Posture, structure, function, and reflexes are assessed through touch, observation, movement patterns and X-Rays.

“Intervention and outcomes for this patient with BPPV The patient was examined for vertebral subluxation and adjusted 13 times in a three-month period. The segments adjusted varied per visit, based on subluxation indicators found each visit. The doctor utilized mostly Diversified adjusting techniques, including side posture, drop table, prone thoracic adjustments, and supine cervical sets.”

“By her third visit, the patient was experiencing fewer vertigo episodes. Her neck and mid back pain had also decreased in severity. She was able to drive by her fourth visit, noting she had fewer dizzy moments but the vertigo was much better. On her 14th visit, she presented with no complaints.”

“Most BPPV is primary, or idiopathic, but secondary BPPV may be due to head trauma, inner ear disease, migraine headaches and much more.”
-It is very common for a person experiencing this problem to have had an injury to their head in the past. Not only can this “shake up” the ear canals but it can also “shake up” the neck! Interestingly, in a study of patients with a similar problem, the head injury from a car accident was on average 15 years before they experienced issues of dizziness!

How is the Diagnosis of BPPV made?

A diagnosis of BPPV is made medically by observing the characteristic nystagmus (shaking of the eye ball) following a position maneuver with the patient. Posterior canal BPPV, the most common type, is diagnosed via the Dix-Hallpike maneuver.
-There are many differing forms of why vertigo could be happening.  This is some of the clinical information that identifies that the problem is due to positioning of the head or neck, as well as that it is changing.

Treatment for BPPV

“Drugs and surgeries come with side effects and are therefore used sparingly or not at all to reduce the risk of increasing falls and discomfort [in patients suffering with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.]

“There are essentially two classifications of treatment for BPPV: canalith repositioning maneuvers (CRMs) and medication. BPPV often remits within 6 months without intervention, however, its symptoms can greatly interfere with daily living and patients often seek treatment….Repositioning maneuvers attempt to guide the debris floating in the endolymph-filled canals back into the utricle…  The Epley and Semont maneuvers are the most commonly utilized CRMs.”
-These repositioning maneuvers can be done in the Chiropractic office or at home once you learn them.  If you are curious about them there are many videos of them online, or you can ask your chiropractor.

Here is a video describing the Epley maneuver that can be found on youtube:

Chiropractic & BPPV

The patient in this case presented to her chiropractor after a failed Epley maneuver attempt by her ENT and her decision not to take the prescribed medication. In the literature several papers showcase chiropractic care and its effectiveness in the management of vertigo.

The author of this research article discusses how a Chiropractic adjustment can impact BPPV.  She does this by connecting the subluxation theories to how the subluxation of the neck can manipulate a vertigo experience:

One model of subluxation theory, the Subluxation Degeneration Model, suggests there are neurological consequences with degeneration of the spine. Pioneers in the study of vertigo, Dix and Hallpike, found cervical x-ray findings at the fifth and sixth vertebrae to be common among vertigo sufferers. (The bones in the neck stop working well due to arthritis and they begin to interfere with the nerve signals going to the brain creating an imbalance in the person at a very important part of the spine).

Another dysfunction resulting from subluxation, described in the Dysafferentation Model, may serve to further the connection between vertebral subluxation and the BPPV. Due to the amount of receptors along the joints in the spine, especially the upper neck, any dysfunction can result in a confusing balancing experience for the brain – with vertigo being the experience or aggravated.

Conclusion of the research study “It is therefore suggested that those suffering with vertigo seek chiropractic care before resolving to medication or surgery, as chiropractic adjustments address the cause of neurological dysfunction, rather than masking symptoms.”

Conditions caused by Upper Neck Injuries

Conditions That May Be Caused by Upper Neck Injuries

The upper neck is a very sensitive spot in the spine.   This is because the upper neck vertebrae (atlas and axis) are the most movable part of the spine and these vertebrae in the upper neck can directly impact the brain stem.  By impacting the brain stem, these upper neck injuries can greatly impact and lead to many conditions such as headaches, migraines, backaches, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and many other, more serious conditions (Parkinson’s Disease to Multiple Sclerosis.)  Fortunately, by addressing these upper neck injuries with our Chiropractors in Mississauga, you can greatly help these neck pains now and try to reduce the chance of these upper neck injuries leading to future problems.

How could an upper neck injury cause conditions like Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis?

Researchers theorize that vertebral subluxations set up “virtual road blocks” within the neck and spinal column. These roadblocks may alter nerve function and sensation, which may affect every part of the body from the brain to the heart.

The good news is that vertebral subluxations are correctable through chiropractic adjustments, safe and specific maneuvers employed by doctors of chiropractic.  Dr. Callum Peever uses the Activator Method Chiropractic Technique to locate and correct areas in your spine that are subluxated.

Bottom Line: Neck injuries affect more than just the neck. Spinal trauma accidents occur in just seconds, yet chiropractors, such as your doctor at Erin Mills Optimum Health, know that uncorrected vertebral subluxations may last for years, causing enduring pain and disability.  It is ideal to be checked for subluxations every 2 weeks according to lab research. But if this is not possible in your life, getting checked for subluxations after any neck injury or fall is a must!

Migraines, Emotional Problems, Neck Pain & Backache

In Mississauga we see many patients that have been suffering with migraines, emotional problems, neck pain and backache improve while under chiropractic care. Here is an article to read covering the same topic:
Treatment of Bipolar, Seizure, and Sleep Disorders and Migraine Headaches Utilizing a Chiropractic Technique

Depression after upper neck injuries

Researchers also link neck injuries to emotional depression.

Cerebral symptoms after whiplash injury of the neck: a prospective clinical and neuropsychological study of whiplash injury.

From this study they found that within 2 weeks of a whiplash injury to the neck, out of the 21 subjects of the study… “…13 patients reported concentration deficits, 18 reported sleep disturbances, 9 had symptoms of depression, and 7 female patients told of menstrual irregularities.”

Watch the posture in someone who is depressed –> their spinal posture plays a big roll in the experience of depression.

Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis

Research shows that spinal trauma may trigger and worsen Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms.

Acute cervical hyperextension–hyperflexion injury may precipitate and/or exacerbate symptomatic multiple sclerosis

Fortunately initial research shows that chiropractic adjustments can help reduce symptoms for both MS and PD patients who’ve sustained neck injuries.

Chiropractic Care for Nonmusculoskeletal Conditions: A Systematic Review with Implications for Whole Systems Research

Alzheimer’s Disease and neck injuries

Brain traumas are common with severe upper neck injuries.

Why? The brain stem begins at the junction of the neck, so any traumatic event to the upper cervical spine often results in some brain trauma.

Studies show that brain injuries – even early in life – may predispose individuals to develop the mind-robbing condition Alzheimer’s disease.

Thrombin, a mediator of neurotoxicity and memory impairment

From this study: “Thrombin has been found in neuritic plaques in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Also, traumatic brain injury, where neurons are exposed to high thrombin levels, is associated with an increased incidence of AD.”


Studies show that the trauma caused by spinal injuries speeds up the process of osteoarthritis. In addition, research indicates that osteoarthritis increases incidents of falls causing fractures.

Osteoarthritis of the knee is associated with vertebral and nonvertebral fractures in the elderly: The Rotterdam Study

How Does arthritis affect you?

Dizziness and the upper neck

It is very common for patients with upper neck injuries to present with dizziness or vertigo.  The upper neck is an often overlooked aspect in a patient experiencing dizziness or vertigo, but not at our office!  We see patients that have been experiencing this disabling problem regularly.  For those patients that the upper neck is involved in their dizziness, a course of specific Chiropractic adjustments can help restore the balance aspect of the upper neck! Check out our blog on a very disabling form of vertigo – Meniere’s Disease – to learn more about how the Chiropractic approach can assist people who are suffering with vertigo.

Arm Numbness

When the lower neck vertebrae pinches or irritates the nerves, the effect is felt into the arms leading to arm numbness, tingling, and weakness. However, the upper neck can lead to similar problems as all of the nerves pass from the brain, through the upper neck, to their destination.  In this 2018 study below, the upper neck of this man was the key factor that created his arm numbness which had lasted for 5 months.

Resolution of neck pain and upper extremity paresthesia in a 28-year old male following blair upper cervical chiropractic care to reduce vertebral subluxation 2018

If you are suffering with arm numbness, tingling, or weakness definitely have your neck checked for alignment.  If the neck is out of position it is very easy for the bones to irritate the nerves. Chiropractic can help!

Path of Prevention after an upper neck injury

If you’ve sustained any type of accident – form mild to traumatic – contact your doctor of chiropractic in Mississauga for a complete spinal evaluation.

If you’re currently in pain, your symptoms could be related to undetected vertebral subluxations, which can be easily corrected. Even if you feel you’ve escaped the trauma symptom free, scheduling an appointment with your Mississauga Chiropractor will ensure that your neck and spine are in working order to avoid future problems.

Torticollis Spasm Twisted Neck help chiropractic

Torticollis – Spasmed and Twisted Neck

 What is torticollis?

Torticollis is when the neck is “stuck” in position that prevents a person, often a child or infant, from moving.  The neck is typically stuck in a tilted and slightly turned position, but can be stuck in many different positions.

What is done to help torticollis neck?

In the past, medical efforts were done to surgically cut the muscles.  Fortunately now chiropractors can specifically align the shifted bone in the neck without surgery.  By addressing the shifted bone, it can assist the spasms in the neck muscles.  By addressing the shifted bone in the neck (the shifted bond in the neck is called a subluxation) it can also “reset” reflexes along the neck which can greatly help the person to improve the condition of their neck.

How do you know if you have torticollis?

Torticollis is quite a dramatic experience for a patient or a family.  It is painful when your neck is stuck in the wrong position, and very scary to not be able to turn your neck.  Your local chiropractor, including us in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health, can examine your neck to determine what has happened.  Depending on what has happened, x-rays may be necessary.

Stories of young children with torticollis:

I remember a specific case where a father carried in his son to our chiropractic clinic in his pajamas early on a Saturday morning.  The family was so worried about the situation, but fortunately I was able to locate the specific bone that had shifted creating his torticollis.  The little boy was able to walk out of the office moving his neck more comfortably.  After checking the boy’s neck and specifically adjusting it using the Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique, he was back to his naturally healthy self within days!
– Dr. Callum Peever – Chiropractor in Mississauga

Below is a video that was shared to me by one of my Chiropractic patients.  It is a story of another young boy who is experiencing a neck spasm that is examined and helped by a Chiropractor in Australia.  Check it out:

(The video address has been changed recently in May 2016 so I will wait to see if it returns before removing the link as it was a great video. – CP)

There are also many cases of young infants with torticollis that are helped with chiropractic care.  Check them out here:

Reduction of Congenital Torticollis in a Four Month Old Child with Vertebral Subluxation: A Case Report & Review of Literature


If you are experiencing torticollis in Mississauga, a chiropractic exam is essential! Contact us!