Can a pinched nerve cause vertigo symptoms?

The most common symptoms of a pinched nerve are pain, tingling and muscle weakness, but vertigo is another complication that can occur if a pinched nerve develops in the neck. Vertigo is characterized by a spinning or dizzy feeling that’s not caused by physical movement. It is most commonly caused by migraines, ear infections and compression of the nerves in the inner ear, but it can also be caused by compression of the nerves in the cervical spine.

How a pinched nerve can cause vertigo

When a problem develops in the top part of the spine — for instance, a disc bulges out of place or a bone spur forms on a vertebra — it can compress a nearby nerve or nerve root. For some people, this can cause a sensation of vertigo.

Other symptoms of a pinched nerve

A pinched nerve in the cervical spine can also cause:

  • Headaches
  • “Pins-and-needles” feelings in the neck, shoulders, arms or fingers
  • Muscle weakness in the upper extremities
  • Localized pain in the neck

Some people experience the symptoms of a pinched nerve around the clock, while others find that the discomfort comes and goes. Certain activities, such as turning the head from side to side or looking down, can occasionally make symptoms worse.

Finding relief from a pinched nerve

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, pinched nerve treatment can be very simple or more complex. Mild, occasional issues can usually be controlled though over-the-counter medications and, if needed, stretches that are designed to alleviate pain in the neck. More severe pain may respond to prescription pain relievers or muscle relaxers, physical therapy or a series of corticosteroid injections.

Nonsurgical treatments are often effective enough to allow a person to go about his or her daily life with minimal disruption. However, it is possible for a pinched nerve to cause severe symptoms that conservative therapies alone cannot relieve, in which case surgery might be recommended.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to open neck and back operations.^ Our minimally invasive approach to surgery involves separating muscles rather than tearing them and accessing the spine through small incisions.

If you’ve found little to no relief from the symptoms of your pinched nerve and a surgical procedure is on your mind, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our outpatient options. We can review* your MRI for free to help you determine if you’re a candidate for our pinched nerve treatments.

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