Vertigo refers to a sensation of rocking, rotation, or the environment spinning that’s experienced even when one is perfectly still. Anyone who has these dizzy spells might be feeling like they’re spinning or the world around them is spinning.
An inner ear condition is often the cause of vertigo. Some common vertigo causes include:
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BPPV, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, occurs when canaliths (tiny calcium particles) build up in the inner ear canals. The inner ear transmits signals about head and body motions relative to gravity to the brain. This helps maintain your balance.
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There’s no known cause of BPPV and it can be due to age.
This is a problem of the inner ear that’s usually caused by viral infection. The infection causes inner ear inflammation around essential nerves that aid body balance.
This disorder of the inner ear said to be due to an accumulation of fluid as well as pressure changes in the ear. It can lead to vertigo episodes as well as tinnitus and hearing loss.
Less common vertigo causes include head or neck injury, brain conditions like stroke or tumor, migraine headaches, as well as some medications that lead to ear damage.
Symptoms of vertigo
Vertigo can be described as one symptom, rather than a condition that exhibits signs and symptoms.
People who have vertigo typically feel as if they’re unbalanced, pulled to a specific direction, spinning, tilting, and swaying.
Other symptoms may accompany vertigo, including feeling nauseated, vomiting, sweating, headache, abnormal/jerking eye movements (nystagmus), tinnitus or hearing loss.
Symptoms can occur and disappear and can last a few hours or even a few minutes.
Treatment for vertigo
The cause of vertigo is what determines the treatment option. Vertigo often goes away without treatment. So, what’s the reason? Well, this is because the brain can adapt, at least partly to the changes in the inner ear, relying on other methods to maintain balance.
For some people, treatment is required and can include:
This is a form of physical therapy that’s designed to help make the vestibular system stronger. The vestibular system is responsible for transmitting signals to your brain regarding head and body motions relative to gravity.
Sometimes medicines may be prescribed to help ease symptoms such as motion sickness or nausea associated with vertigo. For vertigo that’s caused by inflammation or infection, steroids or antibiotics can minimize swelling and treat infection. For Meniere’s disease, you may be prescribed diuretics, aka water pills, to ease the pressure resulting from fluid buildup.
A few cases of vertigo may require surgery. If something serious like a neck or brain injury, or tumor is behind the vertigo problem, treating these conditions can help alleviate the condition.