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Cervical Vertigo: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

All you need to know about Cervical Vertigo

Did you feel dizzy when you suddenly moved your neck? This may be a sign of cervical vertigo (cervicogenic dizziness). It is a sensation associated with the neck that various factors, including unhealthy habits, underlying disorders, and trauma, may cause.

Causes for Cervical Vertigo

The origin or causal factors of cervical vertigo are still not entirely clear. However, research suggests that blockage or tearing of arteries in the neck disrupts blood flow to the inner ear and brain stem leading to dizziness. In addition, several other underlying conditions can lead to these symptoms. 

Cervical Spine Disorders

Advanced neck osteoarthritis, also known as cervical spondylosis, is a prominent disorder that leads to this condition. Wear and tear of the vertebrae and neck discs add excessive pressure on the spine blocking blood flow and causing dizziness. Similarly, a herniated or slipped disk can contribute to the same. Further, if the spinal canal is too small, as in the case of spinal stenosis, it can lead to pinched or damaged nerves that also contribute to the symptoms of cervical vertigo.

Injuries or Trauma to the Neck

Accidents, injuries, or other forms of whiplash could damage your head and neck resulting in dizziness. In addition to head and neck injuries caused by accidents, sports injuries or complications after surgery can also impact the brainstem and arteries leading to cervical vertigo. 

Poor Posture

While you may pay attention to disorders or accidents that cause cervical vertigo, it is also essential to recognize daily practices that may increase this condition's risk. For instance, poor sitting posture or issues like a text neck can compress the cervical spine and add pressure to the arteries. If you spend long hours staring at your screen and bending your neck, you may develop neck pain and vertigo. 

Symptoms of Cervical Vertigo

Dizziness may be the most recognizable symptom of cervical vertigo, but did you know several other signs may indicate this condition? 

Dizziness or Spinning Sensation

Feeling faint, light-headed, heavy-headed, or unsteady is commonly associated with this condition. Since the nerves and arteries around the neck are damaged, you may experience a spinning sensation and frequently lose balance. 

Neck Pain or Stiffness

Spending long hours in front of a screen or bending your neck as you type without taking frequent breaks can compress the nerves leading to stiffness and pain. Our experts recommend being mindful of your posture and making the necessary lifestyle changes to fix the same. 


Migraines, ringing pain in your head, or pain in the front of your skull may signify cervical vertigo. Based on the underlying condition, these symptoms can get aggravated by intense light or sound. 

Nausea or Vomiting

The sudden impact and compression of the spinal nerves can lead to nausea or vomiting. Although these symptoms can be controlled with treatment, they may frequently occur due to the intensity of the damage. 

Visual Disturbances

Damage to the nerves in the neck and head can also lead to visual disturbances, along with the other symptoms of cervical vertigo. You may experience rapid eye movement, have difficulty maintaining gaze, have problems with reading, or feel a sense of visual motion even if you are standing still. 

Difficulty in Maintaining Balance

Since dizziness is a prominent sign of cervical vertigo, it would also be accompanied by issues associated with balance. The compressed nerves prevent blood flow to the inner ear (responsible for maintaining balance). Hence, you may show problems with motor coordination, as a result of which you can experience strange or difficult movements when you walk.

Treatments for Cervical Vertigo

We understand that these symptoms of cervical vertigo can be overwhelming. Hence, our experts recommend treatment strategies that help you cope with the signs and improve your overall well-being.


Based on the severity of symptoms, your physician may prescribe muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and other drugs that help alleviate stiffness, pain, and dizziness. In most cases, combinations of drugs are used to manage the symptoms and the underlying condition. However, medication by itself is not enough to manage the symptoms, which is why other treatment modalities are also recommended. 


Surgery is recommended if physical therapy and medications are not effectively aiding in recovery. Research suggests that anterior cervical surgery and percutaneous laser disc decompression can alleviate symptoms of cervical vertigo. However, continuing with alternative treatment approaches is necessary to achieve a complete recovery after surgery. 

Home Remedies

Different methods or techniques can be used to cope with this condition in the comfort of your home. The well-known process of alternating between hot and cold compressions helps reduce pain and tightness in the neck. Further, staying hydrated and using essential oils like peppermint, ginger, lavender, and lemon can reduce nausea, dizziness, and headaches. Finally, taking a break and allowing your body to rest and recuperate is essential to recovery. 

Physical Therapy and Cervical Vertigo

Along with these techniques, it is also recommended to seek treatment from a physiotherapist. Physical therapy plays a significant role in coping with the symptoms of cervical vertigo. Various stretching and balance exercises can help improve coordination, range of motion, and balance. Further, specialized treatment approaches like chiropractic care can help readjust your neck and spine. 

Physiotattva's Approach to Cervical Vertigo Treatment

At Physiotattva, the non-invasive treatment techniques and qualified experts help deliver customized care that meets your needs. For conditions like cervical vertigo, seeking specialized care is necessary. With the latest treatment modalities, including electrotherapy, aqua therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, tissue mobilization, and more, we can help you effectively cope with the distressing symptoms of this condition. In addition to this, our services are not limited to pain relief. We also aim to educate you on everyday practices that provide long-term benefits. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the treatment options for cervical vertigo?

Several treatment options for cervical vertigo include vestibular rehabilitation, medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and surgery. In addition to this, simple home remedies that can help you manage these distressing symptoms are also recommended by our experts.

Can physical therapy help with cervical vertigo?

Physiotherapy techniques, including stretching and balance exercises, play an important role in coping with cervical vertigo. Further, vestibular rehabilitation that encompasses exercises like eye movements and neck movements also helps reduce issues with balance and dizziness. 

How is cervical vertigo diagnosed?

Since the symptoms of cervical vertigo are shared with other conditions, certain tests or scans are necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Your physician may recommend an MRI scan, spine x-ray, vertebral doppler ultrasound, angiography, or other tests to detect the damaged nerves contributing to this condition.

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