Dizziness and cervical spine

Cervical pain and dizziness are common symptoms and can occur together.

Neck pain does not necessarily lead to dizziness or balance disorders.

However, scientific studies (Magnusson M – Department of Otolaryngology, Lund University, Skane University Hospital, Lund, Svezia.) point to:

  1. The importance of proprioceptive signals (which signal the position of the body in space) emanating from the cervical spine to ensure balance and control of posture.
  2. Therapy for cervical problems, which reduce dizziness in some patients.

Dizziness is of cervical origin when neck pain occurs together with dizziness or with loss of balance.

In addition, some neck movements worsen dizziness.

There are many causes of dizziness, one is dysfunction of the upper cervical spine (Reid SA, Rivett DA: Manual therapy treatment of cervicogenic dizziness: A systematic review. Man Ther. 2005).

Clinical experience and anatomical studies have discovered the relationship between the receptors of the cervical spine and the vestibular arteries (Neuhuber WL, Bankoul S (1994) Peculiarities of the innervation of the head-neck junction. Orthopedist 23:256-261).

The positive effect of physiotherapy and osteopathy in some patients can be explained by the improvement of muscular balance.

Often trauma causes:

  • Insecurity
  • Disturbances of equilibrium
  • Vertigo.

This pathology can be mild or severe, depending on the underlying condition.

Chiropractic and medication are the most common forms of treatment to cure cervical dizziness.

These forms of dizziness can last a short time or last for a long time.


Causes of cervical dizziness

According to a scientific study (Hulse M: Disequelibrium caused by a functional disturbance of the upper cervical spine, clinical aspects and differential diagnosis), cervical dizziness is caused by:

  1. Whiplash (33%),
  2. spondylosis or osteoarthritis of the cervical spine (33%),
  3. Other causes (33%).

Cervical dizziness is caused by:

  • Whiplash
  • Pulled muscle
  • contracture of the muscles on the occipital head or upper neck (may be caused by poor posture or cold),
  • Incorrect manipulation of the cervical vertebrae.

The following activities cause contractures of the neck muscles:

  • Picking up heavy objects
  • Towing weights
  • Sitting in front of the computer for hours
  • Incorrect posture while sitting during the day or at night in bed (for example, without pillows).

Cervical spondylosis (osteoarthritis of the neck)

The vertebral arteries carry blood from the cervical spine to the back of the brain.

Wear of the intervertebral discs of the cervical vertebrae causes cervical spondylosis or uncarthrosis (arthrosis or degeneration of the joints between the cervical vertebrae).

In this case, excessive load acts on the intervertebral joints (in the posterior part of the vertebrae).

Since 50% of proprioceptors (these are nerve endings that signal the position of the neck) are located in the capsules of these joints, inflammation in this area can cause dizziness or loss of balance.

Causes can be:

  • vertebral collapse,
  • Reduced height of the intervertebral disc,
  • Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis,
  • vertebral dislocation,
  • Muscle spasm.

Cervical arthrosis does not always cause symptoms, only in case of inflammation of the joints.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Neck
  • muscle stiffness,
  • Numbness
  • Loss of balance.

Symptoms that occur along with cervical dizziness

If a person suffers from dizziness, there are often other symptoms that vary from person to person.

With cervical headache, dizziness is felt:

  • When the patient performs certain activities or movements;
  • If a certain position is taken for a long time;

If the movement of the neck is restricted.

List of some of the most common signs of dizziness:

  • loss of balance during head movements,
  • loss of strength in the legs,

Dizziness triggered by the neck can be accompanied by many symptoms (Malstrom EM, Karlberg M, Melander A, Magnusson M, Moritz U: Cervicogenic dizziness- musculoskeletal findings before and after treatment and long-term outcome. Disabil Rehabil. 2007), including:

  1. Sudden neck pain when moving,
  2. neck stiffness,
  3. Headache.

Less common symptoms include:

  • Visual impairment
  • nausea,
  • vomiting (rare),
  • sweating,
  • tinnitus,
  • swallowing disorders,
  • pain in the area of the temporomandibular joint,
  • pain and tingling in the upper extremities,
  • General weakness,
  • anxiety,
  • lack of concentration,
  • Memory loss.

Diagnosis of cervical dizziness

To diagnose cervical dizziness, the doctor will check the mobility of the neck, then ask the patient to change his position to determine whether the intensity of pain changes or shifts to another area.

Finally, he will ask the patient to make the following movements a few times:

  • Bring chin forward,
  • Take back the chin (with flattening of the spine).

If these movements improve or worsen symptoms, dizziness is certainly affected cervically.

To exclude other causes, the doctor prescribes:

  • Doppler sonography (echography of the blood vessels) of the carotid arteries to check whether blood circulation to the brain is disturbed.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging of the encephalon (brain) to rule out a tumor or other disorders.
  • An X-ray examination may reveal osteoarthritis or a vertebral fracture and indicate whether the patient has excessive lordosis.
  • Presentation to the ear specialist to clarify causes that may depend on the ears (for example,Labyrinthitis, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, etc.).

A herniated disc (disc hernia) usually occurs between the middle and lower vertebrae and does not cause dizziness.

What should you do? Treatment of cervical dizziness

The goal of treatment to reduce dizziness is based on relieving cervical pain.

If the main cause of the neck pain is found and the pain is treated accordingly, this can also reduce dizziness.

Dizziness, which a person feels after a neck trauma, spontaneously pass again.

It is recommended not to make sudden throat movements.

What can you take? Medication for cervical dizziness

The doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen (Mobilat painkillers), ketoprofen (alrheumun), and ibuprofen (Dolormin).

Other treatment methods are based on injections to reduce neck pain and dizziness.

To treat dizziness, the doctor may prescribe betahistine (Betavert or Aequamen).


Physiotherapy for cervical dizziness is helpful and includes:

  • massage therapy to relieve muscle contractures on the neck,
  • posture correction,
  • McKenzie method, which is a treatment based on specific postures or exercises that turn off or reduce symptoms.

Chiropractic and osteopathy

If the treatment methods mentioned so far do not reduce the pain, chiropractic treatments can be used.

Chiropractors bring the cervical spine into balance.

This treatment helps the brain receive the right signals from the neck area.

Osteopathy is a manual therapy technique that acts on:

  • Skeletal muscle
  • Header
  • Visceral area (on organs and intestines).

Osteopathy releases joint blockages and reduces pain in nerves and muscles.

In this case, osteopathy deals with all possible causes of pain.

Natural remedies for cervical dizziness


One of the causes of dizziness is dehydration.

That’s why it’s recommended to drink enough to keep the body hydrated.

Water is used to:

  • elimination of poisons,
  • Regulation of blood pressure.


Some massage oils, applied to the head and neck, reduce dizziness.

Dizziness occurs when the neck muscles are tense. A relaxing massage loosens and relaxes the muscles.

The best essential oils:

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Cypress
  • Ginger
  • Lavender.

These oils act on the muscles and help relieve stress and release contractures and muscle tension.


These exercises do not require any equipment or specialist personnel and can be done at home.

Some of the exercises concern eye movements and movements of the neck: it is recommended to perform the exercises slowly. If these movement exercises give the feeling of dizziness, they should be stopped immediately.

After adopting an upright posture, bring your hands to shoulder height and walk forward, fixing a point.

Perform this exercise at least three times a day.

Remedies from grandmother’s time for cervical dizziness

Below are some secrets of our grandmothers that quickly relieve dizziness:

Amla is the richest source of vitamin C and is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Amla is a natural remedy for dizziness and is used to prevent cardiovascular diseases.

One of the main causes of dizziness is the decreased blood supply to the brain.

Ginger improves blood circulation.

Eating ginger every day is helpful in relieving dizziness.

Ginger is available as capsules or as tea.

The following substances aggravate the symptoms:

  • caffeine,
  • carbonated drinks,
  • Alcohol.

As long as the dizziness is severe, no sports should be practiced. But you can walk slowly on a track or a dirt road.

You should not swim because you often move your neck and this can cause dizziness.

How long does cervical dizziness last? Prognosis

The duration depends on:

  • The age of the patient,
  • his state of health,
  • The therapy he does.

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