Women’s Magazine. January 2000.
by Erin Elster, DC.
IUCCA Upper Cervical Chiropractic, a new health care technique incorporating modern computerized technology, has been effective in the treatment of vertigo syndromes, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, and Meniere’s Disease. Debbie, age 51, suffered with one to two vertigo episodes per month for an entire decade. She described her benefits from upper cervical care. “Doctors diagnosed me with labyrinthitis and prescribed decongestants and anti-nausea medications which I took for ten years,” she said. “After my first adjustment with Dr. Elster, I stopped taking the decongestants and the dizziness never returned.” One year later, Debbie remains free from vertigo symptoms and medications.
Vertigo is a subjective sensation of environmental movement, which can range from mild, transient episodes to severe, extended attacks. Often, vertigo is associated with nausea, vomiting, malaise, hearing loss, tinnitus (ear ringing), and a feeling of ear fullness or pressure. Physicians in the United States report more than five million vertigo chiropractic manipulation visits per year, making it among the 25 most common reasons Americans visit a doctor. (Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA), 1999)
Besides viral infection of the inner ear, one of the most common causes of vertigo is trauma to the head or neck. (VEDA, 1999) When a person is involved in a traumatic event such as an auto, bike, or ski accident, his/her upper neck vertebrae may misalign, remaining in a stressed position. The neck injury interferes with normal transmission of information between the spinal cord and brain, resulting in symptoms such as vertigo, ear ringing, ear congestion, and nausea. Often, a patient experiences headaches and neck pain as a result of the same injury. In many cases, months to years may pass after an accident before symptoms appear. The proper correction of the neck injury can eliminate vertigo and associated symptoms.
Diagnosis of vertigo syndromes occurs by hearing tests, examination of the middle ear, neurological evaluation, and positional testing of the head and neck. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is usually diagnosed when head and neck movements produce vertigo symptoms. Meniere’s and labyrinthitis, on the other hand, have involvement of hearing loss and/or ear congestion. Treatments offered by medical doctors include cervical exercises and medications for symptomatic relief of nausea and congestion.
IUCCA Upper Cervical Chiropractic works by correcting injuries to the upper cervical spine (upper neck), the fundamental cause of cervicogenic vertigo syndromes. Misalignments in the upper cervical vertebrae cause irritation to the nerves traveling between the brain and spinal cord resulting in vertigo symptoms. Causes of upper neck misalignments dizziness include traumas to the head, neck, or spine, such as concussion, auto accidents, whiplash, sports injuries, bike and ski falls, and poor posture. According to Renewed Freedom Center, “Specific correction of misaligned vertebrae in the upper neck removes irritation in the central nervous system, thereby allowing a patient’s nervous system and body to heal and resume normal function.” Typical IUCCA Upper Cervical Chiropractic treatment involves an initial spinal exam, specific x-rays of the upper neck, computerized thermal spinal scans to measure neurological irritation, and specific adjustments by hand to correct the misaligned vertebrae in the upper neck. History of Trauma History of trauma is consistent with medical histories of other patients who have responded to upper cervical chiropractic care. In cases where a trauma has caused a misalignment of the upper cervical spine resulting in a wide variety of conditions months to years later, correction of the upper cervical spine has improved and/or reversed those symptoms.