Dizziness or vertigo?

Dizziness is a fairly common complaint, often also described as feeling lightheaded or giddy.  Vertigo, on the other hand, involves a perception of movement, so you may feel like either you or the room is spinning or moving. Both dizziness and vertigo may occur with a wide range of medical conditions, some of which are benign and others which are serious, so it is wise to have these checked out by your primary health care practitioner.

One cause of vertigo is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), which is a condition affecting the semicircular canals of the inner ear.  The attacks of vertigo typically last less the 30 seconds and are usually brought on by activities such as turning in bed, lying down, sitting up or looking upwards.  Episodes may last for weeks to months, followed by asymptomatic periods of months to years.

Our brain determines our sense of where we are in space from numerous anatomical structures and systems.  There are many nerve endings in the upper neck which give feedback to our brain, so improving function in this area may improve symptoms of dizziness or vertigo.  There are also specific manoeuvres which can be performed to treat BPPV which involve a series of positioning the head and body.  Claire and Fiona have done further study in the diagnosis and treatment of BPPV, so next time you are experiencing vertigo or dizziness, why not mention it at your osteopathic consultation – we may be able to help!