Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vertigo: Where to Turn for Help

Vertigo (from the Latin vertō "a whirling or spinning movement") is a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary. The symptoms are due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. It is often associated with nausea and vomiting as well as difficulties standing or walking. (source: Wikipedia)

There are several types of vertigo. One type is caused by debris in the canals of the inner ear and made worse by movement of the head (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). Other causes include inflammation of the vestibular nerve (vestibular neuritis) and dysfunction of the joints in the neck (cervicogenic vertigo). There are still many other causes not mentioned here.

It’s important to rule out whether a disease is causing the symptoms. MRIs, CAT scans and other diagnostic tests are helpful in ruling out brain tumors and other diseases which can cause the symptoms.

What if the MRIs and other tests are unremarkable but you still have symptoms? This is a very common complaint. No concrete disease can be found, but the symptoms still persist. Unfortunately, in cases like these patients can get stuck on a merry-go-round of medications to mask the symptoms and travel from doctor to doctor only to be told “it’s psychological" or "you have too much stress in your life.”

Here’s what you should do if you have symptoms of vertigo and a disease process such as tumor, infection, etc. has been ruled out: Go to a health professional who specializes in this disorder and who is trained in assessing the function of the vestibular system and brain. A board-certified Chiropractic Neurologist can help you address and manage your vertigo, dizziness, or balance loss without the need for medication. Visit to locate a Chiropractic Neurologist near you.

A professional trained in analyzing the function of the vestibular system can run a series of tests to evaluate how the system is working. For example, an ENG test can determine whether or not inner ear disease is the true cause of the patient's dizziness.

One of the most common causes of vertigo is something mentioned earlier called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV. In BPPV, a simple functional test can be performed called the Dix Hallpike test. If this test is positive, a procedure called the Epley maneuver can be performed which in many cases, can be very successful in correcting the cause of the vertigo. To learn more, check out the Vestibular Disorders Association.

Vertigo is a terrible disorder that can be treated. If you or someone you know is suffering, investigate and educate yourself to ensure proper evaluation and treatment.

Contact me at or via phone 631 265 1223 to discuss your symptoms and to learn how to restore your health naturally.

--Dr. W. Brent Reynolds