Cervical Vertigo

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Title: Understanding and Managing Cervical Vertigo: Finding Balance and Relief



Welcome to a comprehensive guide on cervical vertigo, a condition characterized by dizziness and imbalance originating from the cervical spine. As a physiotherapist, I understand the challenges that cervical vertigo can present in your daily life. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and effective strategies for managing and treating cervical vertigo to help you regain stability and improve your overall well-being.

Section 1: Unveiling Cervical Vertigo:

Cervical vertigo is a type of dizziness that is caused by dysfunction or instability within the cervical spine (neck). The exact mechanisms of cervical vertigo are not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to disturbances in the proprioceptive information coming from the neck, which impacts the brain’s perception of balance and spatial orientation.

Section 2: Recognizing the Symptoms:                                                                                          

  • Dizziness: Cervical vertigo often presents as a spinning or whirling sensation accompanied by a feeling of unsteadiness.
  • Neck Pain: Neck pain, stiffness, and muscle tension in the cervical region are common symptoms associated with cervical vertigo.
  • Headaches: Headaches, particularly those originating from the base of the skull or the back of the head, can be present in cervical vertigo cases.

Section 3: Diagnosis and Assessment:

  • Comprehensive Evaluation: A thorough assessment by a healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist or a specialized neck and spine specialist, is essential. They will review your medical history, perform physical examinations, and may request diagnostic tests such as imaging (e.g., X-rays, MRI) to rule out other potential causes of dizziness.
  • Differential Diagnosis: It is crucial to differentiate cervical vertigo from other types of vertigo, such as inner ear disorders or vestibular dysfunction. This helps ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Section 4: Treatment Strategies for Cervical Vertigo:

  • Physiotherapy: A targeted physiotherapy program, which may include manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, and postural retraining, can help improve cervical spine stability, mobility, and alleviate associated symptoms.
  • Neck Exercises: Specific exercises designed to strengthen the muscles and improve the range of motion in the neck can help reduce dizziness and enhance proprioceptive input.
  • Posture Correction: Maintaining good posture and proper alignment of the neck and spine is crucial in managing cervical vertigo. Ergonomic adjustments at work or during daily activities may be recommended
  • Pain Management: If neck pain or headaches are contributing to cervical vertigo, pain management techniques such as heat/cold therapy, relaxation exercises, and pain medication (under medical supervision) may be utilized.

Section 5: Lifestyle Modifications and Self-Care:

  • Stress Management: Stress can exacerbate symptoms of cervical vertigo. Engaging in stress-reducing techniques like relaxation exercises, meditation, or yoga can help manage symptoms.
  • Ergonomics and Posture: Ensure proper ergonomics at your workplace and maintain good posture during activities to reduce strain on the neck.
  • Regular Movement Breaks: Taking frequent breaks from prolonged sitting or repetitive neck movements can help prevent worsening of symptoms.

Section 6: Collaborating with Healthcare Professionals:

Collaborating with a team of healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, neck specialists, and pain management specialists, can provide comprehensive care, individualized treatment plans, and ongoing support throughout your recovery journey.


 Cervical vertigo can be a challenging condition to navigate, but with proper diagnosis, targeted treatment strategies, and lifestyle modifications, you can regain balance and find relief. By working closely with healthcare professionals, such as physiotherapists and neck specialists, you can develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Physiotherapy interventions, including manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, and postural retraining, can play a significant role in improving cervical spine stability and reducing dizziness symptoms. Additionally, incorporating stress management techniques, maintaining good posture, and making ergonomic adjustments in your daily activities can further support your recovery. Remember to collaborate with your healthcare team, follow their guidance, and be patient as you work towards restoring stability, relieving symptoms, and improving your overall well-being.


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What are the common symptoms of cervical vertigo?

The common symptoms of cervical vertigo include dizziness, often described as a spinning or whirling sensation. Individuals may experience a sense of unsteadiness or imbalance, which can worsen with certain head or neck movements. Neck pain, stiffness, and muscle tension in the cervical region are frequently present. Headaches, particularly those originating from the base of the skull or the back of the head, can also be associated with cervical vertigo. It’s important to note that symptoms can vary in intensity and duration from person to person.

What are some potential causes or risk factors for cervical vertigo?

Potential causes or risk factors for cervical vertigo include cervical spine disorders such as cervical spondylosis, cervical disc herniation, or cervical spine instability. Traumatic injuries to the neck, such as whiplash, can also contribute to cervical vertigo. Poor posture, especially with prolonged sitting or incorrect ergonomics, may increase the risk of developing cervical vertigo. Muscle imbalances or tension in the neck and upper back can also be contributing factors. Additionally, certain medical conditions such as arthritis or degenerative changes in the cervical spine may increase the likelihood of experiencing cervical vertigo.

Can poor posture contribute to cervical vertigo?

Yes, poor posture can contribute to cervical vertigo. When the posture is not properly aligned, it can lead to increased stress and strain on the neck and cervical spine. This can result in muscle imbalances, tension, and restricted movement in the neck, which can affect the proprioceptive input from the neck to the brain. Disruptions in proprioception can impact the brain’s perception of balance and spatial orientation, potentially leading to symptoms of cervical vertigo. Maintaining good posture, especially during prolonged periods of sitting or repetitive activities, is important in managing and preventing cervical vertigo.

Are there specific exercises or stretches that can help alleviate symptoms of cervical vertigo?

Yes, there are specific exercises and stretches that can help alleviate symptoms of cervical vertigo. These exercises often focus on improving neck mobility, strengthening the neck muscles, and promoting proper posture. Examples include gentle neck range of motion exercises, such as neck rotations, flexion/extension, and lateral bending. Stretching exercises targeting the neck muscles, such as the upper trapezius and levator scapulae, can help relieve tension. Posture-correcting exercises, such as chin tucks and scapular retractions, can also be beneficial. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist, for personalized exercise recommendations and guidance.

Last reviewed on June 5th, 2023 by Ahmad Rezvani, Registered PT 

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