Difference between Vertigo & Dizziness

Vertigo can be identified as a mistaken feeling of interpretation, tilting or spinning when an individual is in fact, in a still position. It can also be an inaccurate awareness of what would otherwise be considered ordinary movements. Dizziness is a feeling that an individual may get when they arise in an upwards position too hurriedly, but do not have any mistaken feelings of movement, and may feel as though they may pass out. More often than not, individuals are seen to make use of the terms vertigo and dizziness in the same context and as if they are both identical. This is incorrect, and in truth, the symptoms of vertigo differ from what dizziness is described as, with some individuals suffering from both. In simple terms, vertigo is a false feeling of movement, whereas dizziness is an actual feeling of lightheadedness, with associated feelings of passing out.

The most frequently seen causes behind experiencing vertigo and/or dizziness include:

  • A condition called ‘benign paroxysmal positional vertigo’ or BPPV, which occurs due to released debris found within the inner part of the ear’s balance structures. What this debris does is it impacts the balance organs, and therefore, resulting in the sense of vertigo.
  • A disease identified as ‘Meniere’s’ which is a result of the development of fluid within the ear, as well as altering pressure. This is seen to result in vertigo as a side effect.
  • Dizziness can be brought on through concealed conditions including; heart disease, hypoglycemia and low blood pressure. Medication which is taken for any of these diseases has been seen to cause dizziness as a side effect.
  • Mental health is also linked to signs and symptoms of vertigo including anxiety. Additionally, migraines which are brain conditions are regarded as further triggers of vertigo.

When working to determine the reasoning behind an individual’s dizziness/vertigo, it is important to:

  • Examine their medical history in regards to accurate inquiring on the description of the dizziness.
  • Initiate a physical examination of the individual through noticing the movements of their eyes, their blood pressure levels, and their positioning.
  • Check their balance and hearing through specialised testing.
  • Undertake MRI or CT scans of their brain and their inner ear.

In terms of the treatment of vertigo and dizziness, chiropractic care is a beneficial option. Treatment will depend on the nature and symptoms surrounding the onset of the vertigo. Chiropractic treatment can target the joints which are not moving accordingly, such as in the upper neck. If there are damaged patterns of motion, it can cause inaccurate details to be communicated to the brain about body movement and positioning. Adjustments can be done by a chiropractor to simply amend this issue.

Further, in chiropractic a common cause for vertigo is dysfunction of the cervical spine. The vestibular nerve, which is a nerve that connects to your ear, contains the mechanisms which control your balance, also having connections with your neck (more specifically vestibulospinal tracts that travel in the spinal cord and influence cervical motor neurones). Primarily the C1-C3 vertebrae have sensory nerve connections with the vestibular spinal tract. If they are not articulating with each other correctly, this can lead to the sensation of vertigo. In chiropractic, we find which one has the incorrect articulation and adjust it to restore normal articulation, which eliminates the vertigo!