Neck pain and dizziness can flare up and worsen unexpectedly, causing difficulty with concentration, standing, and/or walking. To help manage or reduce neck pain and dizziness flare-ups, some tips to try at home include:
- Sitting or lying down, which typically helps alleviate the discomfort or unsteadiness of dizziness, while also reducing the risk for a serious fall or accident.
- Closing the eyes if sitting or lying down is insufficient. Even when sitting still, some people see the room as spinning (called vertigo), which may stop after lying down and resting with the eyes closed.
- Eating healthy and staying hydrated, which can boost mental and physical wellbeing. Some people may also experience fewer bouts of dizziness after quitting smoking or limiting caffeine and/or alcohol.1
- Keeping movements smooth and steady to reduce the risk of triggering dizziness. If certain movements or activities keep causing dizzy spells, such as standing up quickly or holding the head to one side, it is best to modify or avoid them.
- Gentle stretching and neck exercises help improve the neck’s strength and mobility, which may reduce the risk for neck pain and associated dizziness.2
- Improving posture and/or biomechanics to reduce pressure on nerves, blood vessels, and muscles that are potentially contributing to neck pain and dizziness.3 Improvements may include setting reminders to check for good posture (having the head in neutral position with the ears directly above the shoulders when sitting or standing), setting up an ergonomic workspace, and getting up regularly to walk around rather than sitting for hours at a time.
- Reducing stress, which may contribute to some cases of neck pain and dizziness.4,5 Some tips include getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and learning stress management techniques. If depression, anxiety, and/or chronic pain are an issue, a cognitive behavioral therapist may be helpful for learning stress management techniques.
If dizziness or unsteadiness becomes chronic or if dizzy spells regularly recur, it is a good idea to keep the home well-lit and free of trip hazards, such as rugs or cluttered walkways. Some people may also benefit from using a cane or other assistive device to maintain balance during an unexpected dizzy spell.6
When to See a Doctor
People with persistent dizziness that interferes with quality of life are advised to contact a doctor. A licensed medical professional can conduct an in-person evaluation and recommend treatments.
A doctor can also provide counsel on whether specific activities need to be avoided for a period of time until dizziness symptoms are better managed. For example, people who regularly experience unexpected dizziness may need to refrain from driving, using ladders, and other activities that require high levels of concentration and/or balance to avoid serious injury.
Seek medical attention immediately if neck pain and/or dizziness are accompanied by other concerning symptoms, such as severe headache, nausea, bowel/bladder dysfunction, weakness, numbness, or trouble with coordination or walking.