Vertigo is a false sensation of rotation or movement, or a feeling that objects move or turn around you; it is often accompanied by nausea and loss of balance.

There are five major conditions which cause this problem:

1. Internal ear disease

  • Labyrinthitis – a degenerative process of the neuro-sensory structures of the internal ear. Often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, bradycardia (slow heart beat) and or nystagmus.
  • This gives the impression that the room is going round you.

2. Trauma to the internal ear

  • Traffic accident
  • Blows to the head
  • Noisy working environment – “technopathic neurolabyrinthitis”

3. Peripheral Labyrinth Syndrome

  • Acoustic Neuroma (VIII cranial nerve)
  • Mènières Syndrome – A hydrodynamic disturbance of the endolymphatic fluid of the inner ear. This is accompanied by hearing loss.
  • Disease of the vestibular artery, often treated with medicine which increases bloodflow to the area.

4. Central Vestibular Syndrome

This includes problems with the vestibular nuclei in the brainstem and, or the nervous connections to them from the brain. Often, together with this there are other symptoms which originate in different areas of the brain such as other cranial nerves and the cerebellum. The various causes of this syndrome are:

  • Insufficient blood flow to the brainstem, also called Barrè-Lieou syndrome. Vertigo appears with certain positions of the head.
  • Vertebro-basilar insufficiency.
  • Lesions of the brainstem; vascular, sclerotic plaques or tumours.


Once these 4 possibilities have been ruled out or treated, problems of the cervical spine are the most common reason for vertigo:

5. Problems of the cervical spine.

Successfully treatable by chiropractors.

  • Subluxation of the first cervical vertebra.
  • Cervical facet syndrome
  • Muscular tension in the neck.
  • Joint dysfunction in the cervical spine.

Other causes of Vertigo:

Vertigo may even be caused by medicines or drugs, alcohol, low blood pressure, and ear infections.

Associated symptoms are:

TMJ dysfunction and pain on talking or chewing, headache, earache, sensation of pressure or fullness in the ears and ringing in the ears.

The differential diagnosis of these causes of vertigo requires a full case history, an audiometric examination, and for certain patients a Magnetic Resonance Scan or CAT Scan. If patients come to the chiropractor without these examinations, the chiropractor is trained to react to “red flags” which signal the need for referral to other medical consultants. If the required examinations have been completed, they should be brought to the first visit; the chiropractor will take them into consideration when diagnosing the cause of the symptoms.
The chiropractor also needs to know that all the above possibilities have been investigated.

How can Chiropractic help?

Chiropractic adjustments stimulate the mechano- receptors of the articular facets of the vertebral column. This stimulation has an effect on both the central and peripheral nervous system. Therefore, the central vestibular areas of the brainstem, the long tracts which travel down the spine as well as many other nerve centres are easily affected. Also, through a chain of nerve reflexes, hormonal signals and immunological reactions, it is likely that the chiropractic adjustment also has an influence on blood vessels, the circulatory system and the immune system. In the periphery, the adjustment has effects on the muscles, ligaments , tendons and joints. There is now extensive scientific research to explain why chiropractor have always seen good results with their techniques.