Dizziness is a non-specific symptom that is commonly experienced as faintness, unsteadiness, perception of spinning and disorientation. Cervicogenic dizziness is most commonly seen in whiplash patients, affecting 20-58% of individuals with flexion-extension injuries an even after motor vehicle accidents (MVA). In my experience some patients are able to identify the symptoms of imbalance right away and in some instances need to be probed as it could be masked with side effects of pain medications or muscle relaxants after an injury.
Other terms used for the same disorder are proprioceptive vertigo, cervicogenic vertigo and cervical dizziness.
The deep intervertebral muscles in the cervical spine possess a high density of muscle spindles and are assumed to play an important role in postural control.
In simple terms the neck muscles are also responsible for holding the head upright in space along with other systems and when it is strained, can no longer contribute efficiently leading to postural imbalance .
One modality that is advocated for cervical pain and dizziness is sensorimotor rehabilitation exercises. These exercises fall under the scope of exercises included in vestibular rehabilitation therapy. These exercises are usually movement based, and can be further sub categorised according to different physiological rationales.
Another modality that can be used to is dry needling. There are many researches recently explaining the benefit of IMS/ Dry needling along with vestibular exercises for correcting cervical dizziness and pain .
Clinical reasoning: Stability and posture of the cervical spine is achieved by a combination of reflexes mediated by vestibular, visual and cervical sensory input The cerebellum/brain plays an important role in integrating this sensory information.
How can you be tested for cervicogenic dizziness?
Book an appointment with one of our MJ Physiotherapist. During your assessment your physiotherapist will ask you questions regarding your symptoms and also ask you to perform neck movements and other physical test.
The diagnosis of cervicogenic dizziness is dependent upon correlating symptoms of imbalance and dizziness with neck pain and excluding other vestibular disorders based on history, examination, and vestibular function tests. When CERVICOGENIC DIZZINESS: diagnosed correctly, cervicogenic dizziness can be successfully treated using a combination of manual therapy, IMS/ dry needling and vestibular rehabilitation exercises.
At MJ Physio ( Bear Creek Plaza ,Surrey and Fraser Street Physiotherapy, Vancouver )we have Physiotherapist experienced in vestibular Rehabilitation and IMS/ Dry Needling.
If you have any questions you can email us at
Krishna Jeeja. J
Registered Physiotherapist &CEO
MJ Physio Clinics M.Sc (Psychology),
M.P.T ( Sports Physio )
Additional training in Acupuncture,
Vestibular Rehabilitation and Concussion.