Dizziness and cervical spine – is there a connection?

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Many patients spontaneously claim to have had dizziness from cervical discomfort. But is there any? In any case, the experts are still not quite in agreement about this. While the ENT doctors published studies as early as the 1960s, which suggest a connection between cervical spine problems and dizziness, neurologists still find no clear indication in their investigations. A wide-ranging survey of doctors from all specialist groups, however, sees HWS-related fraud as number 4 in the top ten vertigo causes.

This different assessment is probably mainly due to a misunderstanding: The term cervical spine is used very differently by the various specialist groups. If one defines the cervical spine as only its bony parts as the neurologists and orthopedists usually do, then a direct connection with dizziness or vertigo complaints is in fact very unlikely. However, if one also includes the muscular part of the cervical spine, then dizziness can certainly be scientifically understood. Because in the neck muscles, small sensors constantly measure the tension of the muscles and report them to the equilibrium center. Permanent malpositions or tensions lead to these messages contradicting each other and in the truest sense of the word you no longer know where your head is. Cervical spine related dizziness is therefore quite possible. It is not caused by changes in the cervical spine itself, but by muscular tension.

Also, a positional vertigo (BPPV) occurs statistically more frequently in tension of the cervical spine. Here, however, the connections are still completely unclear. BPPV is caused by stray otoliths, small crystals in the inner ear, which normally measure gravity, and which, for unknown reasons, get lost in the so-called arcades, which register the spin during head movements.

Author: Dr. med. Uso Walter (Specialist for Otorhinolaryngology)