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Dizziness & Vertigo

Dizziness and vertigo are prevalent conditions. These conditions are commonly attributed to originating from issues in the eyes or inner ears. Therefore, common treatment is focused on either the eyes or inner ears. However, dizziness and vertigo often originate from issues in the upper neck. Therefore, many patients receiving treatment for the incorrect source of their symptoms will continue to suffer.


The upper neck is a common site of origin for dizziness and vertigo because the neck affects the body’s balance system. The balance system refers to the entire group of structures and nerves that provide the information needed to experience balance and orientation. There are three main senses that are part of this system.

Waiting Room

Inner Ears

The inner ears have specially designed semicircular canals that fluid flows through. These canals have small stones that move with the flow of the fluid. When the head moves, the fluid flow moves these stones. This motion produces a nerve signal that tells the brainstem that the head is moving. These signals are designed to tell the brain where the head is and how fast it is moving in any given direction.


Eyesight provides information about orientation to the environment. Eyesight helps a person get their bearings in relationship to the environment. However, the balance system can adapt without eyesight. Even blind people can have exceptional balance without experiencing dizziness.


There are special nerves that are located throughout the entire body called proprioceptors which tell the brain how the body is positioned. The information from these nerves provide a spatial awareness. A majority of information in the balance system comes from these proprioceptors. The most sensitive proprioceptive area of the body are in the muscles and joints of the upper neck because these proprioceptors tell the brain where the head is positioned.


Mismatched Signals


These three nerve signal inputs (the eyes, inner ears and proprioceptors) all send their signals to a structure called the vestibular nucleus, which is the balance center of the body located in your brain.  In order to feel balanced, the three signal inputs need to match. While standing upright, the information from the eyes need to match the joint position sensors of the neck. If the head is tilted, the eyes and neck joint proprioceptors should be telling the brain that your head is tilted the same amount. If the head is turned to the right, the proprioceptors and inner ears should send the same information about how far the neck has turned. If the signals match, balance is maintained even throughout head or body motion.


However, if there is a mismatch of these nerve signals, a person will experience a sense of dizziness.  If the mismatch is bad enough, it can become as severe as vertigo.


Locating the Origin

In order to find the root of the dizziness, it is critical to identify the location of the signal problem. Once the origin of the problem is identified, if can be successfully corrected. Since proprioceptors play the largest role in our sense of balance (up to 70% of the information), this is a critical place to start. Due to the sensitive nature of these upper neck bones and nerves, the most critical area to examine is the craniocervical junction. Unfortunately, many balance clinics and EENT providers do not evaluate or treat this critical area. This is where Upper Cervical care come in.


Correcting the Root Cause


Many people suffering from dizziness and vertigo have a misalignment in their upper neck leading to improper proprioception in their balance center. Many of these people suffer for years before having their craniocervical junction evaluated.If a misalignment is found causing nerve signal interference, Drs. John and Josh Sandoz are able to correct the misalignment using extremely gentle and precise corrective procedure called Atlas Orthogonal. This allows the proprioceptive signals to return to normal and the sense of balance to begin to improve. Atlas Orthogonal has been shown to help many people with dizziness and balance issues.

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