Scalene Subluxation: Spinning Out of Control

The morning after Thanksgiving 2015, I found myself on the floor of my parent’s guest bedroom.  How in the world did I end up on the floor, when just moments ago I was sitting up in the guest bed?

I felt as if I had a hangover — but I didn’t drink the night before.  Nothing felt right.  I was struck with vertigo.

Vertigo can typically be activated in two ways: build-up of crystals in the inner ear canal and muscle tension pulling on inner cranial bones, vertebrates and meninges.  Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) most commonly talked about, in which there is a mild to intense spinning sensation of vertigo.  Usually, loose crystals called otoconia get lodged in your ear canal, which can mess up your world by creating feelings of dizziness.

Vertigo sufferers can have more symptoms than just spinning — including short term memory loss, observable personality changes, and short term emotional disturbances.  Temporal disequilibrium is often caused by the pulling of the scalene muscles.

In my case, the neck muscles were tight and pulled on the surrounding bones — the vertebrae, intracranial bones (the skull), and the meninges (the three membranes that cover the brain: the dura mater, arachnoid, and pia mater).

Different causes typically receive different treatments.  Let’s start with the inexpensive methods.

#1. Hanging Maneuvers

Deep Head Hanging Maneuver (DHHM) can be used for BPPV and is believed to work.  While hanging your head off a bed or couch, a positive response for BPPV will be automatic movement of the eye’s in a vertical motion (up, down).  You hang your head for 30-60 seconds to dislodge the crystal(s).  Simple.

The catch is that it is better to practice this technique under the careful observation of a trusted physician who is fluent in the technique.


Half Somersault Maneuver (Foster Maneuver) by Carol Foster MD


But occasionally, exercises aren’t enough.

#2. Chiropractic Care*

Axis C1 vertebrae that has been pulled (subluxation) on by surrounding muscles (out-of-place) is indicative of vertigo troubles.  Some patients complain of dizziness, nausea, vomiting and sweating.  The chiropractor usually has some techniques and exercises for the sufferer to try.

Exercises like the Brandt-Daroff technique have the person sit on the edge of a bed and flop first to one side, back upright, then to the other side at one-minute intervals. Tai chi exercise may also help as slow, controlled movements provide a safe way to focus on your body movements and balance.

If you’re a student on a tight budget, an option in the Littleton area might be The Joint*.  Enter your email for a one-time discount for chiropractic for $29 (which includes consultation, exam and adjustment).  For single visits it’s $39 per visit after (wellness plans and packages are offered as well).

#3. Craniosacral Therapists*

Often motor vehicle accidents are to blame for the forced movement of the bones through a person’s body, spine, skull, resulting in whiplash. While car accidents aren’t always to blame, any injury can create havoc in the body.

Craniosacral therapists use nickel weighted pressure to encourage self adjusting movement. It’s non-invasive, and unlike massage, you can wear comfortable clothes for the treatment.


#4. Medical Professional

When in doubt always consult your healthcare professional.  There is medication out there, such as Antivert, that is used to treat vertigo.

My personal physician said that the Antivert medication may make me feel worse.  Wow, were they correct.  In my opinion, it messed my world up more than it helped. The FDA listed common side effects may include: headache, vomiting, dry mouth, tired feeling or drowsiness.

But everybody is different, so keep your mind open for different treatments.  May your world stay even.

©Katie Yavuz, 2017


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