Home Blog Head in a Spin: The Science Behind Dizziness, Neck Pain, and Headaches

Head in a Spin: The Science Behind Dizziness, Neck Pain, and Headaches

Oct 13, 2023 -- Posted by : Dr.Harcourt

Dizziness, neck pain, and headaches are frequently experienced symptoms that may or may not coincide. While this connection does exist, this month's article will primarily center on dizziness, specifically in relation to dizziness occurring after standing.

To begin, it's crucial to highlight the common occurrence of feeling lightheaded or dizzy when transitioning to an upright position too swiftly, a phenomenon often referred to as orthostatic hypotension (OH). OH is commonly considered a benign symptom, though recent information may challenge this perception.

Let's delve into what takes place. When we're lying down, our heart doesn't have to exert as much effort as it does when we're standing; as a result, our blood pressure (BP) typically remains lower while we're in a horizontal position. Upon standing, blood initially gathers in the legs until an increase in blood pressure delivers oxygen to the brain. This process either alleviates or prevents dizziness.

Orthostatic hypotension is characterized by a drop in blood pressure of more than 20 mm Hg systolic (the upper number, reflecting the heart's full contraction), 10 mm Hg diastolic (the lower number, representing the heart at full rest), or a drop in both. Typically, this occurs within seconds to a few minutes after assuming a standing posture.

There are two categories of OH to consider—delayed OH (DOH), where symptoms don't manifest immediately but appear within three minutes of standing, and "full" OH, which is more severe and occurs right upon rising. According to a study published in the prestigious journal Neurology in 2016, researchers examined the medical records of 165 individuals who had undergone autonomic nervous system testing for dizziness. The subjects had an average age of 59, with 48 diagnosed with DOH, 42 with full OH, and 75 subjects not experiencing either condition.

During a ten-year follow-up, 54% of the DOH group progressed to OH, of which 31% developed a degenerative brain condition such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia. Those with initial DOH who also had diabetes were more likely to develop full OH vs. those without diabetes.

The early death rate in this 165 patient group was 29% for those with DOH, 64% with full OH, vs. 9% for those with neither diagnosed condition. The authors point out that those initially diagnosed with DOH who did NOT progress into full OH were given treatment that may have improved their blood pressure.

The authors state that a premature death might be avoided by having DOH and OH diagnosed and properly managed as early as possible. They point out that a prospective study is needed since this study only looked back at medical records of subjects who had nervous system testing performed at a specialized center, and therefore, these findings may not apply to the general population.

The value of this study is that this is the FIRST time a study described OH (or DOH) as a potentially serious condition with recommendations NOT to take OH/DOH lightly or view it as a benign condition. Since doctors see this a lot, a closer evaluation of the patient is in order.

So, if you are interested in no longer chasing your tail on the pain gerbil wheel and type in pain management near me or chiropractor near me, you may find Coast Chiropractic Centers with Dr. Timothy Harcourt, me, comes up. 

You may wonder, “Is There a Better Way to Address Actually Fixing the Cause of the Pain?”

Once you have experienced the frustration of simply covering over the pain temporarily, you may be more enlightened to the idea of fixing the problem and then keep it that way. Some around you say one description of such an approach is called wellness care.


Call me, Dr. Tim Harcourt, at Coast Chiropractic Centers at (239) 278-3344 or stop by on your day off if we’re near you for a walk in visit and mention this article for an awesome discounted first visit to include history, exam, and adjustment or Class IV high-intensity laser treatment. So if you find yourself experiencing lower back pain while running or doing physical activities.

If you feel like a gerbil on a perpetual pain wheel and you know it is negatively affecting your quality of life and keeping you from enjoying walks at Fort Myers Beach, playing golf, tennis, pickle ball or others, come see us at Coast Chiropractic Centers located on 7270 College Parkway. 

Schedule Your Appointment Here

Coast Chiropractic Centers Map

If you would like to avoid getting back pain in the first place or to take a proactive approach to your health and wellness nearby, our membership program called Club C may be just the thing for you with great cost savings, convenience, and even more importantly, a plan to get your health back and keep it.

Don't let back pain stop you from enjoying the beautiful SWFL!  Dr. Tim Harcourt is here to give you the relief you need. 


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