Many people experience neck pain combined with feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness. Related symptoms may include an unsteady feeling, blurry vision, headaches, nausea, and/or ringing in the ears (tinnitus). The combination of neck pain and dizziness is known as cervical vertigo or cervicogenic dizziness. Keep reading to learn why this might happen and what you can do about it.
Whiplash occurs when the neck is subjected to rapid back-and-forth motions. Neck pain is the most common symptom associated with whiplash, but it’s also possible to experience dizziness, which could be because the jostling caused a type of brain injury called a concussion.
You may also have neck pain and dizziness from whiplash due to injuries to specialized receptors in neck joints and muscles called proprioceptors. These receptors send messages to the brain and are believed to play a role in helping people maintain balance by providing information about the position of the head and neck.
The vertebral arteries are major arteries located along the sides of the neck. They sometimes become irritated, compressed, or inflamed, which reduces blood flow to the brain, since these arteries join together within the skull. This is referred to as vertebrobasilar insufficiency (VBI), a condition that can cause dizziness.
A type of VBI known as bow hunter’s syndrome causes temporary dizziness when the head is turned one way or the other. It’s usually caused by a bony growth on one of the bones in the neck (bone spur/osteophyte). However, this possible source of neck pain and dizziness is rare.
Myofascial pain syndrome is caused by trigger points (involuntary tight tender spots) that develop in muscles and related connective tissues. If these trigger points form in the neck area, the condition is called cervical myofascial pain syndrome (CMPS). Roughly a third of patients with CMPS experience dizziness along with symptoms that may include:
If you have unexplained dizziness coupled with neck pain, it’s best to see a Beverly Hills spine surgeon for an accurate diagnosis. There’s no specific test that can identify a clear link between neck issues and dizziness. However, an effective treatment plan can usually be recommended based on results from testing. These tests may include:
Treatment for cervical vertigo will depend on the source of your symptoms. While some patients benefit from medication, trigger point injections, and therapeutic exercises, if there’s a bone spur or similar obstruction contributing to your neck pain and dizziness, your spine specialist may recommend minimally invasive neck surgery. Beverly Hills patients should seek immediate medical attention if they have serious symptoms, such as fever and chills, pounding headaches, extreme dizziness, or a loss of bladder or bowel control.
If you’re having persistent pain in your neck accompanied by dizziness, consult a spinal health specialist right away. The industry-revolutionizing experts at The Spine Institute have decades of experience with all sources of neck and back pain, and we employ the most innovative methods of diagnosis and treatment to alleviate pain and promote long-term spinal health. Call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.