DizzinessAfter headaches, dizziness (Latin vertigo) is the second most common complaint in medicine. About one in three adults suffers from spinning, swaying or elevator dizziness, tendency to fall, staggering sensation, eye flickering or emptiness in the head. However, dizziness is not a disease in its own right, but a symptom of a disease. Identifying the cause is the basis for effective therapy.
On average, more than one-third of the adult population (38 percent) suffers from various forms of dizziness to varying degrees. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with ca. 44 percent more often affected than men (32 percent). Frequency increases with age.
Dizziness can have very diverse causes. Some of them are listed below:
– Diseases of the inner ear – Nerve inflammations – Diseases of the peripheral nervous system ( polyneuropathy ) – Stroke – Diseases of the eyes – Muscular diseases / tensions – Functional disorders of the upper cervical spine (atlas dysfunction) – Temporomandibular joint disorders (CMD = craniomandibular dysfunction ) – Anxiety disorders – Cardiac arrhythmias – Thyroid disorders – Low blood prere – Circulatory disorders – Medication side effects – Mental causes (somatoform vertigo)
Symptoms and progression
The feelings of illness often triggered by dizziness frequently mean a considerable reduction in the quality of life for those affected. These include palpitations, nausea, vomiting, sweating, headache, blurred vision, or lightheadedness, in some cases accompanied by loss of consciousness. Those affected are not infrequently so severely impaired that they are temporarily unable to work.
In the case of vertigo symptoms, an interdisciplinary cooperation of specialists from different fields is usually necessary in order to achieve a correct diagnostic classification. In addition to orthopedists, this includes ENT physicians, internists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, vascular surgeons, as well as orthodontists and dentists. Diagnostic basis should always be a detailed medical history and a clinical (whole-body) examination.
A possible orthopedic cause of vertigo symptoms may be a dysfunction of the atlas vertebra (first cervical vertebra). Such an atlas dysfunction can have different causes. In addition to a special X-ray examination to determine the individual function of the atlas, various examination methods can be used to confirm the diagnosis as part of a holistic medical approach. Among others, thermography or electromyography (EMG), which is used to scan and evaluate the activity of the muscles, should be mentioned here.
Misalignment of the body can also negatively influence atlas function. Therefore, an examination of the entire body statics may also be indicated. This is done with the help of 4-D spinal measurement (see also spinal functional analysis). With this absolutely X-ray-free procedure, pelvic obliquities, axial deviations in all planes or rotational malpositions can be determined with a measuring accuracy of one to two tenths of a millimeter.
Fig. 2: 4D spinal measurement (source: Diers International GmbH)
Therapy and aftercare
If the diagnosis shows that an orthopedic problem is the (co-)cause of the dizziness, a good therapeutic success can be achieved in many cases with an appropriate treatment concept. In the case of functional disorders of the spine, so-called blockages, chiropractic therapy (manual medicine) is one of the methods used. The blockages are loosened by targeted hand movements or a small rotation. The nerve stimulus is interrupted for a brief moment. The muscle tension decreases and the joint becomes free again.
If a malposition or malfunction of the atlas has been diagnosed, the atlas–Therapy a means of choice to deal with the complaints. As a neurophysiological treatment concept, it has a positive influence on the vestibular system, muscle tone, perception, and autonomic functions, among others.
Fig. 3: Atlas therapy (Source: Practice Dr. J. Thieme& colleagues)
The atlas vertebra is the first cervical vertebra. Together with the base of the skull, the second cervical vertebra (axis) and the surrounding muscles, capsules and ligaments, which are supplied with a high density of nerves, it forms an independent system, a kind of sensory organ (neck receptor field).
The nerves register and control with their sensors the position of the head in relation to the rest of the body in space, the position of the individual joints in relation to each other and the state of tension of the entire muscle, fascia and tendon system. Since they have direct connections to the vestibular and visual organs (inner ear and eye) as well as to certain brain centers, they are also responsible for controlling gross and fine motor skills and are involved in the processing of pain signals. This system sends information to the brain, where it is processed into appropriate reactions.
Pathological conditions (e.g. injuries, incorrect stresses, movement disorders) are passed on to the brain as incorrect information with the result that the body also reacts with an incorrect response. The goal of atlas therapy is to correct this faulty information processing and to improve or eliminate the pathological condition.
Literature and further links
Tempelhof, Siegbert: disease cause atlas vertebra, Munich: Arkana Verlag, 2017. This dictionary entry contains only general information. May not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.
Note: The use of the above mentioned drug(s) may not be officially approved for the listed indications. In this case, it is a so-called off-label use of the drug, which is usually not reimbursed by public or private health insurance or subsidies. More information..
Note: In the case of the above listed diagnostic or. treatment procedures may be scientifically controversial. Currently not all experts scientifically recognized methods act. The costs of these treatments are usually not reimbursed by public or private health insurance companies or subsidies.