I would like to talk to you a little bit about vestibular problems and a natural way to get relief at our clinic. If you have a vestibular disorder, obviously it is an inner ear problem that has something to do with your balance. Sometimes you get a little lightheaded, a little dizzy; sometimes you get so bad that you might throw up; you might have what they call drop attacks, where you just fall to the ground, or just can’t even stand up! The vestibular system is a way to help your brain know where it is in space. It actually comes from the same reflex that causes seasickness. Balance is a combination of your eyes, fluid in your ears, and mechanoreceptors receptors around the brain and the head all working together, constantly telling the brain where it is in space.

     If you close your eyes and move around, you still know where you are, even without your eyes. If you go underwater, you can sense where you are. It is all about just making sure the brain knows where it is at all times.

    However, vestibular messages can get distorted, giving the brain faulty information. The brain gets a little woozy, a little lightheaded, a little dizzy. For example, if you are experiencing seasickness and you are looking out on a flat horizon, your eyes are telling you that you are still, but mechanoreceptors and fluid in your ears feel you going up and down. This phenomenon is confusing to the brain, making you dizzy and ultimately nauseous, sometimes to the point of throwing up.

     What we have found with a lot of vestibular problems is that they actually come from the messages from the ear getting distorted before it gets to the brain. This makes the brain confused. There is only one place this can happen, and that is at the top of the neck. This is because the nerves from the inner ear go down inside your head, then down through the neck, connecting to what is called the brainstem, which is located through the top two bones of the neck.

     This is the only place where the nerve can actually get altered, or interfered with, like stepping on a garden hose. The normal message leaves the ear telling you everything is balanced, but right at the level where the nerve goes into the brainstem, the message can be altered due to a bone being out of alignment. The normal message now leaves the ear and gets to the brainstem where it’s altered. By the time it gets to the brain, the brain receives a different message. Now the eyes are saying one thing and mechanoreceptors are saying another. The message to the brain from the inner ear has changed. The brain is confused, giving you the light-headed, the dizziness, the rocking – all the different things that can go along with vestibular problems.

    What we have found at the Upper Cervical Spine Center is that if there is a bone out of alignment in the upper neck, and if we can correct it, it is as simple as taking your foot off the garden hose. Now the normal message from the ear travels through the nerve to the brainstem, then to the brain, unaltered and unimpeded, giving the brain the normal message it is supposed to get. Thus, the symptoms go away. The dizziness, the lightheadedness, the rocking – whatever type of symptom you might have related to that vestibular portion of the ear.