There are so many causes for dizziness – some very serious and some very harmless.

Do not get your hopes up that a pinched nerve in your neck is causing your dizziness if you keep fearing that another possible cause is a mini blood clot in your brain or a brain tumor.

“A pinched nerve in the neck does not cause dizziness,” says John D. Lipani, MD, FACS, neurosurgeon-in-chief for and founding director of Princeton Neurological Surgery in NJ.

“However, a pinched spinal cord can cause gait disturbance, clumsiness and dizziness by affecting the spinocerebellar or vestibular spinal tracks in the spinal cord.”

Often, a doctor can quickly narrow down the possible causes of dizziness in one office visit.

Other times, the patient will need to undergo imaging tests.

What symptoms can a pinched nerve
in the neck cause?

A pinched nerve is caused by the so-called bulging disc, or a herniated disc. It can lead to pain in the neck, shoulder and arm; tingling or numbness at any point along the arm or hand/fingers; and/or weakness in the hand only, even.

My brother-in-law was experiencing weakness in only his right hand. He was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his neck and underwent surgery, which corrected the problem.

But again, dizziness would not be caused by a cervical (neck) herniated disc or “pinched nerve.”

Dizziness can be caused by diabetes or a mini stroke (transient ischemic attack).

A TIA is a blood clot in the brain that requires emergency medical attention, even if the symptom lasted only 30 seconds.

Dizziness usually isn’t caused by a TIA, but if a sudden wave of dizziness is also accompanied by sudden-onset vision problems, slurred speech, mental confusion, clumsiness or paralysis anywhere in the body – even for half a minute – get to the ER.

Most causes of dizziness are benign, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

The message here is that you should see a doctor about your dizziness (blood tests can easily rule out diabetes).

Keep in mind that it’s entirely possible to have both a pinched nerve in the neck and dizziness from an unrelated cause.

Dr. Lipani is a board certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeon. His specialties include minimally invasive spine surgery and non-invasive brain and spine radiosurgery. He’s the founding director of the JD Lipani Radiosurgery Institute™ for non-invasive neurosurgery.