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Dizziness, Vertigo and Disequilibrium

It is estimated that 4 of every 10 Americans have dizziness that is significant enough to cause them to see a doctor. The terminology uses to describe their symptoms is often confusing. It is important that the doctor understands exactly what a patient means when they say they are dizzy. They may be describing disequilibrium or a sensation of poor balance. If the room or their body feels like it is rotating, they are probably describing vertigo. Dizziness is better described as a sensation of unsteadiness due to a feeling of lightheadedness. Balance is a state of equilibrium or stability. Balance is maintained primarily by a coordination of the eyes, the inner ears and the proprioceptive feedback we get from our joints and muscles. 

Cerebellar ataxia is a condition in which their is inflammation or damage to the cerebellar portion of the brain. This may result in a variety of symptoms including an unsteady gait and poor coordination of the arms and legs. Severe vitamin E and vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to balance problems. Lightheadedness and fainting can be a sign of low blood sugar or even a heart arrhythmia. Inner ear problems can cause vestibular caused dizziness and balance problems. Transient ischemic attacks due to decreased blood flow to the brain may result in ataxia and vertigo. Toxicity from heavy metals and medications such as sedatives and muscle relaxers may make you dizzy and unsteady. Abnormal signals from the joints of the cervical spine can cause cervicogenic dizziness. Dizziness is a common symptom after a whiplash type injury to the neck.  Cervicogenic dizziness is usually associated with neck pain and often with headaches. It usually occurs in episodes that last minutes to hours and can be increased with neck movement. 

It is obvious that there are many reasons why a patient may have symptoms of dizziness, coordination problems or the sensation that the room is spinning.The human body is very complicated and pathology in may areas of the body can be the cause of dizziness and balance problems. See your healthcare provider if you have dizziness, vertigo or balance problems to properly diagnose the source of your symptoms. Your doctor of chiropractic can help you if your dizziness has a proprioceptive or cervicogenic cause. Chiropractic adjustments of the neck can often help to "recalibrate" the proprioceptive receptors in the cervical facet joints. Dr. Greg L. Crawford D.C has treated cervicogenc dizziness and proprioceptive problems at Foothills Chiropractic, in Fort Collins, Co., for almost 30 years. 

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