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A unique approach for vertigo

By Staff | Mar 22, 2018

According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, over 35 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 40 (69 million Americans) have experienced vertigo at some point in their lives. Symptoms are caused by dysfunction of the vestibular system – the balance system – which includes the eyes, inner ear, upper neck, musculoskeletal system and brainstem.

A variety of symptoms can occur in people with vertigo disorders: vertigo (rotational or spinning sensation); dizziness (lightheadedness, faintness or unsteadiness); involuntary eye movements (nystagmus); brain fog; nausea and vomiting; hearing loss; ringing in the ears (tinnitus); ear pressure; fatigue; and cognitive and memory problems. Diagnosis of the type of vertigo may occur through eye movement tests, rotation tests and hearing tests.

While the exact cause of vertigo is unknown, many patients report a precipitating event – an incident of physical trauma directed at the head and neck. In fact, medical researchers increasingly are naming head and neck trauma as an underlying cause of vertigo; however, the onset of symptoms may be delayed for several months or years after trauma.

Common sources of trauma include blows to the head, whiplash and/or concussion sustained as a result of motor vehicle accidents, falls and through high-impact sports such as surfing, soccer, gymnastics and horseback riding. Any of the above may cause ligaments supporting the head and neck to be sprained (stretched), which forces the upper cervical (neck) vertebrae out of their normal biomechanical position. This misalignment of the head and upper neck vertebrae may “pinch” nerves in the brainstem, resulting in vertigo.

A chiropractic technique that focuses upon the alignment of the upper cervical vertebrae, known as upper cervical care, provides a unique approach for the treatment of vertigo. Upper cervical chiropractic care utilizes two diagnostic tools – thermal imaging and digital X-rays – to accurately assess an upper cervical injury.

After determining a diagnosis of cervical injury, each patient’s injured neck is corrected by administering a precise adjustment by hand on a specially designed knee-chest table. While treatment response time varies and depends upon the severity and chronicity of symptoms, many patients notice improvement in vertigo symptoms with just a few treatments.

With over 20 years of experience as a specialist in the upper cervical spine, Upper Cervical Chiropractor Dr. Erin Elster, D.C., has maintained a private practice on Maui for the past five years. For more information on Dr. Elster’s research with vertigo patients, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Elster in Kahului at (808) 866-6551 or www.erinelster.com.