Neck pain when it causes dizziness is known as cervical vertigo and the two often go together. It is commonly experienced as a result of injury, and in particular as a result of whiplash, but also other injuries to the neck and problems such as extended physical stress, or arthritis. A swollen gland can also cause similar problems. Often standing still or sitting causes the vertigo to subside. Here both the neck pain and the dizziness are caused by pressure being placed on the sides of the neck by swelling, arthritis or compression of the vertebral arteries in the neck (those going up to the brain). The pain is caused by the pressure, and meanwhile this means there is abnormal sensory input to the brain from the neck proprioceptors – telling the head that the neck is oriented in a way that it is not which does not line with the input from the eyes and ears (the ears are responsible for balance). At the same time this can sometimes starve the posterior part of the brain of its usual blood supply causing feelings of vertigo as a result.
In other rare cases, the vertigo will be caused by ‘benign paroxysmal positional veritgo’ which is an inner ear disorder caused by the small crystals floating in the ear fluid falling out of the area they should be in. This can be the result of a blow to the ear or sometimes rapid movement or age, but normally clears up on its own after a few weeks and is harmless.
In cases where the neck pain and dizziness continue, it will normally be treated using treatment for the neck such as medication, physical therapy and mobilization of the area.