Understanding Dizziness and Vertigo

While most people experience dizziness and related symptoms at some point in time, some individuals experience these feelings on a regular basis. Merely an annoyance at times, dizziness and vertigo can be completely disabling for some. This condition can occur in patients of all ages and can severely limit quality of life for those who are seriously affected.

Symptoms

Most people are familiar with what dizziness feels like. When you feel dizzy, you may feel a spinning sensation and experience a lack of balance and control. Vertigo symptoms may feel much more intense of a spinning sensation. Many who suffer with vertigo may feel more of a tilting and off-balance feeling, even that of being pulled in one direction. While it is possible that these symptoms can be brought on by movements, such as the tilting of the head, symptoms may also occur spontaneously with no obvious instigation. Other symptoms associated with vertigo may include nausea, imbalance, abnormal eye movements, and headache.

Causes of Vertigo and Dizziness

There is no one specific cause of vertigo and the related dizziness. Some common links of vertigo may be due to certain other conditions.

Movement related issues. Benign positional vertigo can occur if the head is tilted or moved in a certain position. This is caused when microscopic crystals move into the canals that affect balance within the ear. Dizziness and related symptoms typically last for less than a minute as the body adjusts.

Infections. Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuronitis are viral infections that can occur within the inner ear. These infections may result in dizziness and imbalance that can last for several weeks.

Other disorders. Ménière’s disease and vestibular migraine are two conditions that are commonly associated with bringing about symptoms of vertigo and dizziness.

Treatments

Because the causes for vertigo symptoms vary, the treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the issue. Medications may be recommended to prevent motion sickness and for the prevention of migraines that are associated with Ménière’s disease and vestibular migraine. Injections and steroids may be necessary to prevent hearing loss with some conditions.

Your physician may perform the canalith repositioning maneuver to allow calcium crystals to move back into the inner ear area where they will not affect balance and can be reabsorbed by the body. In some cases, balance rehabilitation can be utilized to teach patients how to compensate when imbalance symptoms strike. Surgery is rarely necessary.

It is important to note that a physician should be contacted immediately if vertigo symptoms are also accompanied by sudden changes in speech or vision.