Cervical vertigo and head drop any ideas?

Dear all,
Is there anyone out there with experience of cervical vertigo? This is different to BPPV, it lasts for hours, several times a day, every day! This is my mother’s experience, she also suffers with head drop especially when tired, I believe these are linked.
Mum has advanced PD, diagnosed 17yrs. For years she has complained of “dizziness” which was thought to be postural hypotension. The BP is now under control but the dizzy, faint feeling continues which we now realise is vertigo as the room spins and she fears to walk far for fear of falling.
We were referred to neuro physio who did a thorough phone assessment. Physio was very sympathetic and it was she who first mentioned cervical vertigo which I hadn’t heard of before. On googling it, I realised that this is exactly what mum is experiencing!
Mum is housebound because of all this, the neuro physio referred us to community physio team. Someone from community physio rang up 2 days later and I explained above. Her attitude was very different, i.e. what do u need us for?! She said she would get back to us. I have heard nothing since!
How do I get mum a proper assessment when she cannot leave the house and is suffering every day?
As a layman I have tried what seems sensible. Using warm wheatbags on her neck and gently massaging neck and shoulders. This seems to provide a measure of relief.
Any other bright ideas out there?
Thanks for reading this far.
Regards Abi


Hello abi1
Your mother’s circumstances sound absolutely awful and by default it will be hard for you to sit by and not know how to help.
I would say here and now that cervical vertigo is not something I am familiar with but in an effort to give you something to go on, I asked my personal trainer this morning what she thought. She said it might not be cervical vertigo but could be something like labyrinithis
or a vestibular problem or indeed another cause altogether - see the links above

I think your mother needs to be properly assessed and suggest in the first instance that you contact your mother’s consultant or the Parkinson’s nurse to see what they can do to help or at least signpost you to an appropriate specialist - you may need to go back to your GP for the referral to be made but it would help if you knew what specialist was needed.

I also think it is worth giving the helpdesk a call, they may have some other ideas or resources you can make use of and I thinking speaking to someone may in itself lighten the load for you a little even if only temporarily.

I am sorry I can’t offer you anything more concrete but I don’t know much about this and I don’t want to give you incorrect information. I hope this will at least give you something to work with as a starting point to getting your mother properly assessed which is what I think is really needed.

I wish I could do more. Please let us know how you get on, it might well be that others are struggling with similar issues.

Hi Tot
Thank you for that helpful reply and the link.
I will persevere!

1 Like

Hello again abi1
My trainer has just sent a message saying she would be asking for a spinal scan and ear investigations to try and establish a precise diagnosis. You might want to ask about this if no-one suggests it.

Oh that is so good of your trainer to take an interest!
Thank you both!
Regards Abi

DearTot and others who may find this interesting.
A quick update on where we are currently with this issue.
To cut saga short, community physio did eventually do home visit. She was good, assessed mum’s mobility and provided a small frame for her to use upstairs. Discussed the vertigo but reluctant to suggest anything as mum had no official diagnosis from a doctor.
Still trying to cut saga short. We went around in circles trying to get her seen at home by a doctor. The best the surgery could offer was to send one of their paramedics. This person took her her BP, (which happened to be low that day) stated it was hypotension and left saying they would speak to someone. Anyway, after unsuccessful phone consultation, I made contact with SimplyHealth. My parents have a policy with them and they provide online aches and pains assessments via video link.
We had a very successful video call with the professional, who wasn’t a doctor, but still good. He could see her neck and asked lots of questions. In the end he sent us videos and pdf of exercises to do. These exercises encourage her to move her neck in every direction. She will have to do these several times a day for some weeks. I have been helping her as she doesn’t always have the energy or inclination to do them. Her neck is still stiff but it is loosening up. Most importantly of all, she says that she feels that it is helping with the vertigo symptoms! :slight_smile:
So we persevere, thanks for your support.