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Vertigo - Symptoms, Causes and TreatmentDecember - 2018

People who suffer from vertigo experience a sensation of spinning or the feeling that the environment that they’re in, is spinning. Sometimes, it may be fleeting, and sometimes it can be so bad as to affect normal life. It can develop suddenly or it can come on over a period of time, gradually getting worse.

Symptoms of vertigo:

  • A feeling of being unbalanced
  • Spinning sensation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

There may be other symptoms, depending on the reason for your vertigo, like:-

  • High temperature
  • Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
  • Hearing loss

Types of vertigo

  • Peripheral vertigo
  • Central vertigo

Peripheral vertigo

Peripheral vertigo is more common and is caused by a problem with the inner ear. Causes include:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

This is a condition where certain head movements trigger vertigo and may be caused by:-

  - Ear infection

  - Ear surgery

  - Head injury

  • Labyrinthitis (inner ear infection)
  • Vestibular neuronitis (inflammation of the vestibular nerve which is in the ear)
  • Ménière's disease
  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Certain types of medication

Central vertigo

Central vertigo is caused by problems in the brain and causes include:-

  • Migraines
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Acoustic neuroma (benign tumour in the ear)
  • Brain
  • Transient ischemic attack
  • Certain types of medication


The doctor will get your family history, medical history and do a physical examination which will include checking your balance. You may be asked to do a series of blood tests. You may also be asked to do hearing and balance tests that could include:-

  • Eye movement testing
  • Head movement testing
  • Posturography (standing and trying to keep your balance under various conditions)
  • Rotary chair testing

How is vertigo treated?

Sometimes vertigo goes away in time or it may not bother you much. If it affects your quality of life, you should see a doctor. Some treatments that a doctor may suggest include:-

  • Neck exercises
  • Medication
  • Vestibular rehabilitation training (specific exercises to help inner ear balance)
  • Self care that includes small changes, like:-
  • Sleeping with head slightly raised
  • Getting up slowly out of bed
  • Sitting for a minute on the edge of a bed, before standing
  • Avoiding bending

If vertigo is making life sub normal, you should see a doctor and get treated.

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