The Surprising Source Of Your Dizziness

Reading Time: 5 minutes Feeling a little spun around lately? General bouts of dizziness happen to millions of Americans yearly. These dizzy spells can be the result of a wide range of issues. These include ear issues, low blood pressure, vitamin deficiencies, and even stress. Surprisingly, some research points to spinal cord issues as a cause, with spinal stenosis as the main culprit.

Understanding spinal stenosis

The spine consists of a series of stacked bones called vertebrae. Flexible discs separate each vertebra. The spinal cord runs through these bones, distributing nerves throughout the body. There is space between the bone and spinal cord, but that space can become narrower over time. As a result, the bones press on surrounding nerves, causing several side effects. This condition is called spinal stenosis and over 250,000 Americans suffer from the disease yearly.

What causes spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is common in people diagnosed with osteoarthritis. When the spine is worn down by constant wear and tear, this can cause symptoms of numbness, tingling, and pain. There are two types of spinal stenosis: the lower vertebrae, called lumbar stenosis and the upper neck area, called cervical stenosis. While lumbar stenosis typically causes the most pain, cervical stenosis is often the source of dizziness. Pinched nerves can cause headaches and a loss of balance. As the bones degrade, dizzy spells become more and more frequent.

What the research says

Assessment of spinal stenosis shows stenosis in both the lower and upper spine causes balance and sensory issues. Further research compared patients at varying ages who had complaints of dizziness. Over 80% had some degree of cervical spinal degeneration, especially between ages 60-70. Millions of back and neck pain sufferers should keep a keen eye out for dizzy spells. There is a clear link between the two symptoms that could point to an underlying spine condition.

Overcoming your symptoms

Arthritis is the leading cause of spinal stenosis. This means getting the right treatment for bone health can help remedy symptoms. Physical therapy and pain-relieving medicine are common forms of treatment. Lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise can keep dizzy spells at bay. In severe cases, where dizziness impacts daily function, doctors may turn to surgery. This may mean a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) or a more advanced laminoplasty.

Don’t get dizzy over treatment options

Dizzy spells could impact everyday life and can even become dangerous. Above all, don’t brush the signs off as stress. The source could be spinal stenosis. Seek immediate help from an orthopedist or other physician specializing in spine conditions. A qualified healthcare provider can assess the spine and provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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Dwight Tyndall, MD, FAAOS

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