Monday, March 29, 2021

Upper Cervical Care vs Vertigo and Other Balance Disorders


Everything maintains a delicate balance in life.  Relationships, finances, and mental health are some of the more practical things that require balance day-to-day, exemplifying a comparable balance maintained inside the body routinely throughout our lives.  There is fluidity to it all, like a never-ending game of percentages, a shift toward a school grading scale equivalent of “A” level balance and the subsequent positive momentum that comes with it followed then by the pendulum swinging the other way in a test of resiliency sometimes too hard to pass.  When it comes to problems with balance and equilibrium suffered by those diagnosed with conditions like vertigo, Meniere’s disease, and others, resiliency has been weakened to a significant degree, so what factors shape the loss of that delicate balance and what can be done to correct them? 

First, it is important to understand how balance and equilibrium are established.  The brain depends on feedback from the eyes and the inner ears.  The position of the eyes is a dynamic constantly read by the brain, as is the amount of fluid in each of the various inner ear canals.  This awareness is accomplished through the hub of the body’s internal communication network, the brainstem, and the nerves branching from it.  An even keel can typically be upheld so long as the feedback loop between the brain, eyes, and ears remains clear of distortion through the brainstem. 

Unfortunately, there is a simple but common problem that can throw balance and equilibrium slowly and progressively into chaos. 

Due to the importance of eye position and inner ear fluid equality, the head needs to remain at least reasonably level.  The head sits on the top bone in the spine, which connects to the second bone to form the triumvirate serving as the body’s defacto foundation; the human body is built from the top-down structurally, not the ground-up.  Uniquely, the top bone in the neck lacks the interlocking features that prevent it from moving too much, making it more mobile, but less stable, a fact amplified in the early years of life before development is completed.  Trauma of all types tends to influence, in addition to the point(s) of impact, the end of the path of least resistance; in the body, the point of least resistance is the top of the spine, held in place predominantly by muscles.  When trauma occurs, the top bone in the neck regularly gets knocked out of its proper alignment.

Losing proper alignment of the head and neck frequently causes the brainstem to be compromised, akin to interfering with a cell tower in a phone network; it also immediately causes the head to tilt, throwing the eyes off level and the inner ear fluid out of balance.  75% of the time[i], this situation occurs in the first several years of life.  Before age 20, the percentage jumps to 85%, and by age 40, to 95%.  Head/neck misalignment is one of the most common ailments in the world.  The human body is innately wired to adapt, so it compensates for the tilt of the head, but borrowing from the earlier used game of percentages / school grading scale analogy, its ability to sustain the resiliency necessary to be even keeled with something so fundamental in an abnormal state is slowly weakened over time. 

The restoration of optimal head/neck alignment is an essential component to reversing the downward trend, allowing the body to readapt and return to normal balance.  Otherwise, the development of various balance disorders, or some other of the myriad diagnoses related to head/neck misalignment, is highly likely.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution.  The upper neck is very dynamic, so it often does not take much for it to be influenced negatively, but problems with it can be rather easily corrected by an Upper Cervical Chiropractor.  A head/neck misalignment is unique to all other misalignment types and thus must be handled with a great deal of precision – no cracking, popping, or manipulation.  X-rays are taken to identify the exact nature of the misalignment, down to the nearest millimeter and degree.  The correction based on the x-ray findings requires minimal force; it just has to be very specific so that once head/neck alignment is restored, the body can maintain it like a good habit replacing a destructive one. 

Other causes of balance disorders do exist, of course – due to their intended influence on the nervous system, pharmaceuticals quite frequently list various forms of dizziness / imbalance among their common side effects – but none are more prevalent than head/neck misalignment.  The goal for anyone suffering from vertigo or Meniere’s is ideally to engage the body to optimally adapt and heal, which makes the brainstem functioning normally and the head/neck being balanced foundational to returning to a healthier state.


[i] Gutmann G, Manuelle
Medizin (1987) 25:5-10)

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