Your balance mechanism is made up of the fluid canals in your inner ear (the labyrinth), the nerves of the neck, your vision and the overall sense of body position that is supplied by the nerves throughout the body – called ‘proprioception’. When all of these things work well, your balance will be excellent.
When patients report dizziness this is usually from the neck (cervicogenic) or from the inner ear (labyrinth).
The inner ear can malfunction in two main ways:
- infection known as ‘Labyrinthitis’ or
- debris build up of calcium carbonate crystals.
Labyrinthitis, caused by a virus, can cause balance disorders, vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus. The delicate inner ear labyrinth becomes congested or swollen and the nerve signals sent from the auditory and balance parts of this delicate structure can no longer be relied upon. This results in one or many of these unpleasant symptoms.
With the buildup of ‘ear rocks’ or debris within the ear the most effective type of care is a treatment known as Elpey’s Manoeuvre, which chiropractors can perform with ease. This technique places a client in a position where the debris gathers in a harmless position in the complex inner ear and prevents it from aggravating the sensitive nerve structures of the ear. It takes about 2 minutes to perform and there is a home version that can be supplied to reinforce it if necessary. It is generally comfortable and is highly effective for labyrinth debris build up.
The final type of dizziness is cervicogenic. This is very common and in many ways is a complex problem whereby the joints, muscles and ligaments of the neck lose their normal function and send false nerve information to the brain.