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What is Vertigo and How is it Treated?

Woman Suffering from Vertigo

Vertigo is a feeling that you’re off balance. It’s a strange sensation to many people and it’s often characterized by dizzy spells or a feeling that you’re spinning around. Some people often describe it as not themselves that’s spinning, but the world and environment around them. It can be an unusual feeling to experience, so in this post, we’ll be discussing what vertigo is and how it can be treated.

What are the symptoms of vertigo?

People who experience vertigo find that it triggers when there’s a change in the position of your head. For instance, if you move your head suddenly or lift yourself off a bed, then you might experience the following symptoms of vertigo:

  • A feeling that you’re being pulled in a direction
  • Swaying from side to side
  • An unbalanced sensation, making it difficult to stand or stay still
  • A spinning feeling

As a result of these symptoms, you may experience the following effects:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus

Symptoms often last anywhere between a couple of minutes to a couple of hours.

What causes vertigo?

Vertigo is caused by an issue with the inner ear. There are a couple of common causes of vertigo, including BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), Meniere’s disease or vestibular neuritis. In some cases, vertigo can be associated with head and neck injuries, migraines, brain problems or medications that can cause ear damage.

How is vertigo treated?

Vertigo is treated in different ways depending on what’s causing it. In most cases, vertigo can go away without any treatment. As long as you’re dealing with the symptoms as they appear with plenty of rest and the underlying issues are resolved, vertigo can easily be treated.

However, if your vertigo is being caused by something else that is more difficult to treat, then it’s best to visit an ear, nose and throat specialist to help you diagnose the cause. In many cases, it will just take time for your brain to adapt to the inner ear changes and rely on other bodily functions to maintain your balance and reduce the symptoms.

Some vertigo treatments include vestibular rehabilitation, which is a physical therapy that aims to strengthen the vestibular system. The function of this system is to send signals to the brain regarding body and head movements relative to gravity. It’s the recommended form of treatment if you have recurring episodes of vertigo and could potentially train your their senses to cope with vertigo and compensate for it.

Another option is canalith repositioning maneuvers. This is a series of specific head and body movements for BPPV that are recommended in guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology. The purpose of these movements is to remove the calcium deposits out of the canal into an inner ear chamber to be absorbed by the body.