Though associated with looking down from a great height, people often misinterpret vertigo as a fear of heights. In fact, it refers to any temporary or ongoing spells of dizziness caused by problems in the inner ear.
The rotating, spinning or dizziness sensation is like the tire swings in the jungle gym as a kid. Your friends spin you around until you couldn’t walk. People suffering from vertigo experience a sense that their head or environment is spinning. Getting up too quickly, climbing stairs or something as simple as walking can trigger it.
THE INNER EAR
The body is able to sense position and motion through the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve eight) which sends messages from the inner ear to the brain.
SOME CAUSES FOR VERTIGO INCLUDE:
- Specific changes in the position of one’s head.
- Trauma to the head.
- Inner ear problem affecting the vestibulocochlear nerve and/or the otolith organs (which contain crystals that provide sensitivity to gravity).
- Vestibular neuronitis (affecting the nerve of the inner ear).
- Meniere’s disease.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) (vertigo triggered by specific positions of your head).
HOW CAN OSTEOPATHY HELP?
Osteopathy can improve the symptoms and causes of vertigo by improving the drainage of fluids to and from the head so there’s no back-log in pressure. For example, imagine a kink in your garden hose, with continued fluid flow it would create a pressure that continues to build up until the area of blockage is removed or alleviated. Osteopathy looks at each layer of the body from the superficial fascia layer to the muscular tissue layer to the bony tissues.
An osteopathic treatment consists of gentle hands doing manual therapy to encourage body alignment and motion where movement is lacking. Increasing movement in the tissues encourages blood flow and drainage to and from the head. For example, an Osteopath may check that all fluid pumps in the body are working as best as they can, such as the respiratory diaphragm in the belly and the superior thoracic aperture/thoracic outlet (found at the front of the chest). Subsequently, following the tissues to find the area of most dysfunction and/or least movement and using manual therapy enabling release in each layer of tissue. This will overall encourage movement and fluid exchange to the areas of dysfunction. Through the assessment and treatment by an Osteopath, there will overall be an improvement in body mechanics leading to improved health, reduced stimulus and stimulus reaction.
Note: Always consult your medical doctor when there are new and/or sudden onset of symptoms.