When Cervical Spine Issues Lead to Vertigo

Lady suffers from eye strain or migraine coping with dizziness blood pressure tired of computer work

As if suffering from neck pain weren’t bad enough, many people who experience cervical spine issues find themselves afflicted with vertigo, too. Vertigo is often referred to as dizziness, but the sensation goes beyond that simple description.

People who have vertigo feel as though they are moving, even when they aren’t. The sensation of spinning or being pulled from side to side can be exacerbated by headache, sweating and nausea, and it comes and goes unexpectedly.

When vertigo occurs in combination with cervical spine pain, it can be hard to determine which of the two conditions is more concerning.

Many patients who suffer from cervical vertigo have a difficult time finding appropriate medical treatment. There are a number of potential causes for the condition, and none are well understood.

Some physicians believe that when neck pain and dizziness happen together, it is the result of compression of a blood vessel that carries blood to the brain. Others believe the issue is caused by instability or problems in the neck.

The diagnosis of this condition is challenging. This is in large part because, unlike other conditions involving the spine, there is no specific test that confirms the condition or points to a clear answer. Physicians are required to diagnose through a process of elimination, and patients are often frustrated by the lack of a clear answer to what is clearly a disconcerting and uncomfortable problem.

Below you will find the most common causes of cervical dizziness:


One of the most common causes of cervical spine injury is whiplash. Often the result of a car accident, when a person experiences whiplash their neck is forced backwards and forwards quickly and violently. Though pain is the most frequent symptom, it is often accompanied by dizziness, nausea and headaches.

Cervical Spondylosis

This condition is often a result of cervical osteoarthritis, wear and tear over time or degenerative disc disease. It is a degeneration of the vertebrae and facet joints that leads to pressure on the nerve roots and blood vessels. Though this most frequently results in pain, numbness, weakness and tingling, some people experience dizziness and headaches.

Arterial Compression

There are two different types of compression of arteries that lead to the brain that can lead to dizziness. They are vertebrobasilar insufficiency (VBI) and Bow Hunter’s Syndrome. The latter is usually a result of a rotation of the head leading to misalignment of the vertebrae at C1 and C2.

If you are experiencing this upsetting and painful condition, we urge you to contact our practice to set up a time for a thorough examination and diagnosis so that we can help your return to a normal quality of life without pain or dizziness.

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