Many people experience dizziness and loss of balance at some time of their lives. Cervicogenic dizziness is one specific type of dizziness due to dysfunction in the neck joints at the base of the skull.
The symptoms may include poor balance and unsteadiness. Because the neck joints are involved, associated symptoms may include neck stiffness and headache. Onset of symptoms may follow a traumatic injury eg: whiplash , or may simply be due to wear and tear ie: degeneration.
This type of dizziness is different to vertigo, due to disturbance of the inner ear, which is characterised by a spinning sensation.
A clinical trial conducted at the University of Newcastle showed that specific manual therapy techniques directed to the upper neck joints had an immediate and sustained effect in reducing dizziness due to neck dysfunction (Reid et al 2008)
Treatment involves gentle mobilisation to the upper neck as well as some self mobilising exercises. In most cases there is an immediate improvement with only one or two follow up sessions required.
Reid S.A., Rivett D.A., Katekar M.G., Callister R. (2008) Sustained natural apophyseal glides (SNAGs) are an effective treatment for cervicogenic dizziness. Manual Therapy, 13:357-366