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Do THIS before performing Dix-Hallpike Manuever

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

The Dix-Hallpike Manuever is  considered the gold standard for the diagnosis of posterior semicircular canal Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).  It has decent statistics in its utility in just itself having a sensitivity of 79%, specificity of 75%, LR+ = 3.17 and LR- = 0.28  (Haulker et al 2008) and lends itself very convenient for smooth transition into treatment via the Epley Manuever.

In addition to a thorough patient history, this patient examination piece is crucial in clinical practice guidelines by Bhattacharyya N et al 2008 to assist clinicians in the grey zone of dizziness symptoms.  Agreeing with this work and consensus among clinicians, the practitioner should absolutely differentiate between this benign condition with other, potentially dangerous, reasons for imbalance, vertigo and dizziness.

One of the biggest take-aways I get from our Cervicogenic Dizziness Diagnosis & Treatment weekend course is most “vestibular” clinicians get an “a-ha moment” while learning the Optimal Sequence Algorithm, particularly Appendix C (Cervical Artery Dysfunction)  I say “a-ha” lightly; meaning not to fray upon their current clinical decision making, but the reason WHY we teach ruling out Cervical Artery Dysfunction prior to performing peripheral testing and cervical ROM testing.

We teach a very simple, but effective means to rule out vascular insufficiency (clinical exam) & conditions of spontaneous origin (most likely what will walk in your door) based off of concepts of epidemiology, entire body hemodynamic principles, and triggers to possible cause of a dissection.

Diagnosis of Cervicogenic Dizziness
Cervicogenic Dizziness. Optimal Sequence Algorithm. Integrative Clinical Concepts. All Rights Reserved.

This is a huge interest of Harrison’s considering the changes in thought-processes and clinical-decision-making of relationship between manual therapy  and stroke over the past decade.  Many myths were put to rest in Harrison’s training early in his career that ballooned into more understanding by his Fellowship Mentor, co-author of the Optimal Sequence Algorithm for and ICC partner, Dr. Brent Harper.  Considering Danielle and Harrison come from “different” backgrounds (vestibular and manual training, respectively); we found a missing link in this understanding and present it very clearly in our course.

Openly speaking, causing a stroke from manual therapy is MUCH more prevalent in discussions on this topic compared to performing vestibular rehabilitation of canalith repositioning testing and treating — even though a spontaneous dissection in process could turn dangerous with even these procedures.  Hence why we our course is called, “Bridging the Gap between Manual and Vestibular Therapies”.

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo, BPPV, Dizziness, Cervical Spine, Concussion
Integrative Clinical Concepts. Drs. Harrison & Danielle Vaughan

Watch the video attached to this blog of a clip from a short lecture of Harrison speaking at our course describing why it is pertinent to consider vascular origin, specifically spontaneous dissection, with symptoms of dizziness/imbalance/vertigo prior to performing Dix-Hallpike Manuever in patients suspected of BPPV.  Learn this approach to be the most confident in your clinical examination of patients presenting with dizziness, even if your plan is to perform a joint mobilization/manipulation, massage or canalith testing.


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the authors (husband–a manual therapist a wife—a vestibular specialist), teach a very unique course combining both the theory and practice of vestibular and manual principles in their 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the 2nd day includes the “Physio Blend”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the management of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes treatments of the articular and non-articular system of manual therapy and the most updated sensorimotor exercise regimen.

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for more information.

Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

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Stroke following cupping therapy AND a massage? WHAT?!

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

Historically speaking, most practitioners in medicine contribute cervical artery dissection (potentially lead to stroke) to manipulation of the cervical spine–especially from the chiropractic profession.  Several come to my mind including Grant 1987/88, Drueger & Okazaki 1980, Terrett 1987, Hurwitz 1996. This was echoed through the years from emergency medicine physicians in case reports, case series and case control studies but in the last decade, our knowledge on this phenomenon has changed our perspective of the cause.

We now know from the works of many authors, but especially the case-crossover design work of Cassidy in 2008 and reflected again in 2017; that most likely a patient is arriving to your clinic with a stroke in progress.  Briefly speaking, the practitioner must have felt the symptoms were musculoskeletal in nature, but instead, were of vascular nocioception and the headache/dizziness/etc was the symptom that led the individual to seek out help.  Basically, a potentially fatal condition was missed.  For us in the industry who keep up with this data, the trend is leaning towards a more global screening processes including the vascular system to make a more informed decision with positive results, but there are many cases that are still reported, including recently in a Family Practice Journal.

I recently stumbled upon two papers indicating a spontaneous dissection that led a patient to a healthcare provider—in these cases the treatment approach was not manipulation, but cupping and massage.

I can provide full texts to those who wish to read, but here is synopsis:

Choi et al 2016

We report an extremely rare case of spontaneous extracranial VA dissection presenting with posterior neck hematoma aggravated after cupping therapy.

“We presume that when spontaneous extracranial VAD occurred, his neck pain began and the cupping therapy caused a VA rupture and posterior neck hematoma with a pseudoaneurysm.”

Dutta et al 2018

We present an unusual case of vertebral artery dissection in a 30-year-old male patient following an episode of neck massage….The current case demonstrates the hazards associated with neck massage and the potential for good outcomes in these patients if timely intervention is provided.

For those of you who treat headaches, neck pain and dizziness; albeit very rare, you should always keep in mind potential cervical artery dysfunction.  It could arise spontaneously or after a trauma, even trivial.  Although we are still working in a diagnosis and area of uncertainty, I would suggest these two reports correlate with our trend that the actual procedure doesn’t cause the stroke—but instead, the acute arterial event was occurring spontaneously which led to a patient coming to you for help.

In the Optimal Sequence Algorithm of our Cervicogenic Dizziness Course, this is a hot topic and one that I take very seriously.  Alongside my fellowship mentor, Dr. Brent Harper, we have designed what we both find to be the most up-to-date and sound reasoning to rule out spontaneous and mechanical vascular event.  We strive to improve the order of your examination definitely makes a difference — which is one of the major flaws behind the vertebral-basilar insufficiency (VBI) test.

Even though I find our approach is quite sound, I want to end this post with the conclusion from Choi et al 2016 as it is a solid statement and a major take-home point:

The clinical diagnosis of VAD is not easy with acute-onset neck pain, especially young patients with no evidence of cervical trauma and disease. With undiagnosed VAD, traditional remedies such as cupping and chiropractic therapy to reduce pain can aggravate spontaneous dissection and worsen symptoms…..Early diagnosis of VAD could prevent symptom aggravation and permanent neurologic deficit.


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the author and his wife, a Vestibular Specialist, teach a 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the first day provides the most up-to-date evidence review from multiple disciplines to diagnose through the “Optimal Sequence Algorithm” to assist in ruling out disorders and ruling in cervical spine, including determining if single or double entity exists.  

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for prices and discounts.

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Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

How common is Cervicogenic Dizziness?

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

When considering dizziness of cervical origin, it is well accepted in clinical practice to follow the rule of “diagnosis of exclusion”.  This means that you can suspect, but not confirm, dizziness or vertigo from the neck unless you rule out other competing diagnoses.

It is thrown around from ones who try to invalidate the condition that up to 90% of cases can have a convincing alternative diagnosis.  Additionally, Cervicogenic Dizziness can affect populations across the lifespan with traumatic and even non-traumatic origin. Therefore, the prevalence of Cervicogenic Dizziness can be challenging to truly calculate.

However, we can reach out to the literature to provide some input on how frequent patients have Cervicogenic Dizziness.  We provide a synopsis for you below to help with prevalence rates for these subcategories.

Elderly / Geriatrics

A classic study cited in most often comes from Colledge et al in 1996 in BMJ.  This is a community based study looking at causes of dizziness in elderly patients in primary care practice.  The investigators found that 30% of total patients had dizziness symptoms and contributed 66% of those cases to cervical spondylosis (arthritis).  Two-thirds of the patients with dizziness coming from the neck is a significant proportion!

A more recent study by Sho Takahashi in 2018 retrospectively examined the cause of general dizziness in an outpatient setting.  Out of the 1000 patients, 899 (90%) were found to have cervicogenic general dizziness.  The authors contribute cervical spinal canal stenosis as the culprit in the group with average age of 62 years old.  Wow, 9 out of 10 patients were found to have dizziness coming from the neck!

So yes, the geriatric population, even though with higher proportion of competing diagnoses including peripheral, cardiovascular, and psychological causes; have a high prevalence of Cervicogenic Dizziness.  For therapists out there who are in vestibular rehab / neuro rehab and even home health, this is something to consider!

We can’t forget the data from the concussion and whiplash literature.  Here are some other robust numbers for you:

 

Whiplash

The literature on this is somewhat older but still very pertinent, stands true to today, and actually we have more data from multiple sources.  I always say about half of patients who have had whiplash-associated disorder experience dizziness and/or imbalance. To name a few, I recommend reading the works of Diane Wrisley 2000, Oostesteveld et al 1991, Skovron 1998, Humphreys & Peterson 2013. 

Non-Traumatic Cervicogenic Dizziness

For those who are not treating the elderly and not dealing with trauma, the numbers are not nearly as hefty.  I always mention to my students that the prevalence in this realm is ~10%.  Even though the patient age and criteria within these studies vary, I lump this under non-traumatic Cervicogenic Dizziness. This is where I get my data:

Ardic et al 2006, in a retrospective chart review, noted dizziness of cervical origin at 7.5%.

Luscher et al 2014, in a prospective, observational, multi-center study, noted dizziness of cervical origin at 6.4%.

Reid et al 2015, in a randomized-controlled trial, had 8.5% of participants fulfill the inclusion and exclusion criteria as having Cervicogenic Dizziness.

From the outside looking in, the literature is all over the place with our prevalence numbers!  This is what makes the condition challenging and exciting to treat and help others.  You can consider Cervicogenic Dizziness as a single entity, double entity and even traumatic vs non-traumatic origin. Therefore, the prevalence of Cervicogenic Dizziness can be challenging to truly calculate.  I hope this information helps you make a better decision in the office.


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the authors (husband–a manual therapist a wife—a vestibular specialist), teach a very unique course combining both the theory and practice of vestibular and manual principles in their 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the 1st day includes the “Optimal Sequence Algorithm”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the assessment of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes the appropriate ruling-out process and cervical examination of the articular and non-articular systems. Also pertinent to this blog post, the 2nd day includes the “Physio Blend”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the management of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes treatments of the articular and non-articular system of manual therapy and the most updated sensorimotor exercise regimen.

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for more information.

Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

 

Concussion: Purely a brain injury or are there more pragmatic treatments?

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

Concussion has been a hot topic in the last few years and continues to grow in awareness, diagnostic and treatment options in the field of medicine.  Rehabilitation professionals, such as physical therapists, play a vital role in recovery from this injury and can be argued to be the best healthcare provider to aid in a progressive, graded exposure to return to sport/play.  Treating patients recovering from this injury can be challenging but our field offers us the training and ability to address the multiple dimensions of symptoms; including the oculomotor, vestibular, cervical and central impairments.

Even though concussion can be considered physiologically a “brain injury”, there is a plethora of data correlating the mechanism of injury and impulsive forces to whiplash mechanism, such as seen in a car wreck (Elkin et al 2016, Alexander 2003, Hynes & Dickey 2006, Morin 2016).  So not only could impulsive forces in concussion involve the head, but the neck as well (Marshall 2015, Kennedy 2017).  This is not a new subject per say, but with the continued expression of “brain injury” and “central condition”; I want to express to my colleagues that symptoms of headache and dizziness could be generators of nocioception and/or alterered proprioception.  There have been some authors to go as far as suggesting concussion should be appropriately called the monikor craniocervical shaky syndrome (CCSS).

Instead of simply allowing the brain injury diagnosis sticker dampen the prognosis to allow healing to occur, it is recommended to consider the cervical spine a potential reason/cause for post-concussion persistent symptoms.  Considering dizziness after sport-related concussion is common and reported to be in 43-81% of cases (Alslaheen et al 2010, Duhaime et al 2012, Lau et al 2011), it is highly recommended to get the formal assessment, evidence and treatment for these patients.

Let’s move on together to aid in finding potential, pragmatic and VERY treatable region of the body.  It can be challenging to find which system is of particular importance in the driver of post-concussive symptoms, but if you think it is the cervical spine, we have the answers for you.


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the authors (husband–a manual therapist a wife—a vestibular specialist), teach a very unique course combining both the theory and practice of vestibular and manual principles in their 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the 1st day includes the “Optimal Sequence Algorithm”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist diagnostic approach of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes ruling out central and peripheral disorders to rule in the cervical spine as driver of proprioceptive dysfunction.

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for more information.

Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

 

 

 

Is Osteopathic Treatment effective on Cervicogenic Dizziness?

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

While answering the question, “Is Osteopathic Treatment effective on Cervicogenic Dizziness”, I must preface to say I am not an osteopathic physician and do not practice in that theoretical construct.  However, for those readers who understand the mechanisms of manual therapy and history behind the field of Physical Therapy and Osteopathic medicine; I am sure you can appreciate the correlation of Osteopathic medicine and subset of Manual Therapy within the larger scope of practice in Physical Therapy.  Here is a synopsis if you haven’t delved into the history.  Understanding this correlation will allow the clinician to delve deeper into the literature of other professions in order to have a broader consideration of the effects of manual therapies on individuals suffering from Cervicogenic Dizziness and ultimately give your patients the most comprehensive treatment.

While inquiring PubMed for literature support, unfortunately the terminology of Cervicogenic Dizziness comes up empty.  Why?  Well, read a previous post for that.  Nonetheless, Cervical Vertigo brings me information from Hulse et al in 1975.  As expected, the thought process realms from disturbances of the upper cervical spine and the authors recommend manipulation as treatment of choice.

As the years go by, it is difficult to find literary works specifically for the benefit of Osteopathic treatment for Cervicogenic Dizziness.  However, we do have a some information provided by:

  • A case report by Kennedy in 2002
  • A case report by Shaffer in 2005
  • A case report by Fraix in 2009.
  • A case series by Berkowitz in 2009.
  • A case report by McCallister et al 2016 – of note, this was on a patient with severe TBI

Since these are in the lower levels of evidence, the main chunk of justification doesn’t start until when we delve into Fraix’s work in 2010.  A pilot study, here is Fraix’s conclusion

This study showed that OMT is generally well tolerated in patients with vertigo. It also demonstrated that it is feasible to recruit a population of patients with vertigo who can complete a course of OMT and collect data by using the DHI. A randomized control trial that examines the efficacy of OMT in patients with vertigo is warranted, given that OMT may be a reasonable treatment for vertigo and the functional impairment associated with it.

Of course this study has limitations, but I do like how it uses the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) as a functional outcome measure to show effectiveness of the intervention with a validated and reliable outcome measure.  See results in Figure 1 from the article below:

Fraix 2010

As far as I know, a follow-up RCT designed to compare Osteopathic Treatment to Vestibular Rehabilitation never made it to publication.  However, we do have some other evidence of the effects of osteopathic treatment in the last few years.

In 2013, Fraix and colleagues in a prospective clinical cohort study evaluated the effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) for spinal somatic dysfunction in patients with dizziness lasting longer than 3 months.  Here is their conclusion:

Osteopathic manipulative treatment for spinal somatic dysfunction improved balance in patients with dizziness lasting at least 3 months.

Fraix 2013

In 2017, Papa and colleagues in a randomized control trial examined a group of 31 individuals with BPPV and again used DHI as outcome measure.  Here is their conclusion:

These findings suggest that OMT could be a useful approach to reduce imbalance symptoms and to improve the quality of life in patients suffering from dizziness

Papa 2017

In conclusion, the evidence is slowly, but starting to mount to give more credence to Osteopathic Treatment for Cervicogenic Dizziness.  I do not hesitantly justify this as simply another means of evidence denoting the benefit of manual therapy, which can be provided by trained physical therapists, for the treatment of Cervicogenic Dizziness / Cervical Vertigo.

The justification for our services and approaches are continuing to mount, for the sake of the patient, our referral sources, for us personally and for the 3rd party payers.  Anyone who has taken my courses knows evidence is a top priority and you will get the information you need to not only learn how to diagnose and treat Cervicogenic Dizziness, but the paper trail that puts more substance into our practice.


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the authors (husband–a manual therapist a wife—a vestibular specialist), teach a very unique course combining both the theory and practice of vestibular and manual principles in their 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the 2nd day includes the “Physio Blend”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the management of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes treatments of the articular and non-articular system of manual therapy and the most updated sensorimotor exercise regimen.

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for more information.

Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

 

Would you harm a patient with manual therapy already diagnosed with concussion?

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

The title of this blog is a loaded question, but generally speaking it entails the risk : benefit ratio and adverse events of performing manual therapy on a patient who has suffered a concussion.  In particular, we are speaking of someone who is suffering from post-concussive symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).  In this post, we will use mTBI synonymously with post-concussion symptoms. This patient is already in your office, you have determined some type of musculoskeletal generator for symptoms, most likely neck pain, dizziness and/or headache; so you proceed with what you have in your tool box.

Cervical spine involvement in mTBI is gaining more traction over the years. There have been countless case reports and case studies on the benefit of manual therapy for mTBI (to name a few–Gurnseley 2016, Burns 2015, Weltzer 2017).  In fact, Brolinson recommends using manual therapies alongside neuromotor/sensorimotor training for more effective  mTBI recovery than rest and exercises.  Also, we can’t forget the all important Schneider study from 2014 that found a significant number of athletes returned to sport in manual / vestibular group compared to control group.

Most recently, Quatman-Yates in 2016 found the following conclusion:

The results of this systematic review indicate that several physical rehabilitation options with minimal risk for negative outcomes are available for treating patients experiencing persistent post-mTBI symptoms. These options include: vestibular, manual, and progressive exercise interventions.

In general, the literature does guide us that manual therapies can be a safe and effective intervention to the cervical spine for mTBI.  In fact, if you break down adverse events in Cervicogenic Dizziness / Cervical Vertigo, you will not find the literature shying away from manual therapy either.  Even though no study has been conducted directly examining adverse events, it can be noted that the largest randomized control trial and long term outcomes to date by Reid and colleagues specifically state no adverse events in the group of eighty-six participants receiving manual therapy.

However, there is one study I want to bring to light.  It is from Dr. Greenman and his colleague, Dr. McPartland back in 1995 entitled, “Cranial findings and iatrogenesis from craniosacral manipulation in patients with traumatic brain injury“.  For those who do not know, Greenman was well known at Michigan State in Osteopathic Medicine and well cited in books and journals.  Even though the practice and treatment of craniosacral manipulation is beyond this blog and post, it is worth noting the findings of this brief review below:

Out of 55 cases, the authors describe 3 cases of adverse events of craniosacral therapy in patients with mTBI, including 2 requiring hospitalization.  They noted a 5% incidence rate and quoted the following, “craniosacral manipulation in a traumatic brain-injured patient can be useful and effective, but is not without risk”.

This number may not mean much to you—but we all hope as clinicians it is 0%—but it all depending on how you define iatrogenesis.  Nevertheless, I suggest you compare this number to Carnes’ 2010 study noting incidence estimate of proportions for minor or moderate transient adverse events after manual therapy was approximately 41% (CI 95% 17-68%) in the cohort studies and 22% (CI 95% 11.1-36.2%) in the RCTs; for major adverse events approximately 0.13%.

However, Sabel and Patini in 2018 in a pilot study examined safety of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine in PostConcussion Symptom Management and elicited the following conclusion:

Osteopathic cranial manipulative medicine was considered a safe adjunctive treatment option to improve concussion-related symptoms and recovery.

In conclusion, I say there are minor adverse events to any intervention but we definitely want to have a treatment approach that minimizes risk while add benefit.  The type of technique, approach and handling skills can all be combined to making this formula turn out best for you and the patient.  In our Cervicogenic Dizziness Course, we teach a variety of techniques that add on what you already know and propel it towards maximal comfort and relief.  Come check us out near you.


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the authors (husband–a manual therapist a wife—a vestibular specialist), teach a very unique course combining both the theory and practice of vestibular and manual principles in their 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the 2nd day includes the “Physio Blend”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the management of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes treatments of the articular and non-articular system of manual therapy and the most updated sensorimotor exercise regimen.

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for more information.

Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

How common is Cervicogenic Dizziness in Concussion?

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

 

Concussion

Over 80% of concussions have been observed to recover within 7-10 days, but ~20% of sports-related concussions can take longer than this period of time to resolve.  Predictors and factors associated with a protracted recovery and reasons for post-concussive symptoms can be of many reasons but for the purpose of this post, we will delve into the cervical spine.

You can’t disagree that assessment of the cervical spine in post-concussion management and treatment is important.  However, the prevalence of cervical spine pathology in concussed patients is unknown.  Many authors express interest and promote the manual assessment of the cervical structures.  I recommend delving into the research by these authors: Leddy et al 2015, Gergen 2015, Scorza et al 2012Ellis et al 2015Craton et al 2017Cheever K et al 2016, Matsuszak et al 2016, Morin et al 2016Marshall et al 2015, Elkin et al 2016Putukian 2017, Lundblad 2017  , Schneider et al 2018 and Kosoy/Feinstein 2018.

Even though concussion research and awareness has spiked in the last few years, you can also go back to 1956 to read an article by Seletz in Calif Med Journal entitled, “Craniocerebral Injuries” (a free paper).  So, yes, this concept is not new.

However, if you’re looking for a newer model to adopt, I recommend reading Mark Lundblad’s work in 2017 paper in Int J Sport Phys Ther entitled, “A Conceptual Model for Physical Therapists Treating Athletes with Protracted Recovery Following a Concussion”.  He does mention that the first component to address (prior to neuromuscular control and strengthening) is cervical mobility and C1-2 should be of particular importance.

In regards to Cervicogenic Dizziness following Concussion, we don’t know the prevalence rates of Dizziness itself from the Cervical Spine but we do know most common symptoms are headaches, dizziness, fatigue and other range of cognitive deficits.  More research and scientific inquiry is on headaches vs dizziness from the cervical spine, but we can all agree even though we are looking at a proprioceptive vs nocioceptive alteration in input, that some of the actual structures at fault can be similar.

There will be tons more coming out in the concussion literature over the next few years to aid in prevalence rates themselves, but here are studies we present to our classes:

Just recently, Ellis et al 2018, in a retrospective cohort study, actually looked at Cervical Spine Dysfunction in Pediatric Sports Related Concussion.  Out of the 246 patients included in the study, 80 of them (32.5%) met the criteria for cervical spine dysfunction.  The authors conclude that cervical spine dysfunction can be a risk factor for delayed clinical recovery.

Kennedy et al 2017, in a retrospective chart review study, found that 32 of 45 (69.5%) of patients with persistent post-concussion symptoms, were found to have cervicogenic component.  The authors highlight the value of physiotherapy assessment and treatment of the cervical spine following a concussive injury.

Reneker et al 2018, in a cross-sectional study of athletes after a concussion, found 82.9% had cervical involvement and 26.8% presented with Cervicogenic Dizziness.

A classic, Schneider et al 2014, in a randomized controlled trial to treat concussion in adolescents, found 100% of patients in both treatment AND control group had cervical spine findings.  Moreover, 93.33% in treatment group had neck pain while 87.5% in control group had neck pain. Additionally, 86.33% had dizziness in treatment group and 82.75% had dizziness in control group.

Marshall et al 2015, albeit a review paper BUT also a case series, discusses the role of many theories causing post-concussive syndrome.   Pertinent to this post, the authors give credence to “a very treatable” cause of it—the cervical spine.  All of the cases demonstrate several different types of manual therapies to the cervical spine to aid in improving symptoms.

Growbaski et al 2017, in a retrospective cohort study, expressed that over 75% of the patients experienced symptoms consistent with peripheral vestibular disorder or cervicothoracic dysfunction, either in isolation or in various combinations, in their multimodal, impairment-based PT approach to treating post-concussion syndrome.

Browne GJ 2006 found that in the retrospective descriptive case series study of 125 children who injured their cervical spine while playing rugby football, 98% of them had neck pain (of course if injured neck), but out of these 125 children, 23% had a concussion.

Jensen et al 1990 found that 18 out of 19 (94.7%) patients with persistent post-concussive syndrome had upper cervical spine restrictions when compared to an uninjured control group. Their work concludes that it supports the hypothesis of a cervical mechanism causing post-traumatic headache and suggests that post-traumatic dizziness, visual disturbances and ear symptoms could be part of a cervical syndrome.

Treleaven et al 1994 demonstrated in 12 patients with post-concussive had upper cervical spine dysfunction compared to a normal control group.  This study examined headaches.

Going back even further, Mager et al 1989, noted a block of the upper cervical spine and of the cervicothoracic area was proved in 83.53% of patients who were hospitalized upon a head injury.

How common is Cervicogenic Dizziness after Concussion?

The values above are just several examples of prevalence rates of cervical component in head injury from concussion. Unfortunately, I don’t have specific values for you as most studies lump Cervical Dysfunction as criteria to treat musculoskeletal symptoms or Dizziness symptoms in peripheral disorders but don’t differentiate between the two.

However, we can at least appreciate that 1/4 of patients (25%) with concussion have Cervicogenic Dizziness following results of Jennifer Reneker’s work in 2015 BUT could be as high as 86% in Schneider’s work in 2014.  What do you see in the clinic?  Do you think the percentage is larger than what is presented in the research?

I hope this provides you some phenomenal information to take back to the clinic!  Overall, we can definitely rule out the cervical spine via a few tests and if you can’t rule it out, we do have some specific tests to aid in ruling in the condition.

Also—keep in mind, this data doesn’t include the plethora of information from the whiplash-associated disorder diagnoses either!  You will see a future post on this data so sign up for email alerts! If you’re seeing head injury patients, post-concussion syndrome, and even whiplash and do not address the cervical spine, I hope this post gives you credence to examine it further.


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the authors (husband–a manual therapist a wife—a vestibular specialist), teach a very unique course combining both the theory and practice of vestibular and manual principles in their 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the 1st day includes the “Optimal Sequence Algorithm”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the assessment of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes the appropriate ruling-out process and cervical examination of the articular and non-articular systems. Also pertinent to this blog post, the 2nd day includes the “Physio Blend”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the management of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes treatments of the articular and non-articular system of manual therapy and the most updated sensorimotor exercise regimen.

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for more information.

Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

5 reasons to take our Cervicogenic Dizziness Course

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

1. Cervicogenic Dizziness is more prevalent than you think

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

Nowadays, most people think of Cervicogenic Dizziness of arising after a concussion.  We can’t forget the higher percentage of patients suffering from Cervicogenic Dizziness after a whiplash, other mild traumatic brain injuries and patients with cervical arthritis.  If you see patients with neck pain, then they could have Cervicogenic Dizziness and you need this class!  Oh, and don’t forget the double entity of Cervicogenic Dizziness with your patients with BPPV.  Could this be the reason their symptoms come back??

2. Treatment for Cervicogenic Dizziness is MUCH more than just Mulligan Approach

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

You can’t disregard the highest level of evidence in randomized controlled trials by Susan Reid and her colleagues in the successful treatment of Cervicogenic Dizziness.  We definitely go over and teach the powerful effects of this approach! However, if you read outside the physical therapy literature, you will find a copious amount of success in the treatment of Cervicogenic Dizziness from the Chiropractic works, Acupuncture Works,  ENTs, Audiologists,  and even from Medical Physicians.  With over 600 referenced articles in our course, we cover it all to give you the best of the best in all around treatments for Cervicogenic Dizziness.  If you want to know how to treat the upper cervical spine joints and fascial points manually and then with follow up exercises, all in one class, this is perfect for you!

3. You will be taught by both a Vestibular Specialist and a Manual Specialist

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo,

When my wife and I decided to put together our course, it was both exciting to bring our “two fields” together but challenging!  As a manual trained therapist, I have a different “lens” than she does, and as a vestibular therapist, she has a different “lens” than I do.  This is what makes our course both unique and personable!  You will not find this combination to bring you the best of the best in treatment of Cervicogenic Dizziness anywhere else.

4. Sensorimotor Training is the future of Physical Therapy

 

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo Courses

For anyone keeping up with trends and advanced in literary works, you will notice that much more data and evidence is arising for the benefit of Sensorimotor Training.  Considering the cause of Cervicogenic Dizziness is due to disruption in multiple systems with ultimate failure in the proprioceptive system, you cannot fully treat this condition without Sensorimotor Training.  Not only do we teach this approach after our manual therapies, but we have specific approaches and exercise programs for your patients suffering from Cervicogenic Dizziness.

5. Cervicogenic Dizziness is brushed on in your Vestibular and Manual Courses

Cervical Vertigo, Cervicogenic Dizziness

When my wife and I came together to write our > 300 page manuscript for our Cervicogenic Dizziness Course, we ultimately realized that Cervicogenic Dizziness was just brushed at the surface in both of our advanced training.  Therefore, we brought together a course that is perfect for a “vestibular” OR “manual” therapist that has the most detail and up to date information for any clinician.  If you “think” your patient has this condition or seeing a trend, you ultimately need to take the course to treat it most effectively.  Be the expert in both at your clinic!

$100 off 2018 courses ends July 6 for Richmond, VA and July 10 for Hawaii!  Sign up now to save money!


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the authors (husband–a manual therapist a wife—a vestibular specialist), teach a very unique course combining both the theory and practice of vestibular and manual principles in their 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the 1st day includes the “Optimal Sequence Algorithm”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the assessment of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes the appropriate ruling-out process and cervical examination of the articular and non-articular systems. Also pertinent to this blog post, the 2nd day includes the “Physio Blend”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the management of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes treatments of the articular and non-articular system of manual therapy and the most updated sensorimotor exercise regimen.

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for more information.

Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Cervical ROM Asymmetry in Cervicogenic Dizziness

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

Flexion Rotation Test, AA, C1-2, Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

As much as I do not like the word asymmetrical in regards to musculoskeletal care for many reasons, we cannot neglect its role in the history of our profession.  Historically, clinicians would eye-ball range of motion and even use palpation to determine deficits side to side with resultant definitions and/or descriptions to the patient that could be the reason for his/her symptoms.  We all know the reliability and validity of these measures have their own downfalls and with advanced scientific scrutiny of our own tests, these methods are dying out.  However, there is one test that has been shown to be valid, reliable and useful in the differential diagnosis of certain conditions.  This test is the Flexion Rotation Test.

Back in 2004, Hall & Robinson were the first (to my knowledge) to study and cite the Flexion Rotation test in a comparative measurement study for Cervicogenic Headache.  This test has stood the test of time and continues to be highly valuable in studies examining the upper cervical spine.  I wrote a 3 part series on it over 8 years ago (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) and still use it consistently to this day!  Even though the Flexion Rotation Test has been validated in Cervicogenic Headache and continues to be a major player in a battery of examination tools for Musculosketal dysfunction in Migraines, its role in diagnosing Cervicogenic Dizziness as a valid measure is lacking.

The purpose of the Flexion Rotation Test is to measure the mobility at the atlanto-axial (AA) joint, which of course is in the upper cervical spine complex.  It encompasses 50% of the rotation of the cervical spine and a major musculotendinous attachment point. Even though the neurophysiology of nocioception from the upper cervical spine to produce Cervicogenic Headaches is more common, there is a plethora of information on the proprioceptive neurophysiology from the upper cervical spine to produce Cervicogenic Dizziness.

Most recently, Quek et al 2013 sought out whether the upper cervical spine rotation ROM asymmetry is associated with postural stability.  The authors found Cervical Flexion-rotation ROM asymmetry group had greater postural sway and from a statistical analysis viewpoint, the study emphasizes the need to consider Cervical Flexion-rotation-ROM asymmetry as an independent predictor of standing balance, over and above the influence of neck pain intensity.  This is a powerful statement and considering we are dealing with altered orientation, dysequilibrum, and unsteadiness with Cervicogenic Dizziness; we can’t ignore this striking finding on correlating postural stability with AA mobility.

However, for MORE diagnostic power in evidence-based practice, we need MORE than just conjecture from basic science and relating range of motion to postural stability.

The clinical reasoning process to diagnose Cervicogenic Dizziness takes the basic science, add a screening process via the Optimal Sequence Algorithm , obtain the appropriate subjective and other objective testing measures—including the Flexion Rotation Test—and BAM…make the clinical diagnosis…doesn’t this count as validation?

Honestly this is what we currently have in regards to using the Flexion Rotation Test for Cervicogenic Dizziness.  We don’t have a true validation study as we do with Cervicogenic Headaches, but we do have some more oomph from the ivory towers to help make our decision.  To assist with our argument, we have case reports (Gargano et al 2012), case series (Escaloni et al 2018Jung et al 2017) Delphi Study (Reneker et al 2015), case control study (Morgan CD et al 2015), reviews (Cheever K et al 2016) and position statement (Harmon et al 2013).  These literary works all discuss and/or use the Flexion Rotation Test for Cervicogenic Dizziness.

One thing I want to point across is the lack of validation of a test does not mean you can’t make inferences.  With basic science input from C0-3 and several studies demonstrating the abnormal findings of C1-2 via the Flexion Rotation Test relating to patients with dizziness, we can’t ignore this excellent test.  Use it but use it with strong clinical reasoning for your patients with dizziness to determine how much could be musculoskeletal in nature.


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the authors (husband–a manual therapist a wife—a vestibular specialist), teach a very unique course combining both the theory and practice of vestibular and manual principles in their 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the 1st day includes the “Optimal Sequence Algorithm”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the assessment of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes the appropriate ruling-out process and cervical examination of the articular and non-articular systems. 

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for more information.

Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Sensorimotor Impairment Treatment in Concussion and Whiplash Patients

Cervicogenic Dizziness, Cervical Vertigo

It is now well know the correlation between symptoms and physiological effects that are sustained following patients who suffered from concussion and whiplash.  Even though there are still apparent differences clinically, we can now feel comfortable to lump these two conditions together.  It may surprise some readers — but in this article — and most likely in the medical literature in the future — we will collectively call the injury a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Galea and colleagues just came out with a Meta-Analysis in 2018 to determine whether persistence of sensorimotor or physiological impairment exists between 4 weeks to 6 months post injury.  More than likely the clinicians reading this article will see a patient suffering from symptoms > 10 days following the injury for definition  of post-mTBI symptoms, but could be between 4-12 weeks so your patient fits in nicely in the objective.  More than likely we are seeing them for dizziness, headaches, neck pain, difficulty concentrating, etc.

For those interested in reading the entire analysis, feel free to reach out to me for article, but for blog purposes; here is the conclusion:

Findings demonstrate that persistence of sensorimotor and physiological changes beyond expected recovery times following subacute mTBI in an adult population is possible. These findings have implications for post-injury assessment and management.

Big points I want to you to get out of this conclusion.

Firstly, the “is possible” statement from first glance isn’t conclusive at all—but for a meta-analysis—I will take it!

Secondly, and reason we aim for to read and perform research, is this statement, “these findings have implications for post-injury assessment and management“.

The assessment and management of this very complicated and the challenging condition of mTBI is beyond what can be written in words.  In fact, my wife and I teach 16 HOURS worth of updated and modern content to make you more confident in treating someone suffering from mTBI who has Cervicogenic Dizziness / Cervical Vertigo.  This doesn’t even include the science and application of treating the other symptoms!

We do know that the presentation of a patient who could have Cervicogenic Dizziness / Cervical Vertigo is much more than someone who has suffered a recent mTBI; but this Meta-Analysis has huge implications for our instructional content and approach.  In fact, a large percentage of our course is dedicated to the assessment and management of Sensorimotor changes.

Doesn’t this last bolded statement correlate nicely with the latest highest-level evidence from Galea et al that was quoted above?

If you’re looking to maximize your patient’s outcomes—check out a course near you!


You can learn more about the screening and treatment process of Cervicogenic Dizzinesss through Integrative Clinical Concepts, where the authors (husband–a manual therapist a wife—a vestibular specialist), teach a very unique course combining both the theory and practice of vestibular and manual principles in their 2-day course.  Pertinent to this blog post, the 2nd day includes the “Physio Blend”, a multi-faceted physiotherapist approach to the management of Cervicogenic Dizziness, which includes treatments of the articular and non-articular system of manual therapy and the most updated sensorimotor exercise regimen.

If you would like to host a course for your staff (either a vestibular, neuro, sports or ortho clinic), please do not hesitate to contact me at harrisonvaughanpt@gmail.com for more information.

Authors

Harrison N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopracic, FAAOMPT    

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts

Danielle N. Vaughan, PT, DPT, Vestibular Specialist  

Instructor: Cervicogenic Dizziness for Integrative Clinical Concepts