Health Topic Archives

“Proprioception, Balance and Chiropractic” (Part 2 of 3)

Have you ever had this happen to you? You roll over, sit up and try to get out of bed and feel like the entire room is spinning. The spinning becomes so intense that you get nauseous and feel like you might vomit. You are trying to turn your head to drive your car, everything starts spinning and you have to pull over on the side of the road. Welcome to the world of vertigo.

We often see many patients that present for difficulties with their balance. As discussed in last month's Health Topic by Dr. Woolaway, balance disorders can present from many different causes such as vertigo 2nd to inner ear disorders.

Our body’s balance system is made up of many parts. It involves the brain, nervous system, inner ears, eyes, muscles and joints. Our eyes help us keep track of potential dangers, our inner ears help keep the positioning of our head and work with the effects of gravity, and our proprioceptive system allows us to know where our body is at all times, even if we can't see.

Proprioception is a really big word that simply refers to your sense of body position in your surroundings. An example would be walking in the dark in your house. Even though you can't see, you know where you are at all times. That is your proprioceptive system working.

From a chiropractic treatment standpoint, we assess patients for balance disorders. First, we take a thorough history and exam to help determine the cause of the vertigo and if it would benefit from chiropractic treatment.

The upper cervical spine, or neck, is an important component of the balance system. Mechanical dysfunction of the joint, muscle, and receptors in this area can often cause "Cervicogenic Proprioceptive Vertigo" which means you feel off-balance because of limited motion from the upper part of neck. Symptoms of this condition can be vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and balance difficulties. This condition is commonly seen with whiplash injuries after car accidents, falls, and advancing spinal degeneration/arthritis.

Next month will be the final discussion of this 3-part series regarding balance. We will discuss the importance of balance and flexibility exercises for the 50+ age group.

If you are frustrated with your ongoing problems with vertigo, give our office a call today. Chiropractic can often help.


"It takes more energy to be reactive than it does to be proactive."