Vertigo and dizziness are part of the spectrum of balance disorders. In these conditions, people may feel as though things around them are spinning. They may feel as though they are still moving, even though they are actually still, or that they are very unsteady and have a loss of balance. They may even fear moving because they may fall.
How Common Are Balance Disorders?
Various studies have reported anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of adults will suffer from some sort of balance disorder at some time in their lives. It should come as no surprise that the elderly are those most prone to balance disorders. Treating injuries and conditions associated with falls due to balance disorders costs the United States more than $20 billion each year.
Causes of Balance Disorders
Balance disorders represent very severe symptoms of underlying illnesses, injuries, or reactions to medication. This makes it very difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of the balance disorder. In almost all cases, it involves a problem with the vestibular structure of the inner ear, which controls our sense of balance. The vestibular structure works in concordance with the eyes, the brain, and the muscles to coordinate visual cues and movement. In balance disorders, the brain will receive incorrect signals from these other organs and will “misfire.”
Labyrinthitis is probably the most common type of balance disorder, and is a result of an infection or inflammation of the inner ear. It will often accompany the flu or common cold. Head injuries, including those to the brain, as well as low blood pressure, can also cause balance problems. Certain medications, including aspirin and some chemotherapy drugs, may affect both balance and hearing.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help with Balance Disorders?
Depending on the root cause of the balance disorder, different chiropractic treatments may be used. In some cases, where the cervical (neck) joints are not moving correctly, the brain may end up sending incorrect signals to the muscles, resulting in what is known as cervicogenic vertigo. Adjustments to the cervical spinal joints can help them move properly. In other cases, the chiropractor may put the patient through a series of positions in order to help clear debris that may have settled in the sensitive structures of the inner ear and can cause balance disorders.
What Does the Research Say?
An article published in the Jan. 7, 2013 issue of Chiropractic and Manual Therapies compared a group of 177 neck pain patients with dizziness to 228 neck pain patients without dizziness. All patients reported improvement in pain at one, three, and six months into treatment. At six months, 80 percent of patients with dizziness and 78 percent of patients without dizziness reported improvement in symptoms. Furthermore, at six months, there was no difference in improvement measures between patients with dizziness and those without. There are also a number of case reports that show improvement in various balance disorders with the use of chiropractic techniques.
Balance disorders can greatly impair patients’ daily lives. Chiropractic care can offer a safe, effective means for them to regain control.
Contact Horst Chiropractic today to schedule your appointment.