While Vertigo feels like you or everything around you is spinning, Dizziness is a range of sensations that includes feeling light-headed, faint, unsteady, or off-balance.
If you have vertigo, you may feel like you're moving or spinning when you're not. You might also feel like your surroundings are in motion when you aren’t. While many people describe vertigo as feeling dizzy, they are not the same.
With vertigo, simple movements can be debilitatingly intense. Those who have severe vertigo can experience it for many days or up to months. Vertigo can also be recurring.
Vertigo is usually a symptom of an underlying condition.
Your symptoms will largely depend on the type of vertigo you have.
The most common conditions that result in recurrent vertigo attacks are:
Vestibular Migraines: People with the condition suffer headaches and troublesome vertigo symptoms. The cause of vestibular migraine may be related to lifestyle and hormonal changes that are linked to ageing.
Benign Paroxysmal Positions Vertigo (BPPV): In BPPV, a sudden spinning sensation is brought on due to the degeneration of the inner ear. It is the most common cause of dizziness in older adults and can lead to falls.
Meniere’s Disease: A rare inner ear disorder that sometimes involves ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or hearing loss. Most patients affected by this disorder improve with medication and lifestyle changes, but some may require surgery to control the bouts of dizziness.
Other lesser-known causes of vertigo include:
Alternobaric vertigo can occur when pressure differences between the middle ear cavities occur. This usually happens when we fly on an aeroplane or dive underwater.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to ease your symptoms and reduce the number of vertigo episodes you have:
Doctors aren’t yet able to identify a specific source for vertigo symptoms. For instance, there’s often no known trigger for BPPV, but certain risk factors might raise your risk of experiencing it. These include:
Additionally, while the cause of Cervical vertigo is often debated, experts mostly agree that it occurs after a severe neck injury. Post-traumatic vertigo, on the other hand, occurs in those who have suffered head injuries that might have damaged their inner ear.
You usually can’t prevent initial vertigo, but certain behaviours can help prevent a subsequent vertigo attack. You can avoid:
Other helpful behaviours include standing up slowly, squatting instead of bending over, and sleeping with your head propped up.
In most cases, vertigo dissipates on its own. However, because vertigo could be a symptom of an underlying health condition, it is always prudent to see a doctor if you experience vertigo symptoms, especially if it is severe, recurring, or happens for a long time.
If you experience vertigo or dizziness along with the symptoms below, please see a doctor immediately:
The doctor will first need to find out what type of vertigo you have. They will do so by asking about your symptoms, and performing simple physical tests to check your balance. You might also be referred to a specialist for further tests.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also perform:
While vertigo mostly gets better without any treatment, some types of vertigo require medical help.
For example, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics if your vertigo is caused by an infection. You could also be given a series of exercises to follow in order to correct your balance.
A number of methods that treat Peripheral Vertigo:
Surgery can treat severe and persistent cases of Vertigo if other treatment methods prove to be unsuccessful. Such surgery involves removing part or all of one’s inner ear.