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Case Studies - Dizziness / Vertigo / Vestibular Disorders

Female, Age 21 years, Migraine Headaches, Dizzy spells, Depression
This 21-year-old female had been suffering from 3-6 migraines per week and approximately 3 dizzy spells per week for the previous few years. She also had been suffering from depression. She had fallen and suffered a concussion 5 years prior and felt as though her health had deteriorated since that fall.

During her initial evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered, which perhaps could have been caused by the fall that also caused the concussion. After the first upper cervical adjustment, she reported noticing her symptoms improve. Within a few months, all symptoms were absent and she was able to discontinue all medications.

Female, Age 12 years, Chronic Fatigue, Migraine Headaches, Dizzy Spells, Stomach Aches, Allergies, Frequent Colds and Infections

This 12-year-old female was brought in by her mother for an upper cervical evaluation.  Her mother reported that her daughter had been chronically ill for the previous two years.  Her illness started with pneumonia for which she was hospitalized two years prior.   She reported that her daughter never regained her health - that she seemed to catch every infection and cold; that she was constantly tired; and even that she had stopped growing.  Her mother also reported that her daughter would have 'spells' in which she got a headaches, dizziness, and stomach aches all at once and that the color would drain from her face.  These spells had been increasing in frequency and her mother was very concerned about her daughter's future and whether she would ever regain her health.

During the girl's upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered.  When questioned, her mother recalled three different traumas that could have caused her daughter's neck injury - a fall from the monkey bars in which she landed on her back and head; an auto accident; and another fall in which she took a hard blow to the head.  After one week of treatment for her neck injury, the mother reported that her daughter's health was improved - that the spells of headache, dizziness, and stomach ache had greatly decreased and that her daughter appeared to have more energy.  One month later, all symptoms were greatly reduced.  Six months later, all symptoms had been absent for several months and the girl had not succumbed to any colds or infections for the past three months.  One year later, all symptoms continued to be absent; no infections had occurred; and the girl had resumed growing like any other normal teenager.

Female, Age 64 years, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)


"Vertigo (BPPV - Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) is a condition that Dr. Erin Elster has successfully resolved for me.  My experiences with this condition involved episodes of mild dizziness and nausea, which were triggered by changes in the position of my head, such as lying down or sitting up in bed and rolling to my side.  Sometimes it felt like the inside of my head was spinning. Although, I never had any neck pain associated with this condition, I felt that it might have resulted from a misalignment of my neck. I was extremely fortunate to have received an upper cervical adjustment from Dr. Elster the first time I experienced this problem and the symptoms subsided.  Periodic visits to her have kept me symptom free.  I would highly recommend Dr. Elster.  She is a gem!"

~ Pamela, Wailuku, HI

Male, Age 50 years, Dizziness, Ear Congestion, Sinus Headaches
This 50-year-old male was involved in an auto accident in 1986. One year later, he experienced a stiff neck, fatigue, dizziness, ear congestion, and ringing in his ears. The symptoms came and went for the first three months. Finally they became constant, and were aggravated during flying. He tried many types of decongestants but the problems persisted. Medical doctors had no answers for him.

During his chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was found that most likely stemmed from his auto accident. During the first two months of upper cervical care, the symptoms decreased dramatically. Several months later, he was symptom free, the first time in two years.

Female, Age 51 years, Dizziness, Labyrinthitis, Hearing Loss, Ear Congestion
This 51-year-old female suffered from her first dizzy spell in the early '80's while flying on a plane. She had a cold at the time and her ears didn't adjust to the altitude. Her ears filled with fluid so she had them drained by puncturing her eardrum. Unfortunately, the clogged ears returned and she was plagued by dizzy spells and congestion and was forced to take Drixoral on a daily basis to keep the congestion down. She also suffered from hearing loss as a result of the congestion. Prior to the first dizzy spell, she was in an auto accident in which she sustained enough injury to her neck to require a month's hospitalization. She suffered from chronic congestion and frequent dizzy spells for ten years before seeking help from upper cervical care.

During her chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered, which probably resulted from her auto accident.

After beginning upper cervical care, no further dizzy spells occurred. Her ear congestion cleared so she discontinued daily medication. She also reported having better hearing and that her ears adjusted properly to the altitude during flying.


"After the better part of a decade, I've been able to stop taking a daily decongestant thanks to Dr. Erin Elster. About 10 years ago I began having dizzy spells, possibly the result of an earlier car accident that landed me in the hospital for a month with two fractured cervical vertebrae. Doctors, however, diagnosed me as having labyrinthitis and prescribed decongestants and anti-nausea medication. The decongestants kept the dizziness at bay, but each attempt to stop taking them resulted in catching colds, including stuffy ears and returned dizziness. I did not like the prospect of relying on a decongestant for the rest of my life, and became very excited when I heard the many successful results that Dr. Elster's patients were reporting. However, having had two fractured cervical vertebrae, I was not going to let just anyone mess with my neck. It is very reassuring for me that she measures my progress with her scanner and computer system, and gives me an adjustment only when I need it. I stopped taking the decongestants immediately after my first adjustment, and am elated that the dizziness has not returned. In the past eight months, I've taken a decongestant only two days because I caught a small cold and didn't want to fly with stuffy ears. It has been worth every mile that I travel to see Dr. Elster, and I am so thankful that she's been able to eliminate the dizziness and get me off decongestants. " Debbie, Age 51

Female, Age 19 years, Headaches, Insomnia, Fatigue, Fainting Spells
At age 15, this 19-year-old female was struck by several large waves while on vacation with her family. After the waves hit her and knocked her face-down against the ocean floor, she ran out of the water with severe pain in her neck and back. While she appeared to recover, when she returned home at the end of the vacation, she began having fainting spells, where she would wake up in strange locations, not knowing what had happened. One fainting spell occurred while she was driving her car, causing her to run a red light and get hit by a bus traveling the opposite direction. After this incident, she was no longer allowed to drive. In addition to the fainting spells, she also began suffering from headaches, which escalated into a constant, daily occurrence, as well as frequent insomnia, which lead to extreme fatigue.

After consulting with several local doctors and undergoing numerous tests, including an MRI, her physicians could not find anything wrong with her and could only conclude that she had migraines and possibly psychological problems. Not accepting this, this patient and her parents searched the internet for additional help and decided to undergo an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.

During her evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered, which was likely caused by the trauma from the waves. Because this patient had traveled from a distance to undergo the evaluation, her family decided to have her stay in the area for 7 weeks to be treated. After her first upper cervical adjustment, the fainting stopped. By the second week of care, her headaches began to diminish. In addition, she began to sleep better and felt more energetic. At the end of seven weeks, all fainting, headaches, and insomnia were absent. She felt healthy, happy, and energetic.


"Dear Dr. Elster, After several weeks back at home, my daughter is still feeling well. She has not had any headaches or fainting and she feels happy and healthy. We had a party the week after she came home and all of her friends and family were excited to see her eyes so bright and full of energy. My wife and I want to thank you so much for what you did for her and for your enthusiasm and encouragement. We can hardly believe the changes in our daughter!" Ton, about his daughter, Sept '02

Male, Age 33 years, Headaches, Vertigo, Blurred Vision, Neck Pain
This 33-year-old male was rear-ended in an auto accident 5 years prior to seeking help from upper cervical care. After the accident, he felt his neck stiffen up and he suddenly required glasses to read due to blurred vision. Prior to the accident, no visual problems were reported. Three years later, he reinjured his neck when his neck suddenly spasmed to the point that he could not turn his head. He began suffering from a number of new symptoms including headaches, dizziness, worsening of his visual acuity and increased blurring, pain shooting down his right arm, loss of balance and coordination, "cracking" sounds in his neck, muscle twitches in his left leg, pressure at the base of his skull, and pain between his shoulder blades.

During his upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered, which most likely stemmed from his auto accident. After the first upper cervical adjustment, he reported a substantial improvement in all of his symptoms. Within one month, all of his symptoms were greatly improved. By two months, all symptoms were absent, including the blurred vision and the need for glasses. After his neck stabilized, he reported feeling the best he had felt in 2 years!

Female, Age 37 years, Vertigo, Labyrinthitis

"For nearly seven years, I had been living with miserable symptoms that drastically changed how I lived my daily life. There was no obvious injury so it was frustrating to understand what might be going on with my body. Initially, I did seek out traditional medical consults from family doctors, neurologist, ENT, but at the end of all the testing nothing was explaining my symptoms and therefore no cure. My symptoms included dizziness especially if I moved my head quickly, loss of balance when walking, decrease coordination, nausea which accompanied the dizziness, visual disturbances i.e. increase sensitivity to light and noise, difficulty reading words, visual distortions, lack of concentration, word finding problems, pin and needles sensation at my arms and l egs. I had some pain in my neck area but managed that with advil and massages. The relief lasted only 3 weeks at a time. Experiencing all of these symptoms made basic activities such as grocery shopping, watching a basketball or baseball game, raking in the garden very difficult and miserable. I always felt like my head was not attached to my body. I knew it had to be something involving my neck but it seemed like the physicians were not interested in looking into this area. I decided I needed to find a specialist so I began my search on the internet. Fortunately, I found Dr. Elster on the internet. After reading what her consult and treatments consisted of I knew I had finally found someone who could help me. I made an appointment for the evaluation. Upon her evaluation, she found I did have a 3 mm shift to the right at my upper cervical vertebrae. After one adjustment to my upper cervical vertebrae my symptoms decreased by 95%.

It's been nearly ten months since my first cervical spine adjustment from Dr. Elster.  What has been amazing to me is how all of the horrible symptoms, vertigo, difficulty concentrating, visual disturbances, are now 100% resolved.  I don't dread going about my day because I'm able to perform all of my regular activities without any flare-ups.  I SO appreciate the work Dr. Elster provides and can’t express enough thanks for her skills! I am grateful to her for giving me my life back!"

~ Michelle C., Age 37, LaSalle, CO 

Female, Age 60 years, Vertigo, Tinnitus
This 60-year-old female suffered from her first episode of vertigo six weeks before seeking help from upper cervical care. During this episode that lasted about one day, she was very dizzy and she threw up. Her second attack occurred one week later and was much worse; she was unable to work and went to the emergency room. MRI was negative. Since those two severe episodes, she described feeling off-balanced and nauseated, especially when moving her head quickly. She also reported experiencing tinnitus (ear ringing) and pressure in her ears for the past 6 to 7 years, which got much worse once the vertigo started.

During her evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered. She did not recall experiencing any traumas that could have caused the injury but she did report feeling neck pain and stiffness during the past year. During the first month of care, she reported noticing the resolution of the daily dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, and ear congestion. In addition, she never experienced any further severe vertigo attacks.

Female, Age 41 years, Vertigo

This 41-year-old female suffered from severe vertigo for four months before seeking help from upper cervical care. She had been through many tests and had been diagnosed with central vertigo. She thought it might have had something to do with an old whiplash injury she had suffered from a car accident several years before. She had minor vertigo episodes following the car accident but never anything that had lasted this many months. The vertigo rendered her unable to work, drive, or do anything. Her symptoms included vertigo, neck pain, tinnitis, arms numbness, "foggy" headedness, and headaches. She described her symptoms as worsening when lying down or when looking up or down.

During her initial evaluation, a neck injury was discovered. After the initial upper cervical adjustment was administered, she reported on her next visit that the vertigo was greatly reduced in that she could lie down and look up and down without triggering any vertigo. A week later, she resumed working and driving. Her symptoms continued to resolve with continued treatment over several months until her neck injury had completely stabilized and all symptoms were absent.

Female, Age 29 years, Vertigo
This 29-year-old female suffered with vertigo for five years before seeking help from upper cervical care. She recalled that the first vertigo attack occurred two months following a bad fall snowboarding in which she hit her head and broke her wrist. She described her symptoms as fluctuating over the past five years, yet there were some events such as being sick or exercising hard that always triggered vertigo. In addition to feeling dizzy, she also felt ringing, stuffiness, and throbbing in her left ear during vertigo attacks.

During her initial evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that could have been caused by the snowboarding fall. She also recalled being involved in two auto accidents that preceded the first episode of vertigo, so the injury could have been caused by either of those as well. After the first upper cervical adjustment, she noticed the lessening of vertigo and ear symptoms. After three months of care, her neck injury stabilized and no further vertigo attacks occurred.

Male, Age 34 years, Severe Neck Pain, Headaches, Dizziness
This 34-year-old male was hit hard on the head by his garage door. One month later, he woke up with severe pain in his neck and base of his skull, headaches, and dizziness. He went to the emergency room and multiple tests were performed including MRI's, Xrays, and a spinal tap. He was told that his tests were normal and he was prescribed heavy doses of pain killers including vicadin, which did not alleviate his pain. After seeing a neurosurgeon, who told him there was nothing that could be done, he saw another neurologist, who prescribed more pain medications and steroid anti-inflammatories. His pain was rated as a 5 or 6 on the 1-10 scale daily and the pain medications weren't working. Finally, he took Imitrex, which lessened the pain somewhat, so he took one every morning and one every night. He eventually sought help from a naturopath who referred him for an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.

At the time of his initial upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, he had suffered from daily neck pain, headaches, and dizziness for six straight weeks. During his evaluation, an injury in his upper neck was discovered, which had likely stemmed from the blow to the head by the garage door. Within a month of care, all of his pain, headaches, and dizziness were absent. Months later, his condition remained stable and no symptoms were reported.

Female, Age 42 years, Benign Positional Vertigo
This 42-year-old female suffered from vertigo for one year prior to seeking help from upper cervical care. She underwent numerous tests and was told she had a fluid imbalance in her left ear. The vertigo occurred most frequently when she turned her head to the left, when she flexed her head forward, and when she extended her head. She had continuous trouble with vertigo and the only medical answers were to attempt some balance exercises during vertigo attacks. She claims these exercises rarely lessened the vertigo episodes.

During her upper cervical chiropractic evalution, an upper neck injury was discovered that was causing the vertigo. She recalled several accidents that could have caused the neck injury including an auto accident, a ski accident, and a fall. All accidents had occurred within 5 years prior to the vertigo onset. Within one month of upper cervical chiropractic care, all vertigo was absent.

Female, Age 29 years, Vertigo, Labyrinthitis
This 29-year-old female suffered from vertigo for two years prior to seeking help from upper cervical care. Her initial attacks resulted in visits to the emergency room where the physicians gave her medications for seasickness. Eventually it was discovered that she had hearing loss in her left ear and she was diagnosed with labyrinthitis. She also complained of pain in her neck and back that had occurred for at least seven years.

During her upper cervical chiropractic evalution, an upper neck injury was discovered. When questioned as to past traumatic events that could have caused the neck injury, she recalled several falls during skiing, snowboarding, and rollerblading, as well as one incident where a hammer fell on her head. After the initial upper cervical adjustment, the vertigo and hearing loss lessened. Within a few weeks, all evidence of vertigo was absent.

Female, Age 26 years, Vertigo, Neck Pain, Headaches, Back Pain
This 26-year-old female was standing on a chair in her storage shed reaching for an item on the top shelf when she fell backwards off the chair and hit her head. She took most of the blow on the left side of her body and the left side of her head. She immediately began experiencing headaches. Three weeks later, she started experiencing vertigo, which began chronic. She also experienced pain in her neck and back. During her upper cervical chiropractic exam, an upper neck injury was discovered which probably stemmed from the blow to her head from the fall. After only a single upper cervical adjustment, all headaches, vertigo, neck pain, and back pain healed within two weeks and never returned.

Female, Age 38 years, Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), Dizziness
This 38-year-old female started experienced TN pain for 3 years. It began with a "shock" sensation above her lip and eventually moved throughout the right side of her face and forehead. She was initially prescribed 200mg of Neurontin (nerve pain medication) and eventually increased up to 1800mg per day to try to reduce the pain. Even while taking 1800mg of Neurontin per day, she experienced excruciating pain on the right side of her face and forehead. She also experienced dizzy spells, ear ringing, and hearing loss on the right. Medical doctors had no answers other than to suggest surgery to possibly impact the involved nerves and blood vessels.

During this patient's upper cervical exam, a neck injury was found. When questioned as to possible traumatic causes of the injury from her medical history, she recalled experiencing a blow to her head shortly before the onset of the TN pain and her other symptoms. This blow to her head most likely caused the upper cervical injury. After several months of upper cervical care to correct the upper neck injury, she was pain-free, and gradually reduced her pain medication. The dizziness, ear ringing, and hearing loss were also absent after upper cervical care.

Female, Age 49 years, Dizziness, Chronic Fatigue
This 49-year-old female suffered from dizziness and chronic fatigue syndrome for 5 years. Both symptoms occurred on a daily basis. She tried many forms of therapy including chelation with hydrogen peroxide and vitamin C but showed the same high Epstein Barr titers in follow-up tests.

During her chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. When questioned as to possible traumatic events in her past that could have caused the neck injury, she remembered falling head over heels down her basement stairs approximately five years prior (the same time her symptoms started). She also was involved in an accident two years prior in which her car air bag deployed accidentally. After her first upper cervical adjustment, all dizzy spells stopped. She also noticed experiencing more restful sleep and better energy throughout the day. One month later, she had no reoccurrence of symptoms.

Female, Age 23 years, Migraine Headaches, Dizzy Spells
Three years prior to upper cervical chiropractic care, this 23-year-old female fell down a flight of stairs. One month after the fall, she started suffering from migraines and began having them regularly for three years. She also suffered from neck pain that was most severe upon extension. In addition, she experienced frequent dizzy spells that lasted for several seconds and caused her to bump into walls. She tried many drugs such as Prozac and pain medications and therapies such as biofeedback but nothing helped.

During her initial chiropractic exam, an upper cervical injury was found, perhaps stemming from her fall down the stairs. After two months of upper cervical care, she was free of migraines, dizziness, and neck pain.

Female, Age 28 years, Dizziness, Neck Pain
This 28-year-old female suffered from dizzy spells for approximately one year, and they had been increasing in frequency. Her neurologist ordered an MRI and there were no significant findings. She also suffered from neck and shoulder pain. Her medical history included an auto accident in which she was thrown forward against the windshield. Her symptoms (dizziness, neck pain, shoulder pain) began approximately one year after the auto accident.

During this patient's initial upper cervical chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was found. After only being adjusted twice, she was free of dizziness and pain and remained symptom-free years later.

Male, Age 54 years, Dizziness
This 54-year-old male reported experiencing dizzy spells for approximately 8 years. The episodes started happening approximately 2-3 times a year increasing in frequency each year. The dizzy spells occurred multiple times per month, especially when turning his head to the right or when looking up. He became dizzy to the point where he feared falling over.

During his chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was discovered. After 3 weeks of upper cervical care, the episodes of dizziness completely stopped and he could turn freely to the right and look up without discomfort.

Male, Age 62 years, Dizziness, Nausea
This 62-year-old male suffered from dizzy spells and nausea for approximately one year before seeking help from upper cervical care. The dizziness and nausea occurred most frequently when he tipped his head back or when turning his head from side to side. He also suffered from frequent headaches and sub-occipital neck pain. In addition, he noticed an increased incidence of fatigue in that he was unable to work as long as previously could.

During his initial chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. When questioned as to his medical history of any accidents that could have injured his neck, he recalled several falls and auto accidents in his past. After the first upper cervical adjustment, the dizzy spells, nausea, and headaches decreased in frequency and severity. One month later, all symptoms were absent and never returned.

Female, Age 28 years, Head Injury
While riding her bike, this 28-year-old female cyclist was hit by a motorcycle. She flew over her handlebars and landed on her head, causing a concussion. Her symptoms included dizziness, ringing in the ears, headaches, fatigue, nausea, spinal pain, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and loss of balance which all caused her to be out of work for the year prior to seeking help from upper cervical care.

During her intial evaluation, an upper cervical injury was found, most likely stemming from her head trauma. After several months of care, she returned to work due to increased ability to concentrate and increased energy and mental clarity. Her symptoms of dizziness and nausea were greatly reduced. Two years later, she occasionally has minor flare-ups but in general has the ability to exercise, work, balance family and friends, and lead a busy life.


"In March 1996, I was traveling downhill on my bicycle when a motorcycle came shooting out of the alley in front of me. The impact launched me some 20-30 feet and I landed on my head. I was wearing a helmet, and was extremely fortunate to be alive, but I was unprepared for what having a head and neck injury meant. It was like jumping from the age of 26 to 86 in a split second. I walked in circles trying to remember what I was doing. Stairs were difficult; reading was extremely difficult; crossing the street was frightening; I had trouble finding words; I had trouble organizing written thoughts; grocery stores were a nightmare; noise and commotion was painful and brought on nausea. But the most difficult part was that I had no energy and pushing myself in any way made me extremely sick. Trying to work a 40-hour week brought on symptoms. By Tuesday afternoon, I would feel so nauseous and my head would hurt so severely that all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and hide from the world. Any sort of exercise made me nauseous, faint, and unsteady. Where I had always been able to overcome any obstacle, I was running into a brick wall. Of course, colleagues and those medical personal unfamiliar with head injury all believed that I could get better if I wanted to, that this was all psychosomatic. But I had a sense that circulation or something was being blocked, so I kept looking for someone who could help. I first saw Dr. Elster in June. My x-rays showed that my top vertebrae were out of alignment. Having it adjusted made all the difference-- and my last adjustment held for 2 months. I am myself again. Exercise feels like it used to-- it brings me energy rather than draining it. I can balance career and home, and go to a restaurant, and see friends, all in the same week. I can't tell you how much it makes me smile to say this." Tania, age 28, November '97

Female, Age 50 years, Vertigo, Disembarkment Syndrome
This 50-year-old female suffered from chronic vertigo for 3 years. She had occasional episodes during the five years prior-one on a houseboat, another while riding an escalator. The ENT doctor performed many tests and located excessive fluid in her right ear and hearing loss. She also experienced frequent ear ringing and a fullness or plugged sensation in her ears.

After seeing many specialists, she was diagnosed with Meniere's disease but her diagnosis was later changed to disembarkment syndrome since her vertigo symptoms felt like she had just disembarked from a boat. Vertigo occurred on a daily basis with some days worse than others. Medical specialists had no treatment to offer her other than recommending practicing walking in a straight line, balancing with her eyes closed, or walking backwards. They also prescribed diuretics to try to reduce the fluid in her ear; however each subsequent hearing test showed a worsening in hearing loss. Often, she attempted to go running during vertigo episodes to practice her balance but became extremely nauseated. This patient also suffered from frequent neck pain for ten years. Consequently, her doctors recommended injections into her neck hoping her vertigo would be helped. While some of the neck pain lessened, there was no effect upon the vertigo.

During this patient's initial upper cervical chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered. When questioned about accidents in her medical history that could have caused the neck injury, she recalled 3 concussions from horse back riding in her past. One of the concussions, in which she was thrown head first into the ground off of her horse, caused convulsions and amnesia at the time. After her first upper cervical adjustment, the neck pain and vertigo episodes decreased in frequency and severity. She described herself as having "many good days in a row" without vertigo or neck pain episodes. Several months later, most of her symptoms were absent. Any episodes of vertigo or pain were mild and infrequent.

Male, Age 50 years, Dizziness, Ear Congestion, Sinus Headaches
This 50-year-old male was involved in an auto accident in 1986. One year later, he experienced a stiff neck, fatigue, dizziness, ear congestion, and ringing in his ears. The symptoms came and went for the first three months. Finally they became constant, and were aggravated during flying. He tried many types of decongestants but the problems persisted. Medical doctors had no answers for him.

During the first two months of upper cervical care, the symptoms decreased dramatically. Several months later, he was symptom free, the first time in two years.

Female, Age 52 years, Whiplash, Pain, Dizziness, Anxiety, Numbness
This 52-year-old female was involved in an auto accident six months prior to upper cervical care in which she was hit sideways at 45 miles per hour. For six months, she experienced numbness of her face, blurred vision, headaches, ear ringing, anxiety, dizziness, loss of sleep, and neck and mid back pain. She tried general chiropractic care and had some relief but the results were temporary. After suffering for six months, she tried upper cervical care.

After a careful analysis of her neck injury from the auto accident, she received her first adjustment. After the first adjustment, she reported that her anxiety was cut in half, she had no headaches, her ear popped open and the ringing stopped, she slept better, the pain was reduced, and dizziness stopped. One week later, all symptoms were corrected except for some slight numbness in her face. Two weeks later, the numbness healed as well. Months later, she remained symptom-free.

Male, Age 59 years, Meniere's disease, Vertigo, Migraine Headache

This 59-year-old  male had suffered for years with Meniere's disease and migraine headaches.  The Meniere's disease started 6 years prior and included ringing, hearing loss, and pressure in his left ear.  His vision was also involved and fluctuated between blurred and clear vision.  While his symptoms were present constantly, he also suffered from Meniere's attacks where he would be so dizzy that he was unable to walk.  These attacks usually lasted several hours and he often vomited.  He complained of long-standing neck pain in which he had reduced ranges of motion.  The migraines had been occurring since childhood.  He tried many treatments and medications but the symptoms persisted and even worsened.  He was elated when a friend mentioned upper cervical care as a possibility for treatment.

During his upper cervical evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that was causing both his Meniere's disease and his migraine headaches.  He recalled a very severe auto accident that had occurred as a teenager in which he suffered a concussion and whiplash; this accident could have caused his neck injury, he surmised.  He began upper cervical care to correct his neck and noticed improvement - less dizziness and clearer vision - in the first week.  Within 2 months, all of the dizziness and headaches were substantially reduced.  Within 6 months, all symptoms were absent and his hearing was restored.

Male, Age 40 years, Dizziness, Vertigo, Nausea, Swallowing Discomfort

This 40-year-old male complained of dizziness, vertigo, nausea, loss of balance, and swallowing discomfort for the previous 2 months.  He described his symptoms as starting after he was working out at the gym.  He thought of one incident - he placed the squat bar on his neck instead of his shoulders - that could have injured his neck and caused his symptoms.  He was interested in undergoing an upper cervical evaluation to see whether a neck injury had occurred and whether his neck was the source of his symptoms.

During his evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered through thermography and radiography.  He began treatment to correct his neck and noticed an immediate improvement in his symptoms.  After undergoing treatment for one month, his neck was stabilized and all symptoms were absent.


Female, Age 29 years, Dizziness

This 29-year-old female fell on the ice and hit the back of her head two years prior.  She didn't think anything of it at the time, but then she experienced her first attack of severe dizziness one month later.  She recalled that she sat up in bed and passed out; then she woke up and vomited.  Then she began experiencing dizziness everyday.  She started vestibular and vision therapy and had some occassional better days but the dizziness continued to worsen overall.  She sought help from doctors who performed a variety of tests, including MRI, but they all told her that nothing was wrong with her.  She began to suffer from anxiety about her chronic dizziness.

At the time of her upper cervical evaluation appointment, she reported that she had suffered with dizziness on a daily basis for the previous 2 years.  During her evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that was most likely caused by the fall on the ice.  After receiving treatment, she reported an immediate lessening in the severity of the dizziness.  Within a couple of months of treatment, her neck was stabilized and all dizziness was absent.

Female, Age 54 years, Meniere's Disease

This 54-year-old female was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease 2 years prior.  She complained of stuffiness in her left ear, left-sided hearing loss, blurred vision, and constant dizziness.  She also suffered from memory loss and loss of focus.  She reported that once per week she would suffer from a more severe episode of dizziness that rendered her incapable of doing anything; she would need to lie down and rest and wait for it to pass.  In order to drive, she took Benadryl.  She had wondered whether her neck was involved because her range of motion was reduced.  She reported that she had been involved in some 'fenderbenders' and wondered whether any of those accidents had injured her neck. 

During her evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered through thermography and radiography.  Due to the nature of her injury, it was surmised that one (or more) of her auto accidents had contributed to her neck injury.  She began upper cervical care and noticed immediate improvement in her symptoms during the initial weeks of care.  After undergoing care for several months and also working on strengthening her neck, her neck began to stabilize and the Meniere's disease was markedly improved.  Ultimately, after more healing time, her neck completely stabilized and the Meniere's disease was absent.

Female, Age 53 years, Chronic Fatigue, Vertigo, Disembarkment Syndrome


“Approximately 15 years ago, I started experiencing extreme fatigue. I have always been a very active, on-the-go type of personality.  Suddenly, I found myself unable to lift my head off the pillow in the mornings.  My muscles ached to where I labored in even just trying to stand up, let alone walk.  I began to have difficulty remembering things and sometimes had trouble putting my thoughts into intelligent sentences.

My fatigue continued to worsen and I began contacting all of the known chronic fatigue specialists I could locate in my area but the long periods of fatigue continued for roughly 4 more years.  Then, I came down with a couple of new symptoms to my existing list – vertigo, blinding headaches and increased fatigue.

Once again, medical specialists performed a litany of tests on me.  Tests for vertigo and inner ear infections and disorders were performed to no avail.  Results again negative.  I was told at the time it could be MS or even a brain tumor.  I was given MRI’s, CT scans and EKG’s; all negative.  The resulting diagnosis was Disembarkment Syndrome and the treatment prescribed was physical therapy – therapy such as stationary bicycle work, balancing on foam pads and many other things to try to get my sense of balance back.

The vertigo was a recurring symptom when encountering some of the most basic and simple functions in life, such as riding in a vehicle, walking through crowds, watching a movie in a theater or even television.  Grocery shopping became a chore to avoid because of the crowded aisles or even being able to negotiate the cart straight down the rows.  I could not ride any form of public transportation, light rail, buses, airplanes or boats.  I could not even ride a bicycle, walk on a treadmill or even swim due to the motion generated from all of these activities.  Again, more physical therapy was prescribed.

Next, I went to see a naturopathic physician.  My lab results indicated to him that my mercury level was too high.  I then endured a chelating and cleansing program with extreme changes to my diet.  My vertigo continued however, even after being declared mercury-free.

After that, more trips to chiropractors as well as x-rays and more tests for MS and brain tumors; nothing helped and all tests were negative.  It was recommended at this time that I attend a support group counseling session (just in case it was all in my head) where everyone sits around and shares their stories and thoughts about why they feel so miserable.  Not only does the physical pain and the resulting limitations put unbearable stress on what’s left of your daily life, but at some point throughout this whole process, the mental strain of it all partners with the physical and attacks you from both sides.

Overcome with despair, my husband and I agreed we would go anywhere to find someone, anyone who could offer even an ounce of relief for me.  I searched the internet for just the right fit and by the grace of God, I found Dr. Erin Elster’s website.  I could not believe my good fortune to have found someone who was actually describing me and my symptoms and who was treating people suffering from some of the same ailments I had endured for years!  I was beside myself with renewed hope for relief, finally!

I scheduled my first appointment with Dr. Elster.  After very specialized diagnostic tests were performed, Dr. Elster was able to pinpoint where my upper neck and skull were misaligned.  She went over very clearly with me what my treatment would entail with very precise upper cervical adjustments.  I can now gratefully say that my symptoms gradually healed over time.  Occasionally, my symptoms will return if I have done something to aggravate my neck.  Then I know I need a quick visit to Dr. Elster and I am back on track. 

What a blessing it was to have found Dr. Elster.  I actually felt my life being given back to me after being treated by her.  I truly was on the brink of despair when her name appeared before me on my computer screen.  I do not know where I would be today if I had not discovered Dr. Elster and I hope and pray that anyone with even the slightest of the symptoms some of us have endured can be as fortunate and as grateful as I am for having met and become acquainted with Dr. Elster.” 

- Renee, Littleton, CO

Female, Age 47 years, Dizziness, Vertigo, Neck Pain

"In June 2005 I began my upper cervical care with Dr Erin Elster DC in Boulder, Co. We googled the phrase cevicogenic vertigo and found her very informative website. Six months prior to this in January of 2005 I had two very traumatic falls. First I slipped on black ice in a parking lot while I was in my ski boots carrying my skis and poles. I slipped so quickly that my feet flew straight up in the air and I landed extremely hard on my left shoulder, back and neck area. I lifted my head before it hit the ground and I felt my head compress into my shoulders. I gathered my things and went skiing, shocked that nothing was broken. The next day skiing, I skied in a trough and ejected from my skis, flipped over and landed on top of a mogul on the upper left thoracic area of my back. Double whammy!! And I still skied for the rest of the day. At this time in my life I was a 46 year old athletic female, part time ski instructor and full time jail deputy in the small Aspen, Co county jail. I hiked, biked, kayaked, skied and participated in all the mountains have to offer. Two weeks after my falls with only minor stiffness in my neck and shoulder I started to experience dizzy spells. As days went by I continued to have additional symptoms and more severe debilitating issues.

My symptoms were:
- Extreme dizziness- would even wake me out of a sound sleep
- Nausea – I was unable to eat hardly anything lost 25 pds in 3-4 mos
- Headaches- severe frontal and occipital 
- Difficulty swallowing
- Numbness in left hand and left foot
- Spinal spasms
- Stiff neck and upper back with tingling and numbness
- Unable to drive or ride in a car without become extremely dizzy and nauseous
- Unable to shop at any type of store, blur of the lights, motions of people, were so overstimulating I had difficulty remembering anything; I usually ended up leaving the store without my groceries.
- The motion of bending my head to read or look at a computer screen also made me dizzy and nauseous.
- Had trouble sitting in chairs, was comfortable lying down completely flat or standing.

By the time February 2006 rolled around I was unable to work and could barely leave the house. Here is a list of medical people I saw: 2 general chiropractors, 1 General Practioner, 2 orthopedic spine doctors, 2 physical medical doctors, 3 neurologists (1 diagnosed cervigenic vertigo, 1 had no answers for me, 1 diagnosed post concussive head injury), 1 acupuncturist, 1 pain management doctor, multiple IMS treatments (type of acupuncture), Physical therapy (soft tissue work). I had also been given the following medications: 2 cervical spine steroid injections, Tizandine, Trazodone, Oxycodone, Ativan, Vicodin, and ambien. None of these treatment or doctors helped me.

By the time I visited Dr Elster in June 2006 I was still experiencing all of my symptoms. During her initial consultation, precision x-rays showed the misalignment of my C-1 (atlas) 4mm so Dr. Elster performed an adjustment it (it was a slight force but nothing painful and does not involve any twisting.) Her confidence and knowledge about my injury was reassuring and I finally felt someone understood and believed me and my symptoms. I broke down and cried and Dr. Elster assured me with time I would be better. At this point I needed to be checked a couple of times a week, so I stayed with friends in Boulder (the drive back and forth from Aspen to Boulder was detrimental to my healing. The motion of the car and turny mountain roads were counterproductive.) For the next 6 weeks, I started to slowly improve. In September I left Boulder and returned home. I was now able to check in with Dr Elster on a weekly basis and able to tolerate the ride as a passenger. My exercise level was increasing and my symptoms were subsiding. This appears to be the only medical treatment along with soft tissue work that improves my health. Dr Elster's training and professionalism is outstanding. She is to be commended on her availability and patience. Many a time I called to cry on her shoulder and she was always there to reassure me. Dr. Elster frequently answers her own phone and promptly returns calls. Her website is very helpful. If not for these adjustments I am not sure where I would be right now, possibly still lying on my yoga mat staring at the tree tops. I am currently skiing and hiking and life is getting better, again! I believe upper cervical adjustments could help more people with head and neck injuries."

~ Michelle S., Age 47, Aspen, CO

Female, Age 27 years, Meniere's Disease, Neck Pain, Headaches

This 27-year-old female suffered from frequent vertigo attacks for over a year before seeking help from upper cervical care.  Prior to her upper cervical evaluation, she sought help from many physicians who prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications; however, the medications didn't help her and the vertigo attacks persisted.  Besides dizziness, she also suffered from neck pain, ringing in her ears, blurred vision, and headaches when the vertigo attacks occurred and was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease.  The vertigo attacks prevent her from doing her job as a writer because the strain on her neck from working on a computer would provoke an attack.

During her evaluation, an injury stemming from her upper cervical spine was discovered.  When questioned about her history of  head / neck trauma, she recalled an incident in which she fell on the stairs and hit her head prior to the onset of the first vertigo attack.  She underwent upper cervical care and within a few weeks all symptoms of vertigo, neck pain, and headaches were absent and she was able to get back to work full time.

Male, Age 22 years, Post-concussion Panic Attacks, Anxiety, Dizzy Spells

This 22-year-old male is a mountain bike racer and extreme skier.  He experienced his first confirmed concussion at age 16 during a mountain bike race when he flew over the handlebars.  He experienced some temporary memory loss but seemed to recover in a few hours.  At age 21, he jumped off a cliff while skiing and hit his face into his knee upon landing.  He reported that he saw stars and felt "weird" at the back of his neck right away.  He was diagnosed with a concussion.  His CT scan and MRI were reported as normal, but within a week he began experiencing daily panic attacks with vertigo.  He saw numerous doctors including neurologists, general chiropractors, psychiatrists, and eye therapists, but his symptoms persisted.  He became increasingly debilitated with the panic attacks and was unable to engage in any of his sports.  Under recommendation from a friend, he sought help from upper cervical chiropractic care.

During his upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered.  Undoubtedly, the injury was caused by the skiing incident or by a combination of his various sports traumas.  After receiving treatment, he noticed an immediate decrease in the severity and frequency of the panic / dizziness attacks.  Within a couple of months of treatment, the attacks were gone and he was able to resume biking and skiing.


Female, Age 60 years, Chronic Vertigo and Headaches

This 60-year-old female had been suffering with chronic vertigo and headaches for 20 years.  The attacks varied in frequency and severity over the twenty years and despite being married to a physician and having access to many top physicians and their treatments and advice, she was unable to find any medical treatments that helped her so she simply had to wait out the attacks - days, weeks, or months until the symptoms subsided.   Finally, after 20 years, she and her husband were searching the internet for other treatment possibilities and found Dr. Elster's website discussing the relationship between cervical injuries, vertigo, and headaches.  She recalled several different neck traumas earlier in her life prior to the onset of the vertigo attacks and wondered if there was a relationship so she decided to undergo an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.

During her evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered.  When questioned about her history of cervical trauma, she recalled several different incidents including falls and blows to the head that could have caused the cervical injury.  Many of these incidents of trauma occurred over 20 years prior.  Because her neck injury had been present so many years, she was concerned that she might have trouble stabilizing; however, her case was resolved within 6 months and all attacks of vertigo and headaches were absent.

Female, Age 38 years, Chronic Vertigo, Neck Pain, Nasal Congestion, Ear Fullness

This 38-year-old female had been suffering from chronic vertigo and neck pain for close to 15 years.  She had tried numerous medications, steroid injections, anti-depressants, chiropractors, acupunturists, physical therapists, massage therapists, ENT's and neurologists.  None of the medications or practitioners helped her and the problems persisted.   In addition to stronger attacks of vertigo that rendered her unable to work or leave the house, she described general lightheadedness that was present all of the time, difficulty concentrating, stuffy nose, ear fullness, neck pain originating from the base of her skull, and pain radiating down her shoulder.  Her most recent medications included daily pain medications and decongestants.

When searching the internet for answers, she came across Dr. Elster's website describing upper cervical care and the correlation between neck injuries and vertigo.  Prior to the onset of vertigo, she recalled sustaining an injury to her neck when she fell out of a moving truck and landed on her upper back, neck, and head.  During her upper cervical chiropractic evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered, which had not been addressed by any of her previous practitioners.  After a single upper cervical adjustment, she reported a substantial improvement in her vertigo and pain symptoms.  After only a single month of treatment, all vertigo, pain, nasal and ear symptoms were absent.

The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.