Can Dizziness Come From The Neck?
Yes it can! The upper 3 vertebrae C1, C2, C3 send their afferent sensory information upwards to the brainstem. The brainstem receives these messages and our reflexes respond to coordinate our eyes and head movements. This keeps our gaze steady and our posture controlled when we move our head.
Our balance relies on input from our vision, our inner ear (vestibular system) and our proprioception (receptors at our joint levels) from our body. Our upper cervical spine (C1, C2, C3) has a high percentage of proprioceptors for our neck.
If any of these balance sensory inputs are mismatched we can feel the symptom of dizziness or imbalance. Cervical spine dysfunction including joint stiffness or muscle tightness can cause this mismatch or disequilibrium at the brainstem level. Even the slightest mismatch between our vision, vestibular system and neck proprioception can cause dizziness or disorientation.
- Dizziness, sense of disequilibrium, disorientation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Neck stiffness or pain with movement
We thoroughly check the vestibular system with specialised goggles that can check for any abnormal eye movements and a balance assessment that could indicate a vestibular system issue.
Once we know the vestibular system is intact we assess the cervical spine using the Watson Headache® approach.
- Watson Headache technique using gentle mobilisation of the upper cervical spine.
- Correct posture and build strength to maintain good posture
- Train proprioception through neck exercises, balance exercises.
- Build confidence with head movement patterns that once brought on dizziness