Flagler County Health Issues Interview

Dr. Sean Gimbert had the opportunity to sit down with WNZF radio of Palm Coast and share his take on current health issues, chiropractic advancements, and his background.  Listen and learn more about your community and how to stay healthy.

 

 

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534

Attention Deficit Disorder and the Limbic System

Millions and millions of children are being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (abbreviated ADD) and ADHD every year. The numbers are steadily increasing every year with no signs of slowing down. Something clearly is changing in our children, but what? If attention deficit disorder is suspected in a child, or even an adult, there are potential problems to rule out. It is imperative to finding the best treatment option for these children.

 

Ruling out potential problems

 

A common first line defense for attention deficit disorder and ADHD is prescription drugs. But before jumping into dulling the senses and decreasing stimulation through pharmaceuticals, we must consider if the problem is better corrected through natural means. Our children and families, after all, should not be burdened with a lifetime of drug therapy if it can be avoided. We must look to brain function for guidance. But how?

First, an impaired functioning nervous system MUST be identified and corrected or all other treatments will be limited or useless. Yes, prescription medication has their time and place, but often results in simply patching a problem instead of CORRECTING the underlying cause. There are specific centers in the brain that, if not functioning properly, can result in certain behavioral problems.

“The choice is whether to patch the fault or find a complete solution.”

The higher cognitive functions like information processing and memory formation is essential to the young child. The limbic system of the brain is responsible for successful integration of our 10 bodily senses and making sense of the world around us. In additional to the 5 senses we commonly think of, the brain also senses changes in temperature, pressure, chemical or hormone levels, and proprioception (sense of posture and body position).

Our bodies have an internal system called the Automatic Operating System (aOS for short) that can be compared to a computer or cell phone’s operating system (think Apple’s iOS). Our aOS is responsible for ensuring smooth “background performance” of the body by coordinating things like attention, sleep, digestion, breathing, and heart rate. These things are very important for pediatric health. The aOS works without conscious effort, taking in information from our ten sensations and transmitting the nerve information to the brain.

While a computer’s iOS may need to be updated with new advances to prevent sluggish performance, our bodies’ aOS is a little different. In order to have OPTIMAL function throughout the body, brain and nerve health must be maintained. Attention deficit disorder and ADHD are just one “symptom” that can arise from a fault in our aOS. The choice is whether to patch the fault or find a complete solution.

 

ADD-ADHD-optimizing-limbic-system

 

A key area that influences the performance of the aOS is the limbic system. What is the limbic system, you ask? It is a collection of brain centers (the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus) that influence arousal, motivation and learning. It helps us respond to emotional stimuli and is involved in reinforcing behavior. The limbic system of the brain is responsible for successful integration of our 10 bodily senses and making sense of the world around us.

In additional to the 5 senses we commonly think of, the brain also senses changes in temperature, pressure, chemical or hormone levels, posture and body position, as well as sensing pain. Seems pretty important, right? Well, if the limbic system becomes overwhelmed with abnormal or excessive information from the body, then problems can develop.

 

“A child with attention deficit disorder or ADHD may have a faulty response to minor stimulus, creating an effect that is only appropriate for times of more serious stress.“

 

The amygdala, a part of the limbic system, is our “emotional brain” and is responsible for handling stress within the body. The amygdala is a very helpful portion of our brain that helps decide what to do with the thousands of senses the brain receives every minute. Responses to this information can either be healthy or unhealthy.

A healthy response to sensation means that the body addresses important problems by creating a temporary adaptation. A good example is this kind of response is the body redirecting heat to the organs of the body when someone is experiencing hypothermia. When the person’s body temperature increases, the body allows heat to return to their toes and fingers. This kind of adaptation is a healthy response in times of stress.

On the other hand, it would be inappropriate if the person simply takes a cold shower but the body interprets this as hypothermia and prevents heat from reaching their arms and legs, resulting in shock. The body overreacted because the brain interpreted the message wrong.

An overreaction in a child, whether it is a behavioral outburst or inability to focus in school, may be from a similar response in the brain’s limbic system. This can happen in the brain if the limbic system is taxed.

This excess activation of the amygdala and hippocampus causes a stress response in the body. Our bodies are very resourceful in dealing with stress, but if these brain centers become overtaxed, this may result in a host of problems.  Possibilities include sensitivity to pain, adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, high blood pressure, and mental fog in the adult. In a child it could result in behaviors that include a withdraw from social activity, acting out towards parents and teachers, inability to complete tasks, and lack of motivation.

We are able to safely and painlessly assess if a child may have decreased cognitive resiliency due to excess stress to a brain center. We find that a child’s behavioral problem most often result from a problem in the craniocervical junction of the spine or from the brain directly. These problems can then be corrected through either structural chiropractic adjustments or brain therapy. Our doctors are able to assess if a brain center is not making appropriate connections with other parts of the brain, and perform neurologic integration therapy that naturally improves the child’s function. The beauty of this approach is that we are not treating symptoms, but looking at overall function of the brain. When function is improved, we find that many of these problems have promising outlooks.

One pediatric patient with attention deficit disorder had a dramatic improvement in only 2 months of care. The boy said,

“I am now able to focus better in school and am making better grades. I don’t get distracted as much, plus my body feels a lot better too.”

His mother states that he is also making more eye contact and his teacher even noticed he was paying more attention in class. This is just one example of what is possible with an optimal functioning nervous system!

 

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534

 

Click here for more info on neurologic integration

Sickness From Nervous System Toxins

As a specialist in nervous system and nerve health, my job sometimes requires to think outside the box for difficult cases that come to the office. Patients who respond slowly to an initial phase of care may have external toxic stressors that must be addressed to allow the nervous system to fully recover. Nervous system toxins could be caused by things patient eats, drinks, inhales, wears, or rubs on their skin. A common nervous system depressant may be lurking in their homes, believe it or not.

Cleaning products are meant to help us live with less bacteria and viruses in our homes and places of work. They are found in various forms of sprays, wipes, and liquids. But the “dirty” secret is that common household products available in supermarkets around the globe are dangerous to our nervous system health.

“The individuals who cleaned their homes with common household cleaners had impaired lung capacity equivalent to smoking twenty cigarettes per day”

Our society is obsessed with cleanliness. Anything less than surgical grade clean is less than acceptable, especially in the home. A baby’s crib must be sparkling clean, the play pen has to be wiped down after each use, and the kitchen and bathroom floor has to look clean enough to eat off of. But our fixation on sanitation can have grave consequences for many unlucky individuals.

Reactions to individual cleaning products are not widely documented for a key reason: the cleaning companies are protected by law from disclosing complete ingredient lists on their labels. Why? Wouldn’t you want to know what is contained in the products you apply to your clothing, eating surfaces, and spray into the air? Without having consumer access to what’s inside these products, it can be easy to think, “It must be safe or they wouldn’t be able to sell it in the store”. But scientific research and my experience with patients tell us otherwise.

An independent long-term study conducted over a 20 year period wanted to answer one simple question: is there a difference in lung health of those who did use common household spray and liquid cleaners compared to those who did not? The results were nothing short of shocking.   The individuals who cleaned their homes with common household cleaners had impaired lung capacity equivalent to smoking twenty cigarettes per day!

“Nervous system toxins should be eliminated as a potential culprit.”

At this point, you may be thinking, “But these results can’t be common. Besides, I only clean once a week, not every day”. The study concluded that women who used home cleaning products as little as once per week saw the same reduction in lung capacity as those who smoke a pack a day over the same period. These same products also have the ability to damage our nervous system.

Common symptoms that we see in our office include headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disorders. Some lesser common conditions are attention deficit disorders (ADD/ ADHD), seizures, dizziness and vertigo. Though the conditions may appear to be very different and independent from one another, I have found connections to the severity of the issue and the level of stress to the nervous system. Without a properly functioning nervous system, anything can develop.  Nervous system toxins should be eliminated as a potential culprit.

One thing I may discuss are some recommendations to decrease toxic exposure, including cleaning products. This is especially important when dealing with pediatric patients. Children and pets being smaller and lower to the ground, are much more prone to develop adverse reactions. The vapor from spray and liquid cleaners are most highly concentrated at or near ground level. So unlike adults who stand well above the level of the floor, babies, children, and pets can inhale these fumes to a greater degree than adults. We have found that some patients have quicker results when fully implementing our recommendations.

A quick and easy test to see if your cleaners are up to our recommendations or not is to look at the end cap of the product. If your detergent, liquid, or spray has a childproof seal on it when new, this product likely has chemicals that are harmful to your nervous system and overall health. It should be thrown out immediately. In addition, a more thorough look at the available ingredients listed on the container can give additional safety information.

Clorox wipes, for example, are commonly used to disinfect countertops, shelves, toys, and much more. The main ingredients in the wipes are Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride and Alkyl Dimethyl Ethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride. These are the same ingredients as pesticides. The harmful effects of ingesting pesticides are clear and absolutely a no-no for any health conscious individual. So why would we use it in our house for our loved ones to breath? These are just two examples of the nervous system toxins that are contained in these products. What many people don’t realize is that there are safe alternatives out there cleaning just as well without the potential side effects.

Some take away points from the above-mentioned study are:

 

  • Cleaning once per week can reduce lung capacity to the same severity as smoking a pack of cigarettes per day.
  • Women are affected more commonly than men.
  • Children and pets are especially sensitive to cleaners affecting their nervous system.
  • Cleaning at home is just as harmful as being an occupational cleaner, if not more so.
  • Liquid cleaners are just as dangerous as sprays.
  • Asthma rates increased with women who cleaned with products regularly.
  • Over time, negative effects can build up.
  • Childhood caps = Nervous system toxins likely in the product.

 

If you think you or your loved one may be experiencing the effects of nervous system toxins, we have resources to help you heal. Call to schedule a complementary consultation to find customize your individualized options!

 

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534

Virtual Office Video Tour and Overview of Our Services

Do you have 1 minute?  Then you have time to discover more about us by watching our new office video tour!  Click below to see our office and some of the ways we care for our wonderful patients.

If you are unfamiliar with New Spring Chiropractic, we are a family practice that loves to care for people of all ages.  Our techniques allow us to be gentle yet effective in our care, making it safe for even the little ones.  We see patients for wellness care as well as chronic and acute conditions.  If you would like to learn more about how we can help you and your family,  please call us at 386-227-7534 and schedule a complementary consultation with one of our doctors.

 

 

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534

Psoas Low Back Pain

Core strength. Flat abs. Low back Health. You have heard all these buzz words and likely read a thing or two about the best way to achieve them.  But one aspect of low back health you may not have thought about is a major muscle that makes a big difference.  It’s called the Psoas.  Psoas low back pain is not something you have to live with.

The psoas is a large muscle that attaches to the front of the lumbar spine and then to your pelvis and femur bone.  It is responsible for flexing your legs past 30 degrees.  This muscle can either be a great “team player” in symmetrically activating your pelvic muscles, or it can play havoc on your low back alignment, causing extras stress and pressure on the lumbar spine.  It is very important, therefore, to select exercises and movements that don’t cause you to overuse your psoas and cause injury.

One very common exercise that should not be performed is the classic abdominal “Crunch”.  This can cause psoas low back pain in some cases.This exercise consists of bringing your knees to your chest from a laying position; commonly this is called a Sit-Up.  The reason this is a terrible exercise is because the abdominal muscle are only active for the first 30 degrees of the exercise.  After that, the psoas muscle contracts.  When the psoas muscle contracts in this position, is exerts tremendous forces on the low back, potentially causing injury to spinal discs and ligaments.  The force from the psoas causes compressive forces to the lumbar discs, which can cause them to fail, resulting in a bulging or herniated disc.  Who would have though a simple Sit-Up could be so dangerous?

Want an alternative? Check out the Cross Cut Abdominal exercise in our video below:

A few exercises can be implemented to prevent excessive stress to the low back.  But as always, talk with one of our doctors before beginning any new exercise routines.  You may have a structural shift that must be addressed first before it is safe to perform certain exercises.

The pelvic tilt is the first exercise that should be mastered.  It is a simple exercise but uses many key abdominal muscles.  Begin here if you are just starting out.  Next, a modified abdominal crunch on an exercise ball is a great way to still activate the core stabilizing muscles.  Be sure to limit the crunch to no more than 30 degrees flexion.  Lastly, an isometric abdominal bridge is also recommended to increase endurance, strength and stability.  The bridge will help your stabilizing muscle work more efficiently.

 

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534

Diagnostic Blood work and Chiropractic Care

Did you know that Doctors of Chiropractic are trained to interpret diagnostic blood work?  Diagnostic blood work and saliva testing is a viable and valuable tool for Chiropractors to use when assessing general health and investigating the underlying cause of a variety of conditions.  Our office is able to order lab work for things that include basic and advanced diagnostic blood work and saliva testing.  But why would a chiropractor order lab work?  What does this have to do with the spine?

Our doctors are experts in dealing with the structural components of the body.  When our doctors treat a patient’s worrisome area or chief complaint, there are things that must be ruled out.  Most often, it is caused by an area of the spine that shifts out of alignment (a structural shift).   But there are other factors that can perpetuate a problem, such as underlying inflammation or autoimmune issues. Without knowing what’s within a normal range, the doctor is unable to discern what is the primary cause of an individual’s health concern.  This is where a diagnostic blood work or saliva testing can become very useful.

Our doctors not only assess a person’s range of motion, muscle strength, neurologic function and structural alignment, but can also determine if hormones, nutrients, and minerals are part of the problem.  Some test are as easy as getting a saliva sample and having it sent off for analyzing.

Reasons to have Diagnostic blood work done

Common reasons our doctors would recommend diagnostic lab tests would be: testing for inflammation in the body, autoimmune blood markers for thyroid disease, gluten sensitivity (celiac disease), arthritis, testing for nutrient deficiency, and toxic heavy metals.  If found, these issues must be addressed to fully restore optimal health.

What can be done if results are abnormal

If a problem is found with testing, there are many options to address a problem and bring the lab work back to a normal range. Many times this includes a temporary whole food supplement or herb designed to restore health along with any necessary adjustments to the spine.  The most important thing to remember is that our doctors want to gather as much information about your health concerns in order to find the best solution and not simply cover up your symptoms.   Let our staff or doctors know if you have any questions or if you are interested in a particular diagnostic blood work or saliva test.

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534

Thyroid Function Improves Without Drugs

We’ve all heard the words hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, and Graves’s disease, but what is the thyroid and what can we do to help this organ?  Can thyroid function Improve without surgery or drugs?

The thyroid is a small organ of the endocrine system residing in the front of the neck. Being a part of the endocrine system means the thyroid secretes hormones to help regulate the body. These hormones work to regulate metabolism, heart rate, breathing, and development just to name a few.

According to the National Women’s Health Information Center, about 20 million American’s have a thyroid disorder whether they are aware of it or not. Some times thyroid disorders can go unnoticed because the symptoms seem so common in the U.S. These symptoms include: weight gain, hot/cold sensitivities, fatigue, dry skin, brittle hair (for hypothyroidism) and weight loss, anxiety, sweating, diarrhea (for hyperthyroidism).

Most commonly women develop these symptoms and believe them to be effects of aging or “hormonal changes”. It is important to recognize these symptoms as a thyroid disorder to prevent further complications of thyroid diseases such as infertility, heart disease, heart palpitations, and osteoporosis.

Exciting new research is showing how Chiropractic care can help the thyroid function properly! In a recent study, a man suffering from hypothyroidism received Structural Chiropractic care and improved his thyroid hormone secretion into the normal range. He did not change his lifestyle, diet or exercise levels during his care. With his improved thyroid function, his need for man-made thyroid hormone decreased. This is the fourth study reporting improved thyroid function following Chiropractic care.

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534

A Doctor’s Experience with Low Back Pain- A Letter to my Patients

I have a confession to make.  I’m not as invincible as I thought.

My days in the office revolve around helping people make measurable improvements in your health by caring for a number of health concerns.  I’m honored by all of you who put your trust in me with your health.  It is truly a privilege to be your doctor.

During a normal day, I am very active and rarely sit down between patients.  I may sit for a minute or two every few hours if I have the chance.  There are times where I am required to bend and lift during adjustments and exams.  I consider myself to be overall fairly healthy, and most days at the office proceed as normal.

Recently, though, I gradually noticed over a few days that my upper and lower back did not feel right.  Being busy and active, I figured it was probably a simple tight muscle from all the work or from the gym. I decided to rest that evening and do no exercise.  But next morning, my back still ached like never before. The low back pain increased to the point where I would pray for a break in the schedule so I could sit and rest.

I knew I needed an adjustment, but I had no appointment for my regular visit. This was my first mistake. My problem began right before the holiday break, and my Chiropractor was out of town.  So I was forced to wait over a week before I could be adjusted.

All I wanted to do was lay down.  But even then the pain was still nagging at my body and my mood.

I tried everything I could think of, but nothing corrected the problem.

It wasn’t until I was adjusted that I really noticed a difference.  My body began healing once the problem was addressed.

This episode was an important event for me.  I had the intellectual knowledge of knowing what it feels like to live with chronic pain, but it wasn’t until I experienced it myself that I was able to fully understand the emotions and thoughts surrounding low back pain.

In summary, I learned a few valuable lessons.

  1. Listen to your body
    • When I noticed my body wasn’t working at 100 percent, I should have realized something needed to be done sooner than later.  Ignoring a problem like low back pain doesn’t make it go away.
  2. Know your limits
    • Everyone needs regular check-ups to stay in optimal health, even myself.  If I would have scheduled sooner, when I was feeling great, this could have been avoided.
  3. Act Fast
    • The problem with my back did not begin when I started feeling the secondary condition of pain. The primary condition (a structural shift) started before I was able to sense anything was wrong.  This is why keeping appointments, including me, is very important.  If not, the adjustments will simply serve to chase pain and never lead to better long term health and function.

Sincerely,Dr. Sean Gimbert

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534

Alzheimer’s Disease and Protecting Your Brain

As our species continues to live longer, our elderly population grows exponentially year after year. While the population worldwide continues to age, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is predicted to grow with it. But why? Thus far, the cause seems to be unknown. Most of the studies believe it is due to environmental and genetic factors. Recent research paves the way for other emerging topics including preserving brain function and brain blood flow as strategies for approaching the inevitable process of age.

Alzheimer’s is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder with the most common symptom being memory loss. It is also known as the most common cause of dementia. As the disease progresses, cognitive function like thinking and reasoning as well as behavioral abilities and overall independence decline. The characteristic findings of Alzheimer’s are biomarkers called amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles found in and around the brain. It can destroy a life long before it passes and is extremely heartbreaking for families to endure.

Lifestyle Risk Factors

Many of the factors that put an aging individual at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s are lifestyle choices. Research has shown that things like smoking, diabetes, obesity, and vascular disease have been found to increase the risk. Something as simple as throwing out the pack of squares for good, or adding 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day can reduce that risk. Cognitive stimulating activities like reading or strategy games also show long term benefits for the brain and memory. An interesting correlation between vascular health, cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s Disease lays the groundwork for the possibilities of prevention.

How Alzheimer’s Changes the Brain

The pathophysiological changes that occur in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s Disease can lead us in a new direction for health care. As this disease progresses, the brain begins to breakdown by means of atrophy (or shrinking), inflammation, an increase in free radicals, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Free radicals are formed when there is a disruption in the balance between anti-oxidants and biological stress. This is why it is important to maintain a diet high in anti-oxidant rich foods. Plant-based foods like fruits and green cruciferous vegetables are a great place to start. That large stuffed crust pizza just isn’t cutting it in the fight against free radicals.

 Alzheimer’s Disease and Protecting Your Brain 2
Cholesterol does not build up in the arteries from too much cholesterol. Plaques build up in the lining of the artery wall from an immune reaction to inflammation.

Cholesterol plays an important role in brain and nerve function. The brain contains 23% of all the cholesterol in the body. It is what makes up the phospholipid bilayer or membrane surrounding every cell in your body. It also makes up the protective covering known as the myelin sheath that surrounds all nerve and brain tissue. It is an essential component of nervous system health and therefor simply lowering total cholesterol is not a logical means of preventing disease processes that occur in the brain with Alzheimer’s. In fact, cholesterol in the blood cannot even reach the brain due to something called the blood brain barrier, and instead is made locally in the brain. The key lies in the defects of cholesterol metabolism. The goal instead should be put on maintaining a healthier ratio of cholesterol with higher levels of HDL (high-density lipoproteins) and lower levels of LDL (low-density). This can be done by replacing vegetable oils with coconut and olive oil, reducing carbs and increasing essential fats (ketogenic) in the diet, and regular exercise. A high-quality fish oil intake of about 1–2g of EPA/DHA a day has also been shown to not only benefit HDL levels, but promotes brain protection and regeneration by decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress in the CNS.

Brain Fluid Mechanics

As mentioned previously, atrophy and inflammation are hallmark findings in people with Alzheimer’s Disease. Recent evidence is shining a light on a decrease in blood flow and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) in and out of the brain as a potential cause of brain atrophy in the elderly. Adequate blood flow into the brain is needed to supply it with oxygen and nutrients. CSF provides the brain and spinal cord with a liquid cushion during movement. It has also been linked to the brain’s immune system otherwise known as the glymphatic system. Too little CSF inside the skull and the brain stem sinks into the hole at the bottom of the skull, the foramen magnum, causing something called Arnold Chiari. Too much and something called hydrocephalus occurs. Chronic hydrocephalus causes edema and compression to the brain tissue resulting in the ventricles of the brain enlarging and an inflammatory reaction. A decrease in blood flow into the brain overtime causes chronic ischemia, (lack of oxygen) and may play a critical role in brain atrophy.

 Alzheimer’s Disease and Protecting Your Brain 1

One of the most likely places for a blockage of CSF and blood flow to occur is where the vessels pass through the junction between the skull and the upper cervical spinal canal. Acquired shifts, congenital malformations, and degenerative conditions of that delicate bony passageway may affect necessary fluid dynamics in and out of the brain and lead to neurodegenerative changes that are also seen in Alzheimer’s disease. Seeking out a cranio-cervical junction specific chiropractor to identify the presence of shifts in this area and addressing it through precision structural corrections may be the missing link to preserving brain health and avoiding the tragedy that is Alzheimer’s disease.

 

-By Dr. Ernesto Fernandez

 

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405821/

[2]http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.14663/full

[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841576/

[4]http://embor.embopress.org/content/early/2014/09/15/embr.201439225

[5]http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166223613001987

[6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4635245/

[7]http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1526-4610.1995.hed3509557.x/full

[8]https://uprightdoctor.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/midbrain-atrophy-in-parkinsons-alzheimers-and-multiple-sclerosis/

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534

Dizziness and Balance Problems

Dizziness — More Than Just A Feeling

By Dr. Ernesto Fernandez

A broad spectrum

Dizziness is what is known as a vestibular disorder. A vestibular disorder is a condition that affects your body systems that control your sense of balance and sense of awareness of the environment. Epidemiological studies have reported that dizziness including vertigo affects over 20% of adults yearly and has reached up to 40% in those older than 40.

Different individuals can experience various forms of dizziness. You know, like the feeling after spinning one too many times on the merry-go-round, or after having one too many cocktails and then lying down. Unfortunately, many suffer from dizziness on a regular basis, without having done either of those things. In certain people being dizzy may feel like the world is spinning or rocking. In others it may feel like an inability to concentrate or even light headedness. In more severe cases of vertigo one may experience nausea and vomiting.

Due to the complexity of causes and effects of dizziness, it is important for doctors to not give the same cookie cutter diagnosis to all. Dizziness is not just some insignificant feeling. It can hinder the level of independence in an individual. Something as routine as driving their car becomes a difficult and dangerous task. It can take a toll on the overall quality of life, affecting time with family or favorite hobbies. Imagine trying to return a serve in tennis while the court is spinning around you! More important, it may dramatically increase the risk of falling and becoming seriously injured.

It’s all about the brain

Dizziness can be more accurately diagnosed and treated with a better understanding of the sensory integration between three vital aspects of the body and the brain.

  1. The inner ear (vestibular apparatus)
  2. The eyes
  3. The proprioceptive system (muscle, joint, skin)

Dizziness can manifest as a primary condition such as positional vertigo or Meniere’s disease, or as a secondary condition due to head injuries, medications, and stroke.

The most common form of dizziness diagnosed is caused by problems in the inner ear also known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). In brief; this type is caused by a disruption in the sensory organs in the inner ear and its ability to tell the brain where you are in the environment. This is normally due to a trauma, abnormal positional change, or viral infection. This piece of anatomy in the inner ear is called the vestibular apparatus and communicates with the brain through the vestibulocochlear nerve. Who knew the ears were responsible for much more than just hearing. Although, our spouses may believe our anatomy can’t even get that part right.

Other conditions, like a head injury or concussion for example, may affect the way your eyes move, fixate, and track targets in the environment. If your eyes are unable to register the appropriate and accurate information from the environment, your brain receives faulty signals and interprets it as a loss of balance. This creates a sensory mismatch between the eyes and the brain and can result in dizziness.

Furthermore, the proprioceptive system plays a critical role in the diagnosis and treatment of dizziness. The proprioceptive system includes receptors within the joints, muscles, tendons, and skin that communicate with the central nervous system to tell it where it is in space. Areas of the body with the highest concentration of these receptors include the hands, feet, and upper neck. A study done on the density of these receptors in specific muscles found a range of 190–242 muscle spindles per gram of tissue in the suboccipital muscles. These are tiny muscles of the upper neck that attach to the spine and skull. That is a whole lot of information coming from just your neck to tell your brain what position you’re in! Acquired or degenerative conditions of the neck like trauma, muscle spasms, and chronic postural abnormalities can cause structural shifts of the head and neck as well as tension in those joints, ligaments, and muscles. These shifts manifest as postural distortions away from the center of gravity and interferes with the important job those receptors carry. This creates another sensory mismatch between the proprioceptive tissues and the brain.

Dizziness and Balance Problems 1

A thorough investigation of each of these body symptoms should be done by doctors before making an accurate diagnosis of dizziness or vertigo. From there, different treatment strategies can be implemented to address the specific anatomy wreaking havoc in these patients’ lives. In Part II of this dizziness series we will discuss specific treatment strategies that may offer hope to those who continue to suffer from dizziness and can’t seem to find answers.

 

Sources:

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27638063

[1]https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2149881-overview

[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22999306

[3]https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/64bb/b1b73041418d1caefcd9b9a0273501743242.pdf

Visit our Main Website

Give Us A Call => 386-227-7534