Cervicogenic dizziness may occur in the absence of an injury, or may occur weeks to years after a head or neck injury. Approximately 20-50% of people who have sustained a whiplash injury will experience symptoms of dizziness. Cervicogenic dizziness may also occur as a result of: arthritic changes, herniated disc, hyper mobility, muscle spasm, poor posture, or scoliosis. Cervicogenic dizziness may occur gradually with continual worsening of symptoms or onset may be rapid.
Symptoms related to cervical dizziness can range from mild to severe and last minutes to hours. Many individuals describe their dizziness as fogginess, spaciness, haziness, heavy headed, disconnected…etc. Symptoms are often worse with over-head activities, prolonged neck rotation, bending forward for long periods such as with reading or gardening, using the computer, looking up, and arm activities. Symptoms will often improve with lying down or supporting the head. Cervicogenic dizziness may be associated with pressure or pain in the cervical region and/or headaches
At Balance Solutions you will be evaluated by a skilled licensed physical therapist to determine factors contributing to your cervical condition, such as; upper cervical spine mechanics, passive intervertebral mobility (segmental movement of each vertebrae), range of motion, muscle strength, joint mobility, soft tissue mobility, postural alignment, body mechanics and your quality of movement with normal daily activities. Evaluation for cervicogenic dizziness will also include vestibular screening (oculomotor & videonystagmography exam) to rule out vestibular (inner ear) involvement. Following a thorough evaluation, a personalized plan of care with goals will be constructed specifically to meet your individual needs.
Treatment for cervicogenic dizziness may consist of the following interventions;
- Manual therapy
- Therapeutic exercise
- Neuromuscular re-education
- Posture and body mechanic training
- Cervical kinesthetic and proprioceptive exercises
- Balance therapy (if needed)
Balance Solutions therapists have been trained in many types of manual therapy techniques to effectively treat patients with cervicogenic headaches and dizziness. Manual therapy is used in conjunction with therapeutic and neuromuscular re-education exercises to achieve the best possible outcomes. Manual therapy techniques can used to improve the mechanics of your cervical spine and alleviate symptoms of dizziness as well as decrease pain and muscle guarding when present. Effective manual therapy intervention is used to speed up the heeling process and promote proper mechanics throughout the body.
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• Wrisley D, Spataro P, Whitney S, Furman J. Cervicogenic Dizziness: A Review of Diagnosis and Treatment. Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy. 2000; 30(12): 755-766.
• Meadows JJ and Magee DJ: An overview of dizziness and vertigo for the orthopedic manual therapist. In Boyling, J.D., and N. Palastanga (eds.): Grieve’s Modern Manual Therapy: The Vertebral Column, 2nd Ed. Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone. 1994.
• Borg-Stein J, Rauch SD, Krabak B. Evaluation and management of cervicogenic dizziness. Critical Reviews in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 13(4) 255-264, 2001