Dizziness and Neck Pain
Often times dizziness and neck pain go hand-in-hand. Dizziness caused by neck problems is called cervicogenic dizziness or cervical vertigo.
In traditional healthcare, the neck is often overlooked as a cause of dizziness.
For people with dizziness and neck pain, I suggest searching for an orthopedic manual physical therapist.
You may also decide to work with an upper cervical chiropractor or massage therapist.
Neck tension that causes dizziness can be due to many factors. Alignment of spinal bones, neck muscle tension, and tightness in fascia of the upper body can all contribute to dizziness and neck tension.
For example, improper posture can cause neck tension. Improper posture includes forward head posture and poor ergonomics on the computer.
You may benefit from an ergonomic consultation or a vision exam, if you think your dizziness and neck pain starts after working on your computer.
Vestibular problems can cause neck tension, such as BPPV. Treatment for BPPV may be helpful to resolve dizziness and neck tension.
Vestibular damage is called “chronic vestibulopathy.” That can contribute to complaints of dizziness and/or vertigo directly from the vestibular mismatch between the right and left inner ears. Chronic vestibulopathy from vestibular damage can also cause neck tension, resulting in dizziness.
As a Vestibular Expert, I work to dig deeper to differentially diagnose the vague complaint of “dizziness. My goal is to distinguish between true vertigo, dysequilibrium, spatial disorientation, anxiety-related dizziness, visual complaints, lightheadedness and presyncope in order to develop an appropriate and effective treatment plan for patients with dizziness and neck pain.
Jaw tension can result from patients clenching their teeth, especially at night. This may be a symptom of anxiety, or even an overactive mind.
TMJ and jaw problems can contribute to dizziness and neck pain. If you suffer from anxiety and co-occurring jaw tension, you may benefit from seeing a TMJ dentist for the fabrication of a nightguard.
An orthopedic manual physical therapist can screen your neck and jaw for muscle tension and misalignment of cervical vertebrae. Problems with the alignment of the vertebrae in your neck can cause dizziness and neck pain.
Tight Muscles and Fascia
If you have dizziness and neck pain, you may benefit from soft tissue work to the head as it can help with the dizziness, neck, and jaw areas to relieve muscle tension. Soft tissue work may be offered by a physical therapist or a massage therapist.
Soft tissue treatments can help with tightness in the muscles and fascia of the head and neck, which may be contributing to neck pain and dizziness.
Mental and Emotional Stress
Dizziness and neck pain can be caused by other factors as well. Mental and emotional stress can cause dizziness and worsen symptoms of true vertigo related to the neck.
For example, older adults may be very stressed due to their current medical conditions, loss of loved ones, or financial difficulties.
New parents may be under a lot of stress juggling child care and work, plus sleep deprivation. This stress can worsen dizziness and neck pain.
Many people carry stress in their neck. They don’t realize that neck tension caused by stress may be a contributing factor to their dizziness.
In these cases, stress management is a key to recovery from dizziness.
Stress management like physical exercise, nasal belly breathing, and laughter are appropriate for stress management.
The patient’s nervous system must shift from the sympathetic state to the parasympathetic state to facilitate healing. This can be a challenge since dizziness and vertigo can trigger a fight or flight response.
I discuss eight home remedies that can help reduce dizziness and stabilize the nervous system in this blog.
If you think that your neck tension is primarily caused by mental or emotional stress, then you may need to seek out professional mental health support.
Notify your Primary Care Provider
That is a good reason to report any dizziness to your primary care provider.
This blog has tips on how to prepare for a healthcare visit.
For more discussion on this topic, check out this blog.
The topic of dizziness and neck pain is a much more deep discussion, and I just barely scratched the surface with this article.
In my book, which will be published later this year, I will devote an entire section to this discussion.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.