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Back pain research - Dizziness - What can a chiropractor do to help Dizziness?


Chiropractic has never cured anyone of anything.


If we go looking for the named condition that Chiropractic can be applied to and produce change in we will find ourselves in a merry-go-round of symptoms, loosing sight of the whole because of an obsession with the parts. So the question of What can Chiropractic Cure should be changed to "How" can Chiropractic Assist? The answer is simple. A well functioning mind and body has a greater opportunity to heal, repair and function than a poorly functioning one. A well functioning mind and body depends to a significant degree on a well functioning spine and nerve system. This is Chiropractic's contribution.


People find that chiropractic's ability to produce better spine and nerve system function changes their life expression. There are thousands of symptoms and conditions that chiropractic has been associated with helping, however don't ask "Can Chiropractic Cure this or that condition" - instead ask "If my mind and body was functioning better through Chiropractic would I be better placed to handle this condition?"

Dizziness Research

Meniere’s disease is characterized by vertigo or dizziness and other associated symptoms Dr. MT Burcon has published case reports on ten Menieres patients using a specific chiropractic technique. One case report is as follows:

"This 87 year-old female had suffered frequent episodes of vertigo, tinnitus and nausea. Subject reported severe dizziness.Immediately following specific atlas adjustment, subject reported complete alleviation of vertigo and dizziness. When she awoke the next morning, the tinnitus was also gone. The adjustment held for two years."

Burcon, M. DC, Upper cervical protocol to reduce vertebral subluxations in ten subjects with menieres: A case series. J.Vertebral Subluxation Res. Jun 2 2008


Most children get a real thrill out of making themselves dizzy. They will spin round and round as fast as possible and then collapse in a heap of laughter and giggles. However, when someone suddenly becomes dizzy for no apparent reason, it can be a very frightening and debilitating experience.

Why do we get dizzy?

To understand why we become dizzy, we must first look at the parts of the body that are involved in creating this sensation. Our eyes, ears and nerve endings in our joints all combine to send signals to the brain telling us where our body is in space. If these signals are interrupted or the wrong signals are sent, then we can get dizzy. The part of the inner ear, the semi-circular canals, is crucial in this process. It consists of three fluid filled tubes that are orientated in the X, Y and Z planes, i.e. pitch, roll and yaw.

There are little hairs covering the inside tubes that project into the fluid, attached to the hairs are nerve endings that send a signal to the brain. Every time we move our head, the fluid in the tube pushes against the hairs, telling us which way our head has moved. The eyes send visual information to the brain telling it which way the body is positioned. There are special nerve receptors in our joints that are concerned with "proprioception"- this allows us to feel, for example, if our elbow is straight or bent even if we cannot see it.

What causes dizziness?

There are numerous causes of dizziness including;

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Merniere’s disease
  • Cervicogenic Vertigo
  • Labyrinthitis (infection)
  • Trauma to the head and/or neck
  • Drugs
  • Tumours
  • Benign Paroxysmal positioning vertigo.

Some of these conditions require medical treatment, but people with Cervicogenic Vertigo and Benign paroxysmal positioning Vertigo can often be cared for very successfully by a chiropractor.

Cervicogenic vertigo

Cervicogenic vertigo is characterised by a feeling of unsteadiness while walking or standing that is initiated by neck rotation without head movement. There are receptors in the joints and muscles in the neck that play an important role in maintaining equilibrium. If an injury has occurred in the neck, then the wrong signals may be sent by the brain, producing a sensation of dizziness. Chiropractic manipulation provides a safe method of re-aligning the neck joints and restores the correct firing pattern to their associated muscles.

Benign Paroxysmal positioning vertigo

Benign Paroxysmal positioning vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of vertigo, especially in the elderly. By the age of 70, about 30% of all elderly patients have experienced it at least once. The incidence of this condition is 64 per 100,000 but this increase by 38% with each decade of life. The attacks are brief and consist of vertigo, postural imbalance, and possible nausea. People are especially prone to attacks after the following movements:

  • Sitting up from a lying position (particularly after waking in the morning)
  • When first lying down in bed
  • Turning over in bed from one side to another
  • Bending the neck forwards and backwards.

BPPV is caused by a problem with one or both semicircular canals. Particles can become dislodged from the inner part of one of the canals. These particles then float freely within the tubes. If the patient moves their head in a certain direction and then stops, the fluid pushes against the hairs, but when the fluid stops the particles continue to move, brushing against more hairs. This sends the wrong signal to the brain fooling it into thinking that the head is still moving, which provokes dizziness.

Treatment for BBPV

The treatment for BBPV is called Epley’s Repositioning manoeuvre. It is very simple, but involves a lot of patient cooperation. The manoeuvre attempts to reposition the floating particles into an area of the semi circular canals that do not contain the special hairs. Following the treatment the patient must sleep upright for 2 nights and must sleep on the affected side for 1-2 weeks to make sure the particles do not become dislodged. During these two weeks the patient will experience some strange dizzy-like sensations that eventually subside. Usually one attempt at Epley’s Technique is successful, but it may have to be repeated.

Dizziness is the third most common complaint in general practise and approximately 30% of the over 65’s experience some form of disequilibrium. Since there are so many conditions that either cause or have dizziness as a symptom, the correct diagnosis can be tricky, but for some of these conditions a trip to the chiropractor can be a great benefit.

What can a Chiropractor do to help Dizziness?

What does a chiropractor do for dizziness?

Your chiropractor will perform a complete consult and examination and may take radiographs (x rays). After review of the examination findings your chiropractor will recommend an appropriate and individual care program. Chiropractic care consists of specific manual adjustments, to the individual joints of the body and spine, which restore damaged neurologic function.