Herniated disc dizziness is a very scary symptom that is occasionally associated with upper cervical intervertebral pathologies. This condition is also often called herniated disc vertigo. Dizziness describes a feeling of being unsteady and out of balance. It can strike in any position, although for disc pain sufferers, it is often inherently linked to movement or particular positioning of the neck and head. Dizziness may be a perception or may be an actual expression. This means that a patient may simply feel lightheaded and unsteady or they may actually lose control of their balance. The former symptomology is far more commonplace when the expression is related to a cervical disc pathology.
This dissertation examines herniated discs in the upper reaches of the neck that may be involved in causing or contributing to vertigo or dizziness.
Typically, herniated disc dizziness results from a high level spinal stenosis or neuroforaminal stenosis condition in the cervical region. Neurological tissue may be constricted and suffer dysfunction that might cause vertigo to occur. There are 2 main types of dizziness causations that might be enacted by an upper level cervical disc protrusion:
The first involves the neurological tissue causing dizziness directly, due to nerve dysfunction. This is most often seen in high level central stenosis patients, where particular tracts of spinal cord cells are compressed, disallowing proper signaling of nerve tissue.
The second involves muscular causation of dizziness, due to improper innervation of the soft tissues and resulting spasm or tension that might compress other nerve tissues. This type of expression is strikingly similar to the occurrence of tension headaches in high level cervical disc pain patients.
In some patients, dizziness might exist, despite no verifiable process linking the disc issue to the symptom. In rare cases, a definitive mechanism can be ascertained to explain the vertigo expression and its relationship to the cervical disc problem.
Dizziness might exist all the time or might come and go. When it is a chronic and ever-present problem, the patient is often completely disabled, since they will be greatly limited in their physical and cognitive functionality. Luckily, most cases are intermittent and are directly related to some trigger circumstance, such as particular positioning or movement. Other patients have sporadic bouts of vertigo that are random and are not triggered by known or identifiable circumstances.
Some of the more common movements that can bring on symptoms include any or all of the following: turning the head, looking downwards, looking upwards, kinking the neck or moving the head quickly. Some of the more common symptom-inducing positions include lying down in fetal position, lying supine, standing overly straight for an extended time frame or slouching with the head held downward and forward.
The report of dizziness is often a warning sign of some potentially dire health issues, such as circulatory concerns or brain pathologies. Therefore, patients might become alarmed, especially when their physician orders a barrage of diagnostic tests to rule out the worst of these threats.
As a patient, I can completely relate to this topic, as recurrent dizziness was a symptom that completely changed my world in 2008 and lingered for over 2 years. In my case, the dizziness came on suddenly, with traumatic light effects inside my left eye and a surging sensation in the left side of my head. I was incredibly frightened by these terrible symptoms that came on abruptly when turning my head quickly to the left side. This was not classic dizziness, as much as it was akin to small explosions inside the left side of my head, directly behind my ear and eye.
Several MRIs and a battery of other tests later, it was found that my cervical discs were the likely culprits. One prolapse, in particular, is pressing severely into the spinal cord, and this one seemed the most logical source, given its proximity and extreme nature.
I found myself unable to do anything to prevent the attacks, so I simply learned to move my head slower and relax when the flare-ups came on. Late into 2009, the worst of these dizzy spells passed and eventually resolved almost completely about a year later. I still get minor surges when turning my head quickly or when performing certain anatomical motions, such as swimming the front crawl.
There is limited research about the cause of disc herniation-driven dizziness and vertigo. This is one of the main reasons why we find it so important to share this crucial article, since we know that many of you suffer from this type of torment and have not found any logical explanation from your physicians.
If you would like to share your disc-related dizziness or vertigo story, please consider doing so on our interactive forum.