In the study that is being discussed this week, the relationship between neck dysfunction and dizziness was examined. Dizziness is unfortunately a very common issue that can arise at some point in life. As we see in this study today, there is an important relationship between fixing neck dysfunctions and helping to treat dizziness symptoms. The upper cervical region (C1-C3) region of our neck is very important because there are branches of the nerves coming out of this region that communicate to our inner ear. The vestibular system in the inner ear controls our perception of our environment and if this system gets affected then symptoms such as dizziness can occur. Therefore neck dysfunction must be checked for when looking at the healing process for dizziness or vertigo and the study below reinforces this statement.
In this study, We examined the cervical spines of 67 patients who presented with symptoms of dizziness. Prior to the orthopedic examination, causes of vertigo relating to the field of ENT and neurology had been ruled out.
Fifty patients of the above-mentioned group were studied. They followed the outlined treatment protocol with physical therapy and were available for 3 months of follow-up. Thirty-one patients, hereinafter referred to as group A, were diagnosed with dysfunctions of the upper cervical spine. Nineteen patients, hereinafter referred to as group B, did not show signs of dysfunction. Cervical spine dysfunctions were documented as published by Bischoff. In group A dysfunctions were found at level C1 in 14 cases, at level C2 in 6 cases and at level C3 in 4 cases. In seven cases more than one upper cervical spine motion segment was affected. Dysfunctions were treated and resolved with mobilizing and manipulative techniques of manual medicine. Regardless of cervical spine findings seen at the initial visit, group A and B patients received intensive outpatient physical therapy. At the final 3-month follow-up, 24 patients of group A (77.4%) reported an improvement of their chief symptom and 5 patients were completely free of vertigo. Improvement of vertigo was recorded in 5 group B patients (26.3%); however, nobody in group B was free of symptoms.
We concluded that a functional examination of motion segments of the upper cervical spine is important in diagnosing and treating vertigo, because a non-resolved dysfunction of the upper cervical spine was a common cause of long-lasting dizziness in our population.