On a weekly basis I’ll get a patient that is suffering from vertigo. Some cases are so extreme that the vertigo becomes debilitating. The patient is afraid to drive or go out in fear the vertigo will kick in.
Most of the patients, like this, who present to my office have been to their primary care doctor and also the ENT specialist. They are often prescribed medicine or exercises to help with the symptoms, but in these cases they do not work. The typical medications and exercises are for inner ear problems which these particular patients do not have. With these patients I often find some issues in the musculoskeletal system. Poor posture, trigger points in the neck/shoulder muscles, and TMJ dysfunction to name the most common.
Often by addressing these simple problems I am able to help these patients overcome their vertigo symptoms. One particular case really sticks with me. Early in my career I had a young woman present with vertigo that she had been fighting for years. She told me she had not driven in over 2 years because she was afraid if the vertigo started she wouldn’t be able to get home.
Every time she came to my office she was dropped off and picked up by her husband or mother. It really bothered me that this patient, who was younger than me, was not able to live a normal life because of her symptoms. From the moment she came into my office, I had made up my mind that I had to help her. Either with my treatment, or by referring her to the right place. Luckily for me, she was a case that responded well to musculoskeletal treatment.
After about 6-8 visits she began to drive herself to my office. This was awesome!
As I mentioned earlier this was early in my career, so seeing this even shocked me. She had been to multiple doctors and specialist who were unable to resolve her symptoms. Yet treating some simple musculoskeletal issues really helped her. This was amazing to me. Since then I have had the pleasure of helping numerous patients with vertigo.
It is possibly one of my favorite conditions to treat; the patients are so excited and thankful for the help. If you have never experienced vertigo, it can be a horrible thing to deal with. Patients often say the room is spinning, and they will sometimes vomit because of it.
When walking, they will often have to use a wall to guide them in a straight line. It is truly debilitating. Now a great successful ending, like the case above, is not true for every vertigo case. I would say 1 in 10 patients who present to my office with vertigo are not helped with musculoskeletal care. For these patients, we usually have to refer out for more help. Again, the patients who typically present to my office have been treated with medications and seen specialist before coming to me. Often because vertigo is thought of as and inner ear problem, not a musculoskeletal one.
So if you or someone you know is suffering from vertigo, and no one has been able to help, try your local chiropractor. Be aware though, not all chiropractors are trained to treat TMJ and upper cross syndrome effectively so you will have to do some research.