Vertigo is not a disease, it is a condition or a sensation that makes you feel the environment around you is spinning in circles. It causes off balance and makes you feel dizzy. Vertigo makes you physically sick, causing trouble in walking or standing and there are chances of losing the balance and falling. If you experience any of these symptoms for more than a day, you should consult a vertigo specialist, to understand the root cause and to get the right medications.
While vertigo and dizziness, are related to balance problems, symptoms of both are different. Dizziness is a feeling of unbalance and vertigo is a sensation of either you or the surroundings spinning.
Vertigo is of two different types:
Peripheral vertigo happens when the inner ear that controls the balance suffers a major problem. The problem might also be related to a nerve, the vestibular nerve. The nerve lies between the brain stem and the inner ear.
Some of the causes of Peripheral vertigo may be:
- Vestibular nerve inflammation(neuronitis)
- Head Injury
- Inner ear swelling and irritation(labyrinthitis)
- Meniere disease
Central vertigo occurs when there is an issue with the brain, usually in the back part of the brain (cerebellum) or brain stem.
Central vertigo may be caused by:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Tumors (cancerous or noncancerous)
- Vestibular migraine, a type of migraine headache
- Seizures (rarely)
- Blood vessel disease
- Use of drugs aspirin, alcohol, and anticonvulsants
The first symptom of central vertigo is a feeling of spinning. It can be a feeling that either you or the surrounding you are in is spinning. Due to spinning, you may feel vomit and nausea.
Other symptoms include:
- Loss of balance (may cause falls)
- Focusing problem with the eyes
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of hearing in one ear
- Loss of body fluids due to nausea and vomiting
If you are suffering from central vertigo, you may experience other symptoms, including:
- Facial paralysis
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weakness of the limbs
- Problems with eye movement
- Slurred speech
- Double vision
Diagnosis of Vertigo
If the vertigo specialist suspects any head injury, stroke, or any kind of bang on the head, you will be asked to do an MRI scan or CT scan immediately. Most of the people who suffer from dizziness will be discussed about the symptoms, and medicines taken and then will be asked to perform a physical examination. During the physical examination, the vertigo specialist will monitor your walk, balance your body, and how the nerves of the central nervous system are functioning.The examination also includes hearing tests and balance test, which includes:
Testing of eye movement – Your doctor will carefully examine the movement of your eyes when you focus on a moving object to identify any involuntary eye movements. This helps in determining if the vertigo is peripheral or central.
Testing of head movement- If a vertigo specialist suspects that benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a sudden sensation of head-spinning, is the reason for your vertigo, then Dix-Hallpike maneuver, a simple head movement test is done to confirm the diagnosis.
Posturography – This test is to identify the parts of the balance system that you are depending on the most and getting affected the most and the parts causing major problems. You need to stand barefoot on a platform and try to maintain your balance under various conditions.
Testing on rotary chair – The test is on a chair (computer-controlled) that takes a full circle very slowly. When the speed increases, it moves back and fronts.
The vertigo specialist will take you through three steps:
ConsultationConsultation is to understand the symptoms and to go in-depth to understand the causes of dizziness.
With advanced testing, a series of tests are conducted by vertigo specialists to diagnose vertigo:
- Dix-Hallpike Maneuver
- Head Impulse Test
- Romberg Test
Based on the test results and your experiences, a personalized therapy is designed and planned that helps in resolving your problems with vertigo. If required additional testing and treatment plan are also provided.
The root cause of any brain disorder that causes vertigo should be identified and needs to be treated at the earliest.
To get relief from benign positional vertigo symptoms, the Epley maneuver is performed on you. In this, you will be asked to place your head in different positions to help gain the balance of the organ.
Peripheral vertigo causes nausea and vomiting, and to overcome the symptoms, you may be prescribed medicines.
Physical therapy helps in improving balance problems. You will be taught exercises to restore your sense of balance and strengthen your muscles to help you prevent falls.
To avoid symptoms from worsening you can do the following:
- Just lie down, sit down or be still
- Resume activity gradually
- No sudden position changes
- Do not try to read
- Bright lights need to be avoided
Never ignore the symptoms of vertigo. If your body exhibits symptoms of vertigo, you may need support to walk and avoid strenuous activities such as driving or climbing for one week, even after the symptoms have gone.
There are other treatments for vertigo depending on the severity of the symptoms of vertigo.
However, there are natural vertigo remedies that are safe for people to give a try.
- Dietary changes – Cutting back on foods high in sugar, salt, or caffeine can make a big impact on dizzy symptoms for vestibular disorders.
- Better sleep – Getting a night of good and proper sleep is essential for a healthy living body. Only sleep can help our body systems to rest and recover. The brain is responsible for maintaining our body balance, and to achieve this, the brain communicates with various systems in our body.
- Less screen time – Reduce screen time throughout the day, especially before bed, because it is vital to get good sleep and helps recover fast. The longer you stare into those bright, glowing screens, the harder it will be for you to recover.