Balance & Dizziness Disorders

Dizziness is a common sensation — almost everyone has felt felt dizzy at some time in their life. As children we often made ourselves dizzy, purely for entertainment, by spinning in circles. But as we grow up, dizziness becomes less entertaining and more disturbing to experience.

Dizziness is a non-specific term that is used to describe sensations varying from light-headedness and disequilibrium to illusory sensations of movement known as vertigo. Different dizziness disorders will present in their own way and each disorder has several separate causes. A thorough examination is required to determine the actual cause and appropriate treatment in each case.

Common Dizziness Disorders & Their Causes

Your sensation of balance is the result of the combined input of what you see, what your inner ear senses, and the weight-bearing feedback you feel from the ground through your feet, legs, and spine. When these sensations don’t agree with each other, the brain can’t make sense of the input and dizziness is the result.

Although the actual sensation of dizziness occurs inside the brain, the sensation can be caused in several different ways. The most common causes of dizziness disorders are problems in the inner ear or in the brain’s processing of sensory input.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

The most common presentation of dizziness is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). In this condition, calcium carbonate crystals responsible for balance get displaced in the inner ear and cause the vestibular system to fire, as if there is a movement occurring, when actually there isn’t. In this case, the treatment is to simply reposition the crystals back where they belong to stop the incorrect movement signals from the inner ear.

Post-Cruise Vertigo (Mal de Debarquement Syndrome)

At Northoak Chiropractic, we often see patients who have been suffering from dizziness ever since they had a trip on a plane or boat. This presentation is so common there are several names for it: Post-Cruise Vertigo or Mal de Debarquement Syndrome.

These cases are due to neuroplastic changes in the brain, which is often referred to as getting your sea-legs. What is actually happening is you are getting your ‘sea-brain’ as you adjust to the rocking motion of the boat. When the vacation ends and you get off the boat, you will often have the feeling of movement in the brain, even though you are on solid ground. This experience is referred to as ‘land sickness’.

For most, the sensation will pass with time as the brain changes again, adapting to the input from stable ground. For the people who don’t re-adapt on their own, it is helpful to try to drive the necessary adaptation more directly, with exercises targeting the source of the conflict in the brain.

Our Treatment Approach

At Northoak Chiropractic, we use functional neurology techniques, such as brain-based exercises and stimulations, to treat many types of balance and dizziness disorders. These disorders include BPPV, post-cruise vertigo, chronic migraines, concussion headaches, post-concussion syndrome, and similar conditions.

Find out how to stop feeling dizzy.