Dizzy spells occur for a number of reasons, from low blood pressure to inner ear issues. But what do you do when you’re experiencing dizziness after an injury? An injury to your spine could leave you with uncomfortable symptoms, including dizziness. If you experience dizziness, this could lead to poor balance and impact your body’s movements. When dealing with dizziness from a spine injury, it is important to understand the complex structure of vertebrae, discs, nerves, ligaments, and tendons that make up and support your spine. A back spinal injury that causes dizziness can make it difficult to stand up straight, trouble walking or climbing stairs, and feeling disoriented while doing everyday tasks. To learn more about why you might be experiencing dizziness from a back injury, visit your trusted spine doctor to get a thorough evaluation, diagnosis, and spinal cold injury treatment. Here’s what you need to know about a spinal injury and dizziness.
How Can a Spine Injury Cause Dizziness?
A physical injury to the spine can lead to a wide range of symptoms that impact your ability to go about your regular routines. Any time you are dealing with a spine injury, it’s important to get medical care right away. Your spine runs from the base of your skull through your back and houses the central nervous system, which allows your brain to effectively communicate with the rest of the body. An injury to this area can impact surrounding tissues, nerves, and even the spinal cord itself. Here are some examples of how a spine injury can lead to dizziness.
A sudden injury to your spine can lead to inflammation in the area. No matter where the injury occurred, inflammation can cause swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected area. Swelling of nearby tissues can aggravate the nerves that send signals to your brain and body to communicate movement and activity, which can lead to dizziness. The spinal column houses thousands of nerves that tell your whole body what to do, from standing up and sitting down to when your stomach digests food. Sudden inflammation around these important nerves can lead to poor balance and dizziness after a spinal injury.
Nerves can also become damaged in the event of a spinal injury. Too much pressure on a nerve can lead to compression or a pinched nerve, causing uncomfortable symptoms like pain, tingling, and numbness. While a pinched nerve could be temporary due to swelling or a misalignment in the spine, the longer the nerve is compressed, the more likely the nerve could become damaged. A spinal injury could also seriously damage nerves, which can result in additional symptoms like dizziness, and loss of sensation, strength, and functioning. The location of the nerve damage plays a large part in where you experience symptoms. For example, nerve damage near the head and neck is more likely to cause a symptom like dizziness.
The spinal cord, neck muscles, and nerves in your neck are called the cervical spine. If you suffer an injury to the cervical spine, it could lead to symptoms like cervicogenic dizziness or cervicogenic vertigo. Inflammation and injury to the cervical spine can lead to excess stress or pressure on the nerves in your neck, causing you to experience dizziness. Cervicogenic dizziness and vertigo are common symptoms of head and neck injuries like whiplash or a concussion. Along with dizziness, cervical vertigo can also cause you to feel like the room is spinning. You may also experience ear pain and a ringing sound in your ears, along with other symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Neck pain is also a common symptom alongside cervical vertigo caused by a spinal injury.
Neck, Back, & Spinal Injuries That May Cause Dizziness
There are a wide range of neck, back, and spine injuries that can cause dizziness and similar issues listed above. Here are six examples of injuries that could cause dizziness.
Whiplash is the number one car accident injury and impacts your head, neck, and upper back. This type of injury can occur when another vehicle collides with yours, causing your head and neck to snap forward violently. Your neck muscles stretch and strain out of their normal range of motion to accommodate this sudden and unexpected motion. Whiplash can cause strained neck muscles, swelling and inflammation, and aggravated nerves. Common symptoms of a whiplash injury include neck pain, tenderness, headaches, dizziness, tingling, and numbness.
In between each vertebra in the spine is what’s known as a spinal disc. These discs provide cushion and support for your spine so you can move with ease and also offer shock absorption for everyday movements. A sudden blow to the spine or improperly bending when your back could lead to a herniated disc. Also commonly referred to as a slipped disc, a herniated disc refers to when the tough outer shell of the spinal disc becomes cracked or torn, and the soft inside spills out. A herniated disc can aggravate nearby nerves by adding too much pressure, leading to uncomfortable symptoms like tingling and numbness. A herniated disc in your neck can also cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and vertigo.
Your spinal cord runs through the vertebrae that stack up to make your spine. Spinal stenosis refers to a condition where the space between the bones and the spinal cord becomes narrower, which can cause the bones to press on the spinal cord and nearby nerves. Spinal stenosis can develop over time due to wear and tear or a condition like osteoarthritis. However, you could also develop spinal stenosis after a sudden spinal injury. Spinal stenosis in the cervical spine can be the source of dizziness and other symptoms you experience after an injury.
Sciatica refers to a specific nerve pain you experience when the sciatic nerve becomes aggravated or damaged. The sciatic nerve is located at the base of your spine and is commonly known for causing pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness through your hip, leg, and foot. These shooting, stabbing pains, and other symptoms can start at your lower back but may also impact your legs and feet, which can result in losing your balance. If you experience numbness in your leg or foot, this can impact your natural balance and make you feel dizzy or unstable on your feet.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease refers to a condition where the spinal discs that separate your vertebrae start to break down. As spinal discs lose their cushioning and support, you can experience uncomfortable symptoms like pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness in the area and into your extremities. Degenerative disc disease in the cervical spine can also impact the nerves that communicate with your inner ear and brain, leading to dizziness. Neck pain and dizzy spells may occur with degenerative disc disease as the wear and tear impacts healthy functioning in your head, neck, and around your spine.
Spondylosis refers to age-related wear and tear that also impacts spinal discs in your neck. As you age, your spinal discs can start to shrink and dehydrate, and you may develop osteoarthritis. Cervical spondylosis refers to this condition in your neck, and it can lead to tingling and numbness in your arms and hands. You may also experience uncomfortable symptoms like dizziness or vertigo with spondylosis.
Spinal Injury Diagnosis and Treatment
If you have suffered a spinal injury and are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms like dizziness, visit your chiropractor at Pro-Care Medical Centers today. Our spine doctors are highly knowledgeable and skilled in diagnosing spinal injuries using state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and neurological tests to assess your nerve functioning. Once we have determined what type of spinal injury you have, we will provide you with personalized treatment to help ease your symptoms and restore healthy functioning. Our Pro-Care chiropractors support you from your initial visit through rehabilitation from a spinal injury so you can get back to your regular routines and activities as safely and swiftly as possible.