Vertigo & Osteopathy

“Osteopathy can improve the symptoms and causes of vertigo by improving the drainage of fluids to and from the head..”

Vertigo is a feeling of rotational dizziness where one senses their head or surrounding environment is moving and/or spinning.  The body is able to sense position and motion through the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve eight) which sends messages from the inner ear to the brain.  

Causes of vertigo include, and are not limited too:

  • specific changes in the position of one’s head.
  • trauma to the head.
  • inner ear problem affecting the vestibulocochlear nerve and/or the otolith organs (which contain crystals that provide sensitivity to gravity).
  • vestibular neuronitis (affecting the nerve of the inner ear).
  • meniere’s disease.
  • benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) (vertigo triggered by specific positions of your head).

Osteopathy can improve the symptoms and causes of vertigo by improving the drainage of fluids to and from the head so there’s no back-log in pressure.  For example, imagine a kink in your garden hose, with continued fluid pressure would result in a pressure build up that continues to build until the area of blockage has been removed or alleviated.  Osteopathy looks at each layer of the body from the superficial fascia layer to the muscular tissue layer to the bony tissues. An osteopathic treatment consists of gentle hands doing manual therapy to encourage body alignment and movement where movement is lacking.  Increasing movement in the tissues encourages blood flow and drainage to and from the head. For example, an Osteopath may check that all fluid pumps in the body are working as best as they can, such as the respiratory diaphragm in the belly and the superior thoracic aperture/thoracic outlet (found at the front of the chest).  Subsequently, following the tissues to find the area of most dysfunction and/or least movement and using manual therapy enabling release in each layer of tissue. This will overall encourage movement and fluid exchange to the areas of dysfunction. Through the assessment and treatment by an Osteopath, there will overall be an improvement in body mechanics leading to improved health, reduced stimulus and stimulus reaction.  

Note: Always consult your medical doctor when there are new and/or sudden onset of symptoms.


“Every part of your body is connected and works together using bony and muscular connections and the nervous system.”


Are you familiar with the rhyme: “your head-bone is connected to your butt-bone”? As funny as this may sound, it’s completely true!  Your head is connected to your butt-bone in two distinctive ways: physically and through the nervous system.

Your sacrum and coccyx is located at the very bottom of the spine, and with the help of the rest of the pelvis, it supports all of the structures above and below it.  It consists of many major muscles that assist in standing upright, bending forwards, and many other forms of movement that occur in daily life!  Poor functional movement through this area, can be caused by a restriction in the pelvic floor muscles, or altered mechanics from an accident or fall.  During pregnancy and labor the pelvic floor and abdomen go through changes that require the body to alter it’s normal weight-bearing mechanics in order to make room and support the fetus.  Changes through the body often compromises posture with increased tension rippling up the spine into the cranium (skull), affecting alignment of the body from the tip of the toes to the top of the head, and therefore overall health.

The sacrum and cranium are also connected via the parasympathetic nervous system – also known as the Rest and Digest System. This part of our nervous system kicks in when it’s time to eat, relax, and sleep.  Any tension through the muscles of the upper back, into the cervicals (neck) and into the cranium (skull) will in turn affect the lines of tension into the jaw and along the temporal and frontal lines of your forehead.  Tension or restriction in the head (including the jaw) can be caused by many factors including poor alignment from poor postural habits, an accident (such as a fall or collision), or birth which may result in altered mechanics of the pelvis, the spinal column and up into the cranium (skull).  This can lead to structural misalignment which affects the nervous system, pain perception, functional movement and overall health of the body.  

Every part of your body is connected and works together using bony and muscular connections and the nervous system.  In order to address any pain and misalignments you may be feeling in your body, the manual therapy of Osteopathy assesses and treats the body based on anatomy and physiology. This means the mechanics and functional movements of the body are assessed, and treated.  Your Manual Osteopath will work from the top of the head, to the bottom of the feet (not always in that order), and everything in between to improve overall function and mechanical alignment in the body.  Treatment is beneficial prepartum to help prepare you for birth, and postpartum for postural pain, breastfeeding difficulties, healing from c-sections, and overall health and recovery!

  • Sara Pukal, M.OMSc., is a practicing Classical Osteopath in the Scarborough Bluffs and is available by appointment, .