Vertigo treatment in Charlotte North Carolina

Posted in Balance Disorders Dizziness Vertigo on 05/17/2021 00:00 AM

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Have you ever been dizzy before? Maybe you went from laying downto standing up too fast, and the room starts to spin until you canget a hold of things. Maybe you were like me and you playedfootball in high school; you get your bell rung a few too manytimes, you get up, then get your bearings before you can go back.Maybe you have vertigo, and you wake up in the middle of the nightwith the room spinning and spinning and spinning until it finallystops. My name is Dr. Zach Shaw, and I am with the Upper CervicalSpine Center. We see dizziness and vertigo a significant amount inour office, so why do our patients who experience these symptomsget great results with our care?

The main reason being the upper cervical spine, or the top twobones in your neck, house what is called the brainstem. Thebrainstem is the connector between your brain and the rest of yourbody. It is like our relay center. Sometimes we call it HoustonControl for all you space aeronauts out there. The brainstem holds10 out of 12 cranial nerves. If you have read previous blogs ofmine, you will see that these cranial nerves innervate the face,eyes, ears, and everything else up into our head, and it all comesfrom the top of the neck. How does this affect dizziness? First, wemust talk about balance because essentially dizziness, or vertigo,is a lack of balance. Where does balance come from in our body?Balance comes from three things: our eyes, ears, andmechanoreceptors. Mechanoreceptors are little cells in the musclethat basically tell us where we are in space, while causing certainmuscles to contract or relax for us to stay balanced.

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All three of these things play a role, and all three of themstart at the top of the neck. Let us think about a real-worldscenario. You are deep sea fishing, or maybe you are just on a boatout in the ocean. When you are on the boat, you are looking out onthe horizon and everything looks flat. You see the horizon, nothingis moving. Maybe you can see some waves, but other than that,everything is still. However, we are bobbing up and down on thosewaves, so the eyes see the still horizon, but the ears (and fluidin the ears) are constantly up and down. In essence, eyes arestill, ears are moving, and the brain does not know what to do.

Suddenly you get a little dizzy, then boom, you are seasick andwind up throwing up off the deck. The problem with this is thatpeople with dizziness or vertigo are not even on a boat! Why isthis happening? Why is it that you can get dizzy, but your eyes andyour ears are still? This is where the nerve system comes in. Ifthere is pressure on the brainstem due to a misalignment at the topof the neck, one of those nerves that are going up into the ears,or eyes, could be interfered with. Maybe it is interfering with theoptic nerve, cutting off some of your visual clarity. Maybe themisalignment is cutting off the nerve input to thevestibulocochlear nerve. “Vestibulo” means balance and “cochlear”means hearing. If there is pressure on that “vestibulo” part, weare not going to be able to balance properly, and thus, we havedizziness or vertigo. 

What about mechanoreceptors? When one of the top bones in theneck misaligns, forcing certain muscles to contract and others torelax, they stay contracted for a long period of time, causing themechanoreceptors to get damaged. There is also something called thevestibular nucleus. Remember that vestibular means balance and thevestibular nucleus just so happens to be right in the heart of thebrainstem. If the messages from these mechanoreceptors to thevestibular nucleus are interfered with, it just cannot functionproperly. If the balance center of our body is not functioningproperly, does it make sense that we may experience dizziness andvertigo?

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Another thing that can happen is that when the top bone in yourneck misaligns, it forces your head to come out in front of you.When this happens, it causes a lack of proper curvature of thebones in the neck, resulting in a straight neck, or even areverse-curve. This abnormal position starts to pull on the musclesin the neck, while also stressing the arteries going up into thehead. Stress on these arteries causes a lack of blood flow to thebrain. Does it make sense why this can cause dizziness andvertigo?

Now you know exactly how dizziness and vertigo happen, so how dowe correct it? In our office, it is simple. All we do is find themisalignment at the top of the neck and correct it. This correctiontakes pressure off your nerve system, allowing your body tofunction better. With better function comes less symptoms, which iswhy our patients who experience dizziness and vertigo achieve greatresults. If you or a loved one suffer from dizziness, vertigo,Meniere's disease, or anything that has to do with the eyes, ears,or the mechanoreceptors in your neck, give our office a call. Weare happy to do a consultation free of charge to see if it is anupper cervical issue that we can help you with. That number is(704) 588-5560. If you are not in the Charlotte, North Carolinaarea, give our office a call anyway. I promise we will find anupper cervical doctor as close to you as possible. If you sufferfrom dizziness or vertigo, let's get you into the office. I hopeyou learned something today. Take care.

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