Can Neck Pain Cause Dizziness?
September 10, 2022

Can neck pain cause dizziness? Well, there is a term called Vertigo which refers to a feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness. Cervical vertigo is a type of vertigo that results from certain neck postures or movements. Some experts use the term “cervicogenic vertigo” to more accurately describe the condition. Other names include proprioceptive vertigo, cervicogenic vertigo, and cervical vertigo.

Although the effects of gravity or head orientation affect vertigo, cervical vertigo is unrelated to head orientation. There are several different causes of cervical vertigo, such as neck trauma or poor posture. Treatment includes addressing any underlying muscle or medical problems, and there are also ways to prevent some forms of cervical vertigo. This article looks at the causes, treatment, and diagnosis of cervical vertigo, and discusses when a person should see a doctor.

Possible Causes Of Neck-Related Vertigo

When neck pain and dizziness occur together, it may be related to the compression of a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain. Some related medical conditions include spinal degeneration or neck instability, which can put pressure on the vertebral artery. However, covid and neck pain also have a lot in common.

Some potential causes of vertigo that stems from a problem in the neck also called cervicogenic vertigo, include:

  • Whiplash

This injury involves the neck being quickly snapped back and forth, such as in a rear-end car accident or other collision. Neck pain management is the most common symptom of whiplash, but dizziness and other symptoms can also occur. It is speculated that in some cases, injury to the joints and/or muscles in the neck may alter proprioceptors and contribute to vertigo.

  • Cervical Spondylosis

Degeneration of the spine in the neck, also called cervical spondylosis, can result from cervical osteoarthritis, cervical degenerative disc disease, and other wear and tear on the spine over time. When the intervertebral disc and joints break down, nerve roots and blood vessels can be compressed, which in rare cases can contribute to dizziness. If this condition affects the upper neck, it can cause a headache that affects the back of the head and/or behind the eyes or the front/sides of the head.

  • Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency (Vbi)

A VBI can occur when one or more of the major arteries leading to the brain becoming compressed or are unable to supply enough blood, which could lead to dizziness.

  • Bowhunter Syndrome

In rare cases, turning the head to one side can compress the vertebral artery, causing temporary dizziness in some people. Vertebral artery compression in bowhunter syndrome is most likely to occur between C1 and C2, for example, due to misalignment between these vertebrae or other abnormalities at this level of the spine.

  • Cervical Myofascial Pain Syndrome (CMPS)

This rare condition involves painful trigger points in the neck muscles and fascia (connective tissue). The cause of CMPS is unknown, but it is estimated that about 35% of people with the condition also have some form of vertigo associated with it.4 The condition can often be treated with physical therapy, medication, or local trigger point injections.

Other causes of cervicogenic vertigo may also be possible. However, there is currently no diagnostic test available to prove that a throat problem can directly cause vertigo. Cervicogenic vertigo is a diagnosis of exclusion, and the medical community is currently divided as to whether it exists.

Other Causes Of Dizziness

In some cases, neck pain and dizziness can occur independently of each other or do not originate in the neck.

  • Stress and anxiety: Some less common symptoms of anxiety include pain or discomfort in the throat and dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): This condition is the most common form of vertigo, which is a false sensation of spinning. BPPV occurs when calcium carbonate crystals disrupt the fluid in the inner ear and send inaccurate positional signals to the brain. BPPV is usually not severe and resolves fairly quickly.
  • Meniere’s disease: This inner ear disorder has no known cause and can include a variety of symptoms that come and go, such as dizziness, distorted hearing, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or a feeling of pressure inside the ear.

List Some Symptoms:

Cervical vertigo is associated with dizziness from sudden movement of the neck, specifically from turning the head. Other symptoms of this condition include:

  1. headache
  2. nausea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Crick in neck
  5. ear pain or ringing
  6. sore throat
  7. loss of balance when walking, sitting or standing
  8. Weakness
  9. Ear infection, neck pain.
  10. concentration problems

Dizziness from cervical vertigo can last for minutes or hours. If the neck pain decreases, the dizziness may also begin to subside. Symptoms may worsen after exercise, rapid movement, and sometimes sneezing.

How Is Cervical Vertigo Diagnosed?

Cervical vertigo can be difficult to diagnose. Doctors will need to rule out other potential causes of cervical vertigo with similar symptoms, including:

  • Benign positional vertigo
  • Central vertigo can be caused by stroke, tumors, or multiple sclerosis
  • Psychogenic vertigo
  • Diseases of the inner ear such as vestibular neuronitis

Once other causes and conditions have been ruled out, doctors will perform a physical examination that requires turning the head. If there is sporadic eye movement (nystagmus) based on head position, you may have cervical vertigo.

Other tests to confirm this diagnosis may include:

  • MRI scan of the neck
  • magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
  • vertebral doppler ultrasound
  • vertebral angiography
  • flexion-extension X-ray of the cervical spine

How Do You Fix Cervical Vertigo?

Treatment for cervical vertigo involves addressing the underlying condition. Be sure to follow your healthcare provider’s specific instructions. In addition, they may recommend physical therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, medication, or a combination of treatments.

  • Physical Therapy

Physical therapy exercises can help improve your balance and coordination, as well as your neck’s range of motion. A physical therapist can train you in proper posture and teach you stretching exercises to reduce your symptoms. In some cases, your healthcare provider may refer you to a chiropractic specialist for neck and spine adjustments.

It is important to remember that physical therapy can improve many symptoms of cervical vertigo, but it cannot eliminate dizziness. For this reason, your healthcare provider may also recommend vestibular rehabilitation.

  • Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation involves a series of exercises designed to improve your balance and reduce dizziness. These cervical vertigo exercises are tailored to your needs and may include training in:

  1. Eye movements.
  2. Neck movements.
  3. Balance.
  4. Walk.

Your healthcare provider can teach you how to perform these cervical vertigo treatments at home.

  • Medication

Medications may also be part of your cervical vertigo treatment plan. These medications may include:

  1. Muscle relaxants to reduce neck tension.
  2. Pain medication to relieve discomfort.
  3. Medicines to reduce dizziness.


Cervical vertigo is a treatable condition. Without proper medical management, your symptoms could worsen. So in the questions like, Can neck pain cause dizziness; Self-diagnosis is not recommended, as this condition can mimic a more serious illness. If you start experiencing dizziness, neck pain, and other related symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

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