Dec 24, 2008
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.
Without the ability to examine you and obtain a history, I can not tell you what your symptoms are from. However, I will try to provide you with some possibilities
As you know, dizziness can have many causes. Vertigo, or "room-spinning dizziness" can be caused by several different types of inner ear problems and less commonly from central nervous system diseases. Cervical disease disease (such as a herniated disc in the cervical (neck) region or arthritis of the spine) can cause vertigo, though this is not common More often, the dizziness is not room-spinning per se but rather a whooziness or sort of light-headed dizziness. I will refer to this as cervicogenic dizziness. This notion of cervicogenic dizziness is not accepted by all medical practitioners, it is controversial, as it is not well researched, difficult to diagnose, and difficult to conduct research on. However, it may be diagnosed in someone with neck pathology and dizziness in which no other cause is found. Therefore, it is a diagnosis of exclusion, after inner-ear and brain problems are excluded.
Patients with dizziness due to neck pathology (cervicogenic dizziness) often complain of dizziness that is worse with particular head movements and when the head is maintained in one specific posture for prolonged periods. Neck pain and a headache in the occipital region (the back of the head above the neck) may be associated with the dizziness. The dizziness may last minutes to hours after assuming certain head positions.
You mentioned concern regarding permanent damage from your disc. I really can not comment definitively on this, but in general dizziness due to a cervical herniated disc does not necessarily imply risk of impending permanent damage. As you may know, there are specific indications for herniated discs, and not everyone with a herniated disc requires surgery. The usual treatment is antiinflammatories and physical therapy. For people with dizziness, a specific type of physical therapy that must be done by certified therapists can help retrain your vestibular system. indications for surgery are severe and protracted pain, sensory or motor loss due to the disc, or pressure on the spinal cord. Indications for surgery are best assessed by a neurologist with an MRI of the spine and with a test called an EMG/NCS and by a spine surgeon.
If you have not yet been evaluated by an ENT and neurologist for your dizziness, I recommend you do so. If all other causes are ruled out and you are diagnosed with cervicogenic dizziness, vestibular rehabilitation by a certified physical therapist may be helpful to you; continued follow-up with your physicians is recommended.
Thank you for using the forum I hope you find this information useful good luck.