Vertigo may be caused by damage to nerves in the neck. If these nerves are damaged, the brain has difficulty monitoring the relative position of the neck and trunk. This type of vertigo is called cervical vertigo. Whiplash injuries, blunt injuries to the top of the head, or severe arthritis in the neck (cervical spondylosis) may cause cervical vertigo.
There is more and you can read all about vertigo here. Still, all these months (a year now) I've been hearing vestibular vertigo. All of the testing showed nothing wrong with my ears and still it is looked at as vestibular. Not once did I hear about cervical vertigo. Probably because I hadn't been in an accident recently which, from what I can tell, is a more common reason for cervical vertigo than say arthritis in the neck! Would have been nice if someone had tested me for arthritis a lot sooner. In the meantime, I will be going to Emory to see if they can get me the help I need to be cured. In the meantime, my doctor is recommending that I start having massages for my neck and she is curious to see what the people there will say. Leave it to me to come down with something that would require my getting a massage. No wonder I keep saying my life is good even though I am not 100% healthy!
I found the following information about cervical spondylosis in the Merck website and wanted to put it here for further clarification of what I am dealing with.
Cervical spondylosis usually affects middle-aged and older people. With aging, the bone of the spine overgrows and narrows the spinal canal in the neck. As a result, the spinal cord or the spinal nerve roots (the part of spinal nerves located next to the cord (see Biology of the Nervous System:Spinal Cord) are compressed, causing dysfunction.
Symptoms may reflect compression of the spinal cord, the spinal nerve roots, or both. If the spinal cord is compressed, a change in walking is usually the first sign. Leg movements may become jerky (spastic), and walking becomes unsteady. The neck may be painful. If the spinal nerve roots are compressed, weakness in one or both arms may develop, and the muscles may waste away. The neck is likely to be painful. Nerve root compression may be accompanied by or progress to spinal cord compression.
Diagnosis and Treatment
When doctors suspect cervical spondylosis, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or myelography with computed tomography (CT) is performed. MRI provides slightly more information, but myelography with CT may be more available. These procedures show where the spinal canal is narrowed, how compressed it is, and which spinal nerve roots may be affected. MRI has generally replaced x-rays of the neck.
Without treatment, spinal cord dysfunction due to cervical spondylosis sometimes lessens or stabilizes, but it may progress. Initially, a soft neck collar, neck traction, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (see Pain: Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), and muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine may provide relief. However, when the disorder progresses or when MRI shows severe compression or collapsed or displaced vertebrae, surgery is usually needed. As a rule, surgery does not reverse changes that have already occurred, because the pathways in the spinal cord become permanently damaged unless the disorder is treated very early.
Last full review/revision February 2003