Posted by: seattledizzygroup | December 31, 2013

Improve Balance With Chiropractic Therapy

Dr, Sarah Deam DC

Chiropractic Therapy & Balance

by Dr. Sarah Deam, DC

of Westlake Chiropractic and Integrative Health Center

(Presented to Seattle Dizzy Group 11/2/13)

This presentation discusses how chiropractic therapy can help with the management of vestibular/balance dysfunction.  Dr. Deam gives an overview of chiropractic therapy, including basic anatomy of the spine as well as how and why adjustments are made.  She explains how misalignments of the upper cervical region, jaw, and feet contribute to balance issues, and she also offers tips for better balance, including addressing fallen arches, the importance of wearing supportive shoes, and how to stretch properly.

Overview of Chiropractic Therapy

I.  Development of Chiropractic Therapy

  • Developed from the Greek words “Cheir” and “Praktos” (“done by hand”).
  • Earliest indication of spinal “manipulation” was documented in an ancient Chinese manuscript, dated 2700BC.
  • Over 100 years ago, DD Palmer, energy healer, evaluated his patient, Harvey Lillard who had insidiously lost his hearing following a back injury.  DD found a region of Harvey’s back where there was a protruding and poorly aligned region and applied pressure to the spine in an attempt to realign the region.  In the days following the treatment, Harvey noted improved hearing.
  • DD named the therapeutic technique “Chiropractic”.  DD’s son, BJ furthered Chiropractic and the first school, Palmer College of Chiropractic was opened in Davenport, Iowa.

II.  What is “Chiropractic”?  What is a “Chiropractor”? 

  • Chiropractic is the practice of detecting and correcting “Vertebral Subluxations”  (poorly aligned spinal vertebrae, in relation to the regions above and below” that cause abnormal irritation to the spinal nerves that exit these vertebrae and ultimately abnormal function of the nerves and nervous system).  *If this doesn’t make sense, see Spinal Anatomy below*
  • Chiropractors examine and locate these “subluxations” and utilize a variety of techniques, with the most common technique being “Spinal Manipulation” to correct these subluxations to restore proper motion and alignment, and thus decrease the irritation to the nerves to restore diminished nervous system function.  Since the nervous system controls the immune system, this ultimately will allow the patient’s own natural defenses to function optimally.
  • For some, a Chiropractor is a first contact physician as Chiropractors possess the ability to evaluate patients, diagnose the patient to the best of their ability and determine if the patient is amenable to Chiropractic management or require referral to another capable practitioner.
  • Once under Chiropractic treatment and management, Chiropractors provide spinal manipulations and sometimes other therapeutic modalities (i.e. ultrasound, electrical stimulation, manual muscle therapies) and advise patients on proper nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.

A Chiropractor treats disorders related to the nervous system, primarily by making adjustments to the spine, but also through physical therapy to the spine, lifestyle counseling, and dietary recommendations. 

III.  Spinal Anatomy (with vocabulary definitions)

  • Vertebral Column-Back bone or spine
  • Vertebrae-individual bones of the spine
    • Cervical-neck (Atlas-upper cervical-IMPORTANT!!)
    • Thoracic-mid back
    • Lumbar-low back
  • Pelvis (Sacroiliac Joints and Sacrum-pelvic bowl) (THE FOUNDATION)
  • Joint-Regions where vertebrae “articulate” or join and where movement occurs.
  • Intervertebral Disc-Fibrocartilage/Fluid containing.  In between each vertebra.  Allows for space between vertebrae and movement to occur between joints.  Subject to degenerate change causing motion loss in spine.
  • Brain Stem and Spinal Cord, Spinal Nerves (Nervous System)-includes the Sensory organs.  The Nervous System is the most important system in the body.  It controls EVERYTHING!  Including the Immune System.  The vertebral column and vertebrae are the conduit for the Nervous System.  (If the vertebrae are misaligned, causing the vertebral column to lose its proper shape, it affects the spinal nerves and ultimately the function of the Nervous System).
  • TMJ-Temporomandibular Joint (AKA Jaw)
  • Jaw and upper Cervical region.  This region is intricate and located very close to the inner ear anatomy.

Impact of Misalignments Upon Balance

    • Arches “dropped” (can be caused by foot/ankle subluxation)
    • Toe out
    • Knees valgus (“knock knee”)
    • Hip rotated
    • Pelvic un-leveling
    • Spine curvature (spinal misalignments/distorted motion and nerve irritation)
    • Eye un-leveling and Head tilt (likely)

Understanding Human Biomechanics - Dr Sarah Deam PresentationBefore and After Misalignment - Dr Sarah Deam Presentation

*Imagine what affect misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae (causing head tilt) would have on inner ear function* 

*Imagine what misalignment of the jaw, which typically causes or corresponds with misaligned upper cervical vertebrae, would do to balance*

***A distorted walking gait and head tilt will lead to balance issues and cause, contribute to, or complicate balance disorders!***

Maintain Structural Alignment & Balance

  1. Get evaluated by a Chiropractor.  Find out if you have any spinal misalignment issues that may be causing or at least contributing to that condition that you are suffering from, whether it is pain, headaches, immune function issues, or a vestibular/balance disorder.
  2. Get adjusted by a qualified Chiropractor.  There are LOTS of different techniques.  Some high velocity and done by hands and some very light and gentle.  Figure out your comfort level and communicate that to your Chiropractor of choice.  They are all effective.
  3. Support your feet properly.  Wear good shoes.  Brands of shoes that have a wider base (provide better balance):  Brooks, New Balance, Asics, and Saucony.  You may wish to try a shoe insole for better arch support (for example, SuperFeet).  Possible evaluation by a podiatrist.
  4. Stretch/Strengthen supportive and connected muscle tissue.  All have connections to the spine whether directly or indirectly.  Stretch slowly and gently.  Massage to reduce muscle spasms.  For muscle cramps try:  epson salt baths, magnesium supplements, tonic water, drinks with electrolytes.  Consult with a Physical Therapist if you have any complicating factors such as previous injuries or significant strength loss issues.
  5. Stay hydrated!  We are mostly water.  We need water for our organs to function properly, our muscles to properly contract and relax, and for the proper health of the spine. (Discs are composed mainly of water and that’s what gives us our height and allows for proper range of motion, ultimately supporting the alignment of our spine and health of our nervous system).  Water is also a natural muscle relaxer.
  6. Good diet.  Seek help from a qualified nutritionist if necessary.  You may wish to try an Anti-inflammatory Diet or take a supplement to help reduce inflammation (for example, Wobenzym is a natural anti-inflammatory).
  7. Complimentary therapies to Chiropractic include Craniosacral Therapy and Massage Therapy.


  • Neck Stretches (may be optional for some) (See examples)
  • Nerve Glide Exercises (See examples)
  • Pin and Stretch Exercises (See examples)
  • Headache points/trigger points for supportive muscles of the neck (See below)

*Stretch slowly and gently*

**Don’t stretch spasming muscles.  Instead, massage to reduce spasming**

Headache Points for Pain Relief - Dr Sarah Deam

Dr Deam DC

Dr. Sarah Deam, DC

of Westlake Chiropractic and Integrative Health Care Center

Dr. Sarah Deam graduated from Radford University in Radford, Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine and Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. She has practiced Chiropractic in the Greater Seattle area for 5 years.

Dr. Deam’s approach to patient care is holistic, focusing on the patient as a whole, but also specifically addressing their pain or health-related complaints using a variety of manual, instrumental and soft tissue techniques. She focuses on postural care and correction and instructs her patients on proper core strength training exercises and stretching to encourage more long-standing permanent results.

Dr. Deam enjoys working with patients of all ages and has advanced education in Chiropractic for Pregnant and Pediatric patients and Healthy Aging.  In addition, her wide range of experience includes the treatment and management of Scoliosis, disc injuries and radicular pain, personal injury and work-related injury claims.

More information about Dr. Sarah Deam, DC:

Understanding Human Biomechanics & Correcting Misalignment/Improving Balance illustrations taken from Foot Levelers, Inc. pamphlet (


Presentation information is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Presentations posted online may include discussion notes, links, and other information added by Seattle Dizzy Group.

Download Presentation Handout PDF (original without notes):

(Join the Seattle Dizzy Group closed/secret Facebook group to download the presentation.  Send us your email address for invitation to join our Facebook group).



  1. Thank you Dr. Deam for writing for this group to show how Chiropractic can tremendously help those with Meniere’s Disease.

    I’ve attached a research review for Meniere’s Disease that gives hope to those suffering from this debilitating condition.

    Kevin Leach D.C.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Seattle Dizzy Group

Providing support & community for people living with chronic dizziness & imbalance -- in Seattle & beyond

%d bloggers like this: