dizziness-vs-vertigo-an-overall-comparisonWhen balance problems such as dizziness and vertigo happen too often, they can take over a person’s life. This is the reason why many patients seek the help of a vertigo chiropractic doctor in Blue Ash, OH, to regain control of their balance and return to living a normal life.

Dizziness and vertigo can be challenging to differentiate from one another. For this reason, many people mistakenly use both words to describe the sensations of one or the other. However, it is important to keep in mind that vertigo and dizziness are slightly different sensations. 

What Is Vertigo? An Overview

Vertigo is a symptom of an underlying condition. It is not a disease itself. Most cases are due to problems in the inner ear and associated with a dysfunction of the vestibular system. Vertigo is common in adults over the age of 40. In fact, 40% of them have some type of vestibular disorder. Vertigo is the false sensation of movement and often includes a spinning sensation. It affects a person’s balance.

Why Vertigo Occurs

Vertigo often stems from the malfunction of certain parts of the brain and the inner ear that are responsible for maintaining balance. These include the following parts of the body:

  • The brainstem and cerebellum
  • The inner ear itself
  • Nerve tracts that link the brainstem and cerebellum to the inner ear

The inner ear has several parts, including the semicircular canals, utricle, and saccule. These parts help with the detection of motion and position of the body in relation to gravity. The brain receives signals from these structures via the 8th cranial nerve, or vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve also plays a part in hearing. After that, the brainstem processes the information, changes your posture, synchronizes movement with help of the cerebellum. This then allows your body to balance so that you remain steady and don’t fall to the ground. Any problem within these parts of the body and how they function can cause vertigo to develop. 

What’s the Difference Between Dizziness and Vertigo?


Dizziness is any of these sensations: 

  • Feeling like you might faint
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling spaced out
  • Feeling off-balance or unsteady (disequilibrium)

Dizziness is responsible for around 6% of all doctor visits. One important thing to keep in mind is that any condition affecting the brain function can bring on dizziness. Here are a few examples:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Low blood pressure
  • Severe anemia
  • Certain medications


On the other hand, vertigo brings these distinct symptoms:

  • Spinning or moving sensation (either you or your environment)
  • Trouble walking
  • Balance problems 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abnormal eye movements (nystagmus)

Vertigo can be disabling for anyone who suffers from it, especially if it comes with nausea and vomiting. It is rarely life-threatening unless you experience it during dangerous situations such as when operating heavy machinery, driving, flying an airplane, or climbing a ladder. 

Leading Causes of Dizziness and Vertigo

In general, there are two types of dizziness: those with and those without vertigo. 

Dizziness with Vertigo

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Vestibular neuronitis
  • Vestibular migraines – these are extreme migraine headaches that involve vertigo or dizziness. It often runs in families. 

Dizziness without Vertigo

  • Medication effects – many medications can be harmful for the nerves of the ear and balance structures
  • Multifactorial causes
  • An injury to the eardrum, inner ear, or base of the skull
  • Pregnancy
  • Low blood sugar
  • A tumor of the vestibulocochlear nerve
  • A tumor, stroke, or TIA affecting the brainstem

Vertigo Symptoms Management

One of the common ways to care for vertigo involves management of symptoms through medications. For example, diazepam or lorazepam can help with inner ear disorders, meclizine or promethazine for nausea and vomiting, and antihistamine drugs as an alternative. However, medications can also cause vertigo. Check the medication information insert on your medications if you start experiencing vertigo. 

Physical therapy can also help you cope with balance problems. Here are some ways to manage your vertigo, as suggested by physical therapists:

  • Avoid movements that can instigate dizziness, such as bending over or looking up 
  • Practice exercises that merge body, eye, and head movements to help avoid dizziness
  • Get up slowly from a sitting or lying down position
  • Do vestibular rehabilitation 
  • Put objects at a level that is easy to reach
  • Clench hands and flex feet before standing
  • Walk on your own as long as possible
  • Do exercises and physical therapy to help strengthen your muscles

Vertigo Can Be Due to a Neck Misalignment

Vertigo and certain vestibular disorders often develop after a trauma or injury to the head or neck. Even minor incidents, including a simple trip and fall or a fender bender, can be enough to cause problems. The C1 (atlas) vertebra may be responsible for it. This uppermost bone in the neck is prone to misaligning due to its mobility and shape. The atlas protects the brainstem but may do otherwise if it is not functioning well. Therefore, a misalignment in this delicate area can put undue stress on the brainstem and make it relay improper signals to the brain. 

If the brain gets one set of signals from the brainstem but gets mismatched signals from the ears, eyes, and nerves about the body’s location, vertigo is the inevitable result. A vertigo chiropractic doctor in Blue Ash, OH can correct this vertebral misalignment and bring back the proper communication between the body and brain through a natural and gentle method.

Upper cervical chiropractic care is a unique care option that can improve vertigo or eliminate it entirely, as proven in case studies. Here at Cincinnati Upper Cervical and Family Chiropractic in Blue Ash, Ohio, I employ a method that realigns the bones with gentleness and precision. This allows for a longer-lasting adjustment, resulting in fewer chiropractor visits. Call 513-891-7746 or contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn about this promising form of care.