Cervical spine syndrome and dizziness


Patients who are affected by a cervical spine syndrome often have, in addition to other symptoms, a so-called "cervicogenic "vertigo. They mostly report not from vertigo, but describe you Vertigo or one Unsteadiness. These symptoms are increasing prolonged forced posture to. she last from minutes to several hours.

Vertigo in cervical spine syndrome

A Cervical spine syndrome is mainly through the guiding symptom Pain in the Shoulder-arm-neck area marked. However, these pains are often not alone, but are accompanied by other symptoms, including above all a headache, dizziness, Visual disturbances, Ringing in the ears or Numbness or tingling sensations (Paresthesia). If such symptoms are present, it is extremely important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

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Causes of dizziness in cervical spine syndrome

The cervical spine syndrome can have very different causes. Some of these have in common that for some reason the out of the Spine exiting annoy be constricted or irritated. If this is due to a mass (such as a Herniated disc of the cervical spinethat presses on the nerves or growing on the spine tumor) happens, it can happen that not only the nerve, but also located there Vessels be narrowed. Does this affect the arteries that support the brain supply, this permanent constriction can lead to a reduction in flow and thus to an insufficient supply of the brain with blood and thus also with oxygen. This Lack of oxygen can then be based on, among other things dizziness to make noticable.

Dizziness is also common psychogenic conditional, so has no objectifiable physical reasons. This is also not uncommon with the cervical spine syndrome. Patients suffering from this syndrome are common stressed (and therefore suffer from their back tension and consequently from this syndrome) and stress is also a trigger for dizziness or can at least make it worse. Also, dizziness can also be caused by fear caused. Because it is often difficult to find out the cause of a cervical spine syndrome and patients find an enormous one Suffering feel and possibly live with the fear that under certain circumstances a serious illness could be behind your symptoms, dizziness can consequently also arise due to fear.
For more information, read our article: Dizziness caused by tension

There are, however, an enormous number of reasons for dizziness, most of which, but not all, are harmless in nature. Just because there is a cervical spine syndrome and you also suffer from dizziness, this is not necessarily caused by the cervical spine syndrome. So you should if Attacks of dizziness pile up or one persistent dizziness have it clarified by a doctor in order to find or rule out any underlying diseases.

The herniated disc of the cervical spine as the cause

The whole Spine consists of the vertebral bodies and the intervertebral discs located between the vertebrae.
The cervical spine consists of seven cervical vertebrae. The intervertebral discs stabilize the cervical vertebrae between which they lie, and in the cervical area they primarily have a joint stabilizing function.
An intervertebral disc consists of a solid, outer ring (Fiber ring) and a soft (gelatinous) core (Nucleus pulposus).

At a disc prolapse (Prolapse) the entire disc does not spring out of place.
Rather, the inner, soft core slips, and if the outer, solid fiber ring tears, it can emerge and press on the spinal cord. The herniated disc leads to Cervical spine syndrome typical symptoms and so can Dizzy spells trigger.
A Herniated disc in the cervical spine is relatively rare and mostly occurs in older patients.

With age, the cervical spine becomes less flexible and signs of wear and tear on the vertebrae and ligament structures can cause the ligaments to tear and lend. This leads to instability of the intervertebral discs and encourages the inner part of the intervertebral disc to fall out.
A herniated disc in the cervical spine is initially conservative (without surgery) treated with pain medication and physiotherapy.
If the symptoms do not improve after about 5 weeks, an operation must be considered.

Previous and unnoticed herniated discs in the cervical spine are also dangerous, as they cause the structures to ossify and the spinal canal is narrowed (Spinal stenosis of the cervical spine) and the nerves in it become narrowed. This leads to a chronic cervical spine syndrome, which can only be remedied by surgery.

  • Herniated disc in the cervical spine
  • Symptoms of a herniated disc in the cervical spine
  • Spinal canal stenosis of the cervical spine

Symptoms of cervical spine syndrome with dizziness


People suffering from drowsiness feel foggy and complain Poor concentration. The dizziness is usually more or less pronounced continuously available, he is not dependent on movement or breath. The feeling of drowsiness is often accompanied by a headache. If it is strong, the Impaired ability to work be.

Light-headedness comes from the Area of ​​the back of the head, especially from the short neck muscles. These muscles do a lot of the work that is for that upright posture of the head in space is needed. The smallest changes are immediately passed on to the brain.

Signal receiver, so-called Receptors, in the upper neck area help with Coordination of head and eye movements. From here the Sense of balance significantly influenced. If these muscles are tense, one will develop Misalignment of the uppermost cervical vertebrae. The information which is passed on to the brain by the signal receivers comes into conflict with what comes from the Balance organ in the Inner ear, of the eyes and from the Neck muscles is reported. this leads to Loss of orientation and dizziness.

In addition, the neck tension can cause the so-called Vertebral arterythat through the Transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae, kinked and squashed what the Decrease cerebral blood flow can. This also makes you feel light-headed and dizzy.

a headache

If headaches occur in the context of the cervical spine syndrome, they usually stand in one direct connection with the increased muscle tension. These take in Stressful situations but usually fade away when you relax and when you are resting. Join Tension in the cervical spine area a headache on, is commonly referred to as the cervicocephalic syndrome spoken. It can also cause dizziness and one Feeling of pressure in the head come.


Ringing in the ears is also associated with the cervical spine syndrome. They take Cranial nerve nuclei as "Control center" of Auditory and equilibrium nerves an essential position: on the one hand they are connected to the joints of the upper cervical spine via nerve tracts, on the other hand they are connected by the Muscle tension in the cervical spine influenced. This means that Joint problems or muscle tension in the cervical spine the Promote the development of noises in the ears or amplify existing noises in the ear can.

These cranial nerve nuclei are made up of branches of the Spinal artery with blood provided. The spinal artery, in turn, runs in the cervical area through the bony transverse processes of the vertebrae. As a result, for example Cervical spine wear and tear, a reduced blood flow of the cranial nerve nuclei that are important for hearing can bring about. This can also cause ringing in the ears.

The Ringing in the earsthat are part of acute cervical spine complaints arise are characterized by one-sided, dull noises in the ears With deep notes. Another example is hearing one broken by pauses Noise from mid-high or high notes.
Common accompanying symptoms with cervical spine complaints are:

  • Low frequency hearing loss in one ear
  • increased hearing sensation (Hyperacusis) and
  • Vertigo

At stress tightens the muscles of the cervical spine, what the Tinnituscaused by another cause may intensify. On the other hand you can too chronic noises in the ears with high psychological stress to Tension in the cervical spine and masticatory muscles to lead.

Blurred vision and dizziness

Visual disturbances may sometimes occur in patients with cervical spine syndrome.
Various changes in visual perception are summarized under visual disturbances. These include blurred or blurred vision, perception of flashes of light, flickering, restricted field of view and double images.

These visual disturbances can occur in acute or chronic cervical spine syndrome and are usually the result of insufficient blood supply to the brain. Due to the circulatory disorder, the brain is not adequately supplied with oxygen and can no longer adequately perform its functions (e.g. visual perception).
The circulatory disorder can be caused by a narrowing of an artery in the cervical spine. The resulting visual disturbances can be accompanied by dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), nausea, vomiting and migraine-like headaches. With the treatment of the cervical spine syndrome the visual disturbances improve or disappear again.

Read more on the topic: Cervical spine syndrome and visual impairment

Dizziness and anxiety

fear is a feeling that helps a person to recognize danger and react to it. If the fear is justified, it helps to generate energies in order to act decisively or to take protective measures. There The muscles tense, the heart beats faster and stress hormones are released. Feelings of anxiety are sometimes a symptom of a serious physical illness. Because of this, a Vertigo attack, in which the feeling for the environment and the perception of the room get mixed up, understandably go hand in hand with feelings of fear. Dizziness that accompanies fear, can have various causes.

For example, a diffuse dizziness often referred to as Insecurity on your feet is perceived in the restlessness and nausea occurs and which is hardly influenced by changes in posture, rather describes one Dizziness of fear of psychological origin. However, the reverse can also happen that the dizziness has a physical cause (e.g. cervical spine syndrome) and the perception of acute dizziness leads to fear, because one literally has the feeling "to lose the ground beneath your feet". In these cases the Eliminate the cause, for example the treatment of the cervical spine syndrome to eliminate the dizziness and thus the feelings of fear.

Dizziness and lightheadedness

The symptom "dizziness" can be caused by a cervical spine syndrome. In some cases it comes to one Feeling light-headed, one feels like drunk although one is sober or the world becomes "like through a pane of glass" perceived. Such sensations typically go from the short neck muscles that have a multitude of self-perception receptors. Even the smallest voltage change, for example one Misalignment of these muscles if there is tension caused by a cervical spine syndrome, it is passed on to the brain. Loss of orientation and Dizziness are the result, because the information from the neck muscles conflict with the information sent by the eyes and the balance organ in the inner ear. Dizziness with drowsiness can already by sitting for a long time and working on the monitor, as well as through rapid, jerky head movements to be triggered. Often times in addition to the drowsiness also occur Difficulty concentrating and a headache on. The aim of treating dizziness is to permanently relieve muscle tension in the neck area and to eliminate the cervical spine syndrome.

Dizziness and tinnitus

Vertigo in cervical spine syndrome.

A tinnitus is one abnormal perception of a sound, Noise or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus can recur again and again for short episodes or be perceived permanently. If you have a cervical spine syndrome, a acute blockage of the head joint present, one-sided, dull noises in the ear are often described. But also Noise and the perception of high notes can be caused by problems in the cervical spine. The symptom of tinnitus is sometimes caused by cervical spine syndrome, but there are many different causes of tinnitus. For this reason, the simultaneous occurrence of a tinnitus and a cervical spine syndrome does not necessarily have to be related.

There are many between the joints of the upper cervical spine nervous connections with the auditory and balance nerves. This promotes the development of tinnitus, for example through joint problems or muscle tension in the context of a cervical spine syndrome, or existing noises in the ears can be intensified. The cranial nerve nuclei of the auditory and equilibrium nerves are supplied with blood through branches of the spinal arteries. In the case of a cervical spine syndrome, for example, it can through Signs of wear and tear on the cervical vertebrae to a circulatory disorder and thus to a Reduced blood flow to the cranial nerve nuclei that are important for hearing come. Therefore, ringing in the ears can also occur due to a cervical spine syndrome. Common accompanying symptoms of tinnitus are one increased hearing sensation (Hyperacusis), one Low-frequency hearing loss one ear and Vertigo.

Dizziness with nausea

With a cervical spine syndrome it can lead to a Impairment of the sense of balance come what to Vertigo and nausea can lead. Most of them are in the upper cervical spine Body orientation sensors. If this system is disturbed, for example caused by a cervical spine syndrome, the equilibrium system is no longer able to process the various signals correctly. Along with the eyes and the Organ of equilibrium in the inner ear The sensors in the cervical spine ensure a stable and safe position of the body in space.

Other diseases must also be involved Dizziness with nausea also be considered, too high blood pressure, Eye disorders, throat or ear infections and many other diseases can cause such dizziness symptoms. In some cases, dizziness combined with nausea is also accompanied by a Displacement of the first cervical vertebra (Atlas) caused. To compensate for the misalignment, the muscles in the neck and shoulder area are extremely tense. This will Pressure on nerves and blood vessels triggered, which can disrupt the equilibrium mechanism and the symptom of nausea. If cervical spine syndrome is causing dizziness and nausea, it makes sense to treat the cause. Come for it physiotherapy exercises, Heat therapy and Medication to relieve pain and Muscle relaxation in question. In any case, the cause of the symptoms should be clarified by a doctor, as dizziness and nausea can have numerous causes.

Dizziness with vomiting

Vomiting is a brain-controlled process that does not always have to go hand in hand with stomach problems and intolerance. The vomiting is accompanied by the nausea in the so-called Vomiting center of the brain controlled. This is where vomiting goes in most cases with nausea, dizziness and more rarely migraine headache hand in hand.

There is probably one here too Reduced blood flow the cause caused by tension in the neck and pressure on the supplying arteries. Visual disturbances and hearing problems such as tinnitus can also be triggered in this way. Treating the cervical spine syndrome also reduces nausea and vomiting. Until then, individual medications can relieve the nausea and other symptoms.

Dizziness with racing heart

A Racing heart is a form of arrhythmia that occurs with one significantly increased heartbeat goes hand in hand. Those affected are increasingly noticing one in themselves inner restlessness and excitementthat increased by a Release of stress hormones is to be explained. In the neck area and in places where the cervical spine syndrome occurs, there are, among other things, important switching points of the autonomic nervous system. If these are influenced, for example by pressure, the adrenal gland reacts with hormones such as adrenalinewhich, in addition to various effects on internal organs, also accelerate the heartbeat. A subjective palpitation can often be felt, which is known as "palpitation".

On the other hand, the racing heart and the inner excitement can also psychologically caused become. With long-standing cervical spine syndrome and dizziness, the pain and physical exertion and coping with stress can affect the person concerned psychologically in such a way that palpitations, fear, panic and other stress symptoms are favored.

Dizziness with fainting

A faint is caused by one short-term insufficient supply of certain areas of the brain with oxygen. This can occur in particular low blood pressure or the Blockage of supplying arteries of the neck and head. Due to the force of gravity, blood has to be constantly pumped from the heart into the head with sufficient pressure. Stand upright, straighten up quickly, low blood pressure, Anemia and other factors can make you faint. Still, it should in any case be clarified by a doctor, as there can also be more dangerous causes behind it. In the case of blockages in the cervical spine and muscle tension in the cervical muscles, the supplying blood vessels in the neck can cause fainting under pressure.

Dizziness with shortness of breath

Difficulty breathing in a cervical spine syndrome is a rare complication. The cause is Muscle tension the muscles of the neck that extend to the upper rib cage. There are in the throat Muscle groupsthat at upper ribs start and as so-called "Auxiliary respiratory muscles" if breathing is difficult, raise the chest as well. Also between the ribs are diagonal strands of muscle that can enlarge and lift the rib cage to aid breathing. In the event of severe cramps and tension, these auxiliary muscles fail. For a sufficient supply of oxygen, simple breathing with the help of the diaphragm is sufficient, but the person affected subjectively suffers from shortness of breath.

Care should be taken not to prescribe pain medication, such as morphine, to patients with these symptoms, as these also suppress breathing.

Dizziness when lying down

In the vast majority of cases, dizziness can be remedied by lying down or lifting the legs and feet. If this is not the case, other structures can trigger the dizziness. The cervical spine syndrome can also be responsible for dizziness when lying down. Dizziness is often triggered by anemia, low blood pressure or the like. Lying down reduces the pressure that must be applied to supply blood to the head. If the dizziness persists while lying down, a Reduced blood flow due to pressure and blockages in the throat be causative. A cervical spine syndrome is typical. On the other hand, there can also be a problem with the inner ear due to the poor blood supply. In addition to hearing impairment, it can cause dizziness in the ear. That is where the organ of equilibrium is located.

Vertebrae blockage dizziness

A Blockage in the cervical spine can be caused by several things.
These include poor posture, drafts and any overloading of the cervical spine. Bad posture can often be observed in the workplace - especially when working on a PC.

Usually the muscles in the cervical spine area become tense. The tense muscles are now pulling on the vertebrae and can be triggered by a trigger such as change the position of the vertebrae with a sudden movement.
If the vertebrae remain in this displaced position, a so-called blockage occurs and the cervical spine is no longer able to perform its function.
Movements are usually restricted or too painful to perform. In addition to pain and restricted mobility, dizziness, Numbness, tinnitus and Visual disturbances occur. Here, too, the cause is that shifted or restricted cervical vertebrae press on nerves and blood vessels, which then leads to the symptoms mentioned.

Chiropractic treatment releases the blockage (Please refer: Relax your neck). Pain is treated with medication and physiotherapy exercises help to strengthen the muscles and cervical spine, so that a new blockage is prevented. Heat therapy, massages and acupuncture can also help to release blockages and make the dizziness go away.

Therapy for cervical spine syndrome with dizziness

After a Whiplash trauma or another cause of an accident, the dizziness develops in most cases when the pain and muscular tension in the cervical spine good back. In addition to the common Pain medicationthat inhibit inflammation and relax the muscles Measures in the form of physiotherapy applied.

A unilateral burden and Bad posture in the area of ​​the cervical spine Avoid during professional and leisure activities. Also can regular exercise prevent the disease. Within The symptoms recede in a few weeks.

The cause of the tinnitus lies in one Dysfunction of the cervical spineso is a long term Therapy through physiotherapy important to prevent the discomfort from becoming chronic become.

Pain medication and injecting Local anesthetics (Narcotics) relieve the pain and make a Release the blockages possible. Conservative methods like Refrigeration applications as well as long-term, targeted physiotherapy help Posture correction.

Homeopathic treatment

The homeopathy tries to solve the problems of a cervical spine syndrome and vertigo by the Self-healing powers of the body be stimulated. A prescription of homeopathic remedies must be carried out taking into account various aspects. The accompanying circumstances, potential cause of the cervical spine syndrome, symptoms and other factors must be taken into account when planning the targeted therapy. The right remedy must be selected based on the symptoms in particular. The most common symptom is the stiff neck. Common remedies for these ailments are Ledum, Cimicifuga, Nux vomica, Bryonia and Arnica.

As a rule, the tension in the neck should be released within a few days.If the symptoms and stiffness persist, a more serious cause must be ruled out by a doctor. A doctor should be consulted who will initiate therapy, especially if there are uncomfortable fits, vomiting, severe dizziness and cardiac arrhythmias.

Role of the first cervical vertebra (atlas) in a cervical spine syndrome with vertigo

The atlas is the first cervical vertebra.
It is the vertebra closest to the skull and is involved in the formation of two joints:
Atlanto-occipital joint (Joint between the atlas and occiput) and atlantoaxial joint (Joint between the atlas and the second cervical vertebra, the axis).
These joints allow nodding and head shaking and are therefore very important for the mobility of the head.
The atlas also bears the weight of the skull and is therefore important for the even distribution of weight across the spine. Is the atlas due to tension (often triggered by poor posture) or accidents (whiplash), it can lead to an upper cervical spine syndrome.
The patients often describe pulling pains that radiate into the head. Due to the restricted mobility of the atlas, it can press on nerve roots and surrounding vessels and thus trigger feelings of dizziness.
In the upper cervical spine syndrome, dizziness usually occurs as a result of jerky head movements or in stressful situations. Blockages caused by bad posture can be skilfully resolved by a doctor, chiropractor or osteopath.
After the treatment, there is usually an immediate improvement in dizziness and other cervical spine symptoms such as headaches.

Read more under our topic: Atlas


An acute attack of vertigo in cervical spine syndrome can last minutes to hours.
Since there is usually a certain misalignment of the cervical vertebrae, they do not move properly when the head is moved and thus press on the surrounding nerve roots or blood vessels.
Dizziness caused by acute cervical spine syndrome can be treated with treatment of the cause (release blockages or tension) disappear within a few days.

A chronic cervical spine syndrome is often incurable and the symptoms can only be reduced by drug and physical therapy. Thus the patient suffering from chronic cervical spine syndrome will suffer from dizziness from time to time.
In order to avoid attacks of dizziness, the patient should avoid stressful situations, as stress usually leads to further tension in the muscles. Abrupt head, neck and shoulder movements also lead to vertigo.

Read more on the topic: Duration of a cervical spine syndrome