Upper cervical, vertigo axial joint

by Brenda
(Dorset, UK )

I've had a weakness at left axial joint for many years. It caused nausea and various symptoms. I was told if the other side went I would be in trouble.

The past 3 years have been difficult. I bent down, reached forward under the sofa, head tucked. When I got up my head was stuck forward. It happened after dental treatment when I had a small hard cushion under my neck press into the occiput.

Recently, if I tilt my head forward and to the right I had horrid sensations in my body. I have to sit very still, shoulders down and wait for it to pass. I have been like this for a few weeks. I have woken with two disabling bouts of vertigo. I got better but felt dizzy each time I tilted my head. The first time I had double vision.

Yesterday my gp came out and he wanted to do the mover the bed test. But because I get a cold feeling in the left of my head when I am dizzy and pain under my ear on the right and a long history of this he didn't do it.
A moment ago I had my head down to take a message and I felt poorly and spinning and had very cold feelings in left side of head. Nausea and giddy. I think I temporarily nipped the carotid artery.

I get head twitches too. I am so petrified that I am going to cause a stroke. I don't know how to help myself. This recent episode started while I was having physio. It is as though I am set back 15 years. I am 69. Active, or would be if this would stop.

It is isolating and scary.
Thank you

Hello Brenda,
Vertigo is indeed one of the most awful of conditions, but the good news is that if you have BPPV then it's very treatable.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is a condition of the inner ear canal where the movement of fluid is impeded by crystals of calcium that have become displaced. What you describe sounds very like BPPV.

Do you have an observant husband, daughter or friend who would do a little test? It comes in two parts, and I suggest that he or she practises first on a guinea pig. What we are looking for is darting, or circular movements of the eyes that last usually only for a few seconds.

We'll only do the one part today. Lay various pillows on a bed, so the victim, you, can lie flat, but with your neck extended. Do it gently, because if there are degenerative changes in the neck, it can make your neck sore.

So you lie on your back, shoulders at the level of the last pillow, and the examiner cradles your head. Eyes wide open so that he can observe them.

Then he lowers your head into extension and then turns the head slowly to one side, hold it there for 30 seconds, carefully observing the eyes. Do they begin to dart about or spin, and do you start to feel dizzy? Then turn to the other side and repeat.

The darting of the eyes is called nystagmus, and may only last a few seconds so the examiner has to watch carefully. The test you have just done is called the Hallpark Dix test.

You are obviously familiar with he net, so you can see videos of nystagmus and more about the Hallpark Dix test and BPPV. I hope the test is positive, though you may feel awful, because then you can be helped, and fairly simply.

Let me know, keeping to this thread.

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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