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Cervicogenic Dizziness, a.k.a. Cervical Vertigo – an Unnerving Experience

“The room began to spin, my vision blurred, and then it went dark.” 

If you’re experiencing dizziness related to your neck, and the issue persists, you should seek help immediately. While it’s often a temporary occurrence and nothing to worry about, cervicogenic dizzinessalso known as cervical vertigo—can be a serious issue.

I’ve experienced this cervicogenic dizziness very briefly on several occasions, when doing a deep backward stretch to my neck. I have a low meditation chair that has a wooden frame. The back falls in just the right place for me to enjoy a pressure-point stretch over the back of it and it feels really good to the tight areas around the shoulder blades.

I also love to do this deep stretch over an exercise ball.

Deep back stretch
A great back stretch, but avoid this if you experience cervical vertigo.

However, on a couple occasions, bending my head back in a deep stretch caused enough compression in my neck to cause cervical vertigo.

I got  dizzy, the room spun and darkness was closing in.

In a split second, I got dizzy, the room spun and darkness was closing in. I stopped the stretch immediately and the vertigo disappeared. But that was scary! What was that?!?

What Causes Cervical Vertigo?

Cervical vertigo (CV) can occur from constriction or sensory confusion.

  1. Vascular compression – disruption of blood flow to the brain stem or inner ear
  2. Sensory misinformation to the neck proprioceptors1)https://www.american-hearing.org/disorders/cervical-vertigo/

This CV condition could be the result of a number of different contributing causes, most often dealing with some kind of injury.

  • Auto accident
  • Whiplash
  • Poor posture
  • Neck disorders
  • Neck surgery
  • Spinal misalignment
  • Arthritis
  • Atherosclerosis – hardening or tearing of the arteries
  • Cervical spondylosis – age related degeneration; a.k.a. neck arthritis
  • A slipped disk

With these arthritic and age related causes, think of it like fabric moving over something scratchy and even sharp. It can snag the soft tissue of nerves, or constrict—get stuck—from lack of mobility.

If you are experiencing dizzy spells that aren’t specifically related to your neck, then you may benefit by reading this article on dizziness.

 

Cervicogenic Dizziness Symptoms

Any number of things can trigger cervical vertigo symptoms. Sneezing, coughing, vigorous shaking of the head, exercise and sports. Cervical compression and trauma can cause a host of the symptoms, including:2)https://www.healthline.com/health/cervical-vertigo#symptoms

  • headache
  • nausea / vomiting
  • ear pain or ringing
  • neck pain
  • loss of balance
  • weakness
  • problems focusing

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out anything serious and get professional advice on what can be done.

Personally, my first stop for anything related to my spine is a good chiropractor. They after all, are “back and spine doctors”. But you should choose the medical practitioner that you’re most familiar and comfortable with.

 

 

However, if ever any doctor recommends medication or surgery as treatment, we highly recommend always getting a second opinion. While traditional medicine is outstanding when it comes to surgical interventions, it’s far better for your health to seek first to eliminate the cause and heal through natural means whenever possible, if that is an option.

For more on dizziness, you may find this article really helpful.

If you're experiencing dizziness related to your neck, and the issue persists, you should seek help immediately. While it's often a temporary occurrence and nothing to worry about, cervicogenic dizziness—also known as cervical vertigo—can be a serious issue.Wishing you the very best health and fitness!


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