Understanding Cervicogenic Dizziness: How Physical Therapy Can Help

Cervicogenic dizziness is a common condition that affects many individuals, causing dizziness and a sense of imbalance. It is often overlooked and misdiagnosed, leading to prolonged suffering for those experiencing it. However, physical therapy is an effective treatment approach for managing cervicogenic dizziness. In this blog post, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and role of physical therapy in addressing this condition.

Understanding Cervicogenic Dizziness:

Cervicogenic dizziness is a type of dizziness that originates from the cervical spine, or the neck region. It occurs due to abnormalities or dysfunction in the neck structures, including the joints, muscles, or ligaments. The exact cause can vary from person to person, including whiplash injuries, poor posture, muscle imbalances, or degenerative changes in the cervical spine.


Symptoms of Cervicogenic Dizziness:

The primary symptom of cervicogenic dizziness is a persistent feeling of dizziness or unsteadiness that is typically provoked by neck movements or sustained neck postures. Other common symptoms may include neck pain, headache, reduced neck mobility, and even visual disturbances or difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can significantly impact an individual's quality of life, affecting their ability to perform daily activities.


The Role of Physical Therapy:

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the management of cervicogenic dizziness. A skilled physical therapist can perform a thorough evaluation to identify the underlying causes and develop an individualized treatment plan. Here are some ways in which physical therapy can help:


1. Manual Therapy Techniques: Physical therapists may use various hands-on techniques to address joint restrictions, muscle tightness, and soft tissue imbalances in the neck. These techniques, such as joint mobilization or soft tissue massage, aim to restore normal movement and reduce pain.


2. Exercise and Stretching: Specific exercises and stretching routines can improve neck strength, flexibility, and posture. Strengthening the supporting muscles of the neck and upper back can enhance stability and reduce strain on the cervical spine.


3. Postural Education and Ergonomics: Physical therapists educate patients about proper posture and ergonomics, both at work and during daily activities. Correcting postural habits and providing guidance on ergonomic modifications can alleviate stress on the neck and reduce dizziness symptoms.


4. Balance and Vestibular Rehabilitation: In some cases, cervicogenic dizziness may also affect the body's balance and spatial awareness. Physical therapists can incorporate balance and vestibular exercises into the treatment plan to improve coordination, stability, and reduce dizziness.


5. Home Exercise Programs: Physical therapists often provide patients with customized home exercise programs to continue their progress outside of therapy sessions. These exercises enable patients to actively participate in their recovery and maintain long-term improvements.



Cervicogenic dizziness can be a challenging condition to live with, but with the right approach, it can be effectively managed. Physical therapy offers a non-invasive, drug-free treatment option that focuses on addressing the underlying causes of the condition. By employing manual therapy techniques, exercises, postural education, and balance training, physical therapists can significantly improve the symptoms of cervicogenic dizziness and enhance the overall quality of life for individuals experiencing this condition. If you are struggling with dizziness related to the neck, consider consulting a physical therapist for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.


– Sarah Kibiloski, PT, DPT

Posted by isabellesiegrist at 7/24/2023 8:00:00 AM
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