Dizziness and balance
When a person feels "dizzy", he or she feels unsteady due to a turning or swaying of the surroundings. The description of the type of dizziness is already very important for the doctor to find the cause and conclusions for a treatment. The feeling of vertigo gives the person a lack of orientation in space. Everything seems to be spinning, the "steadiness" is no longer guaranteed, general malaise accompanies this feeling.
Our orientation is based on three pillars:
- the organ of balance in the ear
- the visual system
- the proprioceptive system (information flow via the sense of touch, joints and muscle movements to the brain).
As soon as one of these systems is diseased or the brain's ability to regulate is disturbed, dizziness becomes noticeable.
Next to the inner ear is the organ of balance. The ENT doctor therefore checks whether there is a disease of the ear and/or the organ of balance. Since the "dizziness" or problems with balance can also have other causes, the ENT doctor consults other specialists (e.g. neurologist, cardiologist, internist) if necessary.
An exact diagnosis can then lead to effective, detailed treatment.
First, the doctor takes a detailed medical history together with the patient. This is followed by a specialist examination by the ENT doctor. Here there are various diagnostic procedures such as measuring eye movement, the position test (for positional vertigo), the head impulse test (helps to differentiate between neurologically caused or inner ear vertigo).
There are also a number of examination methods that use the latest technology to test coordination skills, for example, or to measure certain parts of the vestibular organ. A computer or magnetic resonance tomography can also provide information about the origin of the vertigo in the patient's body.
Based on the determined cause, a therapy is coordinated, this can be medication-based or targeted dizziness training.
Cervical spine (HWS) and vertigo (cervicogenic vertigo)
The spine is the longitudinal axis of our skeleton with 24 vertebrae and keeps us upright! The upper part of the spine is called the cervical spine (C-spine). This is 5+2 vertebrae between the cervical and thoracic spine (labeled C1-C7, "C" stands for Cervical spine). It is the most mobile part of the spine. The two uppermost vertebrae, i.e. the vertebrae directly attached to the head, are 2 upper cervical joints called "atlas" = nictitator and "axis" = rotator and, in accordance with their function, have a special shape that differs from all other vertebrae. Adjacent to them are 5 other cervical vertebrae. The uppermost vertebra "Atlas" has the shape of a ring and carries the head. The entire structure of the cervical spine is supported by the neck and back muscles.
The organ of balance, which is placed in the middle ear, constantly probes our head and body posture to keep the system "in balance". When there is poor posture, wear and tear, or accidental changes in the cervical spine, an error message is sent to the organ of balance via the nerve fibers. The system literally falters because the vestibular system wants to compensate for the misalignment; the patient feels this compensation as dizziness.