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Dizziness, impaired balance and sudden fainting spells

Schwindel Gleichgewichtstörungen

The upper spinal column is where most of the proprioceptors, which control body orientation and thus balance, are located. In combination with the eyes and the balance organs they allow the body to maintain a stable, safe position in the surrounding space.

If this balance is impaired, the patient's perception of the motion or the surrounding environment becomes inadequate.

The mechanism responsible for balance is extremely dynamic, and in fact several stimuli and pieces of information are gathered and processed at once, in order to generate the appropriate impulses and send them to the muscles to keep the body balanced. These impulses then combine with those which control voluntary movements.

Stability and the related sense of balance are the result of a precise balancing of forces. If these forces do not work together in a synchronized and coordinated way compensatory problems arise, resulting in loss of balance, dizziness and in extreme cases total lack of spatial orientation and fainting. Why does this happen?

The complex mechanism that controls balance is yet to be fully understood, as it entails a highly dynamic correlation between many signals. If for any reason these signals do not reach their destination in a synchronized, coordinated manner for processing, the "brain" is unable to provide the entire musculature with the correct neurological response and thus to keep the body in balance.
GPS System
To give an easy-to-understand example, the body's balance system can be compared to the familiar GPS navigator: the position of the GPS navigation system on Earth is determined by the calculation of the separation distances of at least three satellites. When the device receives signals from several GPS satellites at the same time, the route is calculated and shown precisely. But it's different when the signal of several satellites is lost. Navigation becomes uncertain, until the connection to all the satellites is lost and the GPS navigator doesn't know where it is anymore! In the body this situation is tantamount to fainting.

 

Medical explanations for dizziness and impaired balance

Drehschwindel Gleichgewichtstörungen

If a patient complains of dizziness, doctors undertake a number of examinations. First of all they measure the blood pressure; if this is okay, the patient is sent to an ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) specialist, who examines them for ear or throat infections – the balance organ is in fact associated with the inner ear, and so an infection in this area can have negative effects on balance.

Examinations are also carried out to distinguish between dizziness with a central or peripheral cause, e.g. rotary vertigo, vestibular vertigo or vertebrogenic vertigo (originating in the spine).

Quite often impaired balance may be due to a shift in the so called "otoliths". These are tiny "pebbles" in our hearing system which can be repositioned by appropriate maneuvers.

If the examination does not yield a conclusive diagnosis, the patient is referred to an ophthalmologist for further investigation, as the eye plays a very important role in balance. If this examination is also inconclusive, a magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) is normally carried out, to rule out the existence of brain tumors or other alterations in the brain.

If these tests are also negative, then from the doctor's point of view the patient is regarded as structurally sound and medications are prescribed, which occasionally bring about an improvement, but in most cases leave things as they were: the patient will have to learn to live with the dizziness.

For some people, the complaints are so severe that with time, in addition to dizziness and loss of balance, they become emotionally unstable. This can cause them to withdraw from society. Often, they even have to give up work, especially when their job requires balance.

Why would someone with no obvious organic causes suffer from dizziness or loss of balance?

In these cases the blame is often placed on psychological reasons, although they rarely have anything to do with it! So where do the dizziness, the loss of balance or the feeling of "walking on cotton wool" come from?

 

An alternative explanation for dizziness and impaired balance

Schwindel GleichgewichtstörungenAs already explained, the functioning of the balance system is highly dynamic and complex, and a very large amount of information must be processed simultaneously. If the necessary signals and information reach the "brain" either too late or not at all, then – just as in a pocket calculator – processes are regarded as false because the factors needed for calculation are either missing or wrong.

N.B.: The calculator isn't faulty. It is the factors/digits entered in the calculation that are either insufficient or simply wrong. The calculator cannot know this!

The Atlas – like the jaw, in part – plays a key role when it deviates from its ideal position in the development of balance disturbances, when the dizziness is not pathogenic in origin.

The Atlas is in fact anatomically positioned very close to the balance organ, as are the condyles of the lower jaw. As already explained elsewhere on this website, misalignment of the Atlas displacement can place pressure on various nerves and blood vessels which pass through the area surrounding the first vertebra. In addition to vascular compression, people suffering from dizziness or a sense of imbalance are usually found to suffer from an extreme contraction of the neck and shoulder muscles.

These muscle contractions are often the direct consequence of misalignment of the Atlas, but may also be triggered by a state of emotional anxiety and above all by stress.

So what actually happens with the 80% of the balance sensors (proprioceptors) that are located precisely in this contracted area?

In some cases the dizziness vanishes immediately after the correction of the first cervical vertebra, thanks also to the careful massage of the surrounding muscles during the ATLANTOtec® treatment. In other cases the dizziness disappears or improves over time, once the body has made the necessary adjustments during the regeneration phase.

A few patients diagnosed with "Ménière's disease" have found after the ATLANTOtec® treatment that their complaints were not caused by such a rare disease but simply by imbalance, caused by a misaligned Atlas. For several patients the imbalance promptly disappears after treatment!

If there are no organic causes for dizziness or loss of balance, realignment of the Atlas is potentially the most effective treatment for curing complaints of this kind for good, as well as for unsteady gait and the feeling of "walking on cotton wool."

Experience also shows how in people who for no apparent reason suffered from dizziness and fainting fits, especially after tilting their head back, after the ATLANTOtec® Atlas adjustment these complaints ceased.

This result can presumably be attributed to the vertebral artery being released from abnormal compression by the Atlas-ring during the backward movement of the neck.

 

 

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