Cervical Vertigo: Is there a Link Between Neck Pain and Dizziness?

“Cervical Vertigo, also known as Cervicogenic Dizziness, is a feeling of disorientation or unsteadiness caused by a neck injury or health condition that affects the neck. It’s almost always accompanied by neck pain. Your range of motion can also be affected, & sometimes it comes along with a headache. Episodes of cervical vertigo go for hours, & the condition itself can last for years” [1]

Diagnosing cervical vertigo can be difficult, & a GP does not usually have the necessary training & that is why booking an appointment with a Pain Specialist is the smart way to go

Getting an Accurate Diagnosis

Of note, some of the signs that could point to Cervical Vertigo, overlap with common symptoms that are generated by other medical issues. These could be anything from concussion (traumatic brain injury), to stroke, or inner ear problems. Moreover, for a general physician, it can be difficult to tell whether a patient’s symptoms are occurring simultaneously with their neck issues, or if they are due to the neck trouble itself.

“If it is truly cervical vertigo & dizziness—if there’s a cause coming from the neck—many of these can be treatable & most without surgery” [1]

What Happens During a Consultation With a Pain Doctor?

When a Pain Specialist gives you an in-person or online consultation, they will review your medical history, and ask you various pertinent questions. To that end, you are advised to keep a daily diary which records what you were doing just before, and during the time, the cervical vertigo and dizziness comes about, and how long it lasts for.

The Pain Consultant will then conduct what is known as ‘a diagnosis of exclusion.’ This means that they will work to rule out other potential causes for the symptoms you are experiencing, and affirm that your issue is rooted in your neck. Pain Doctors regard neck pain as a good indicator that the issue could well be cervical vertigo. Indeed, when patients have neck pain, it serves as a red flag that the problem is coming from the neck.

The cervical spine can be regarded as the cause of Cervicogenic dizziness “when all other potential causes of dizziness are excluded. To be considered Cervicogenic dizziness, the dizziness should be closely related to changes in cervical spine position or cervical joint movement. Many cases of Cervicogenic dizziness have been diagnosed post whiplash injury, or have been associated with inflammatory, degenerative, or mechanical dysfunctions of the cervical spine” [2]


[1]. Sturt, K. (2021). “Cervical Vertigo: The Link Between Neck Pain and Dizziness.” Spine Universe.

[2]. Reiley AS, Vickory FM, Funderburg SE, Cesario RA, Clendaniel RA. How to diagnose cervicogenic dizziness. Arch Physiother. 2017 Sep 12;7:12.