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.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


Top image: ©Lorra Garrick