Suffering from vertigo can make doing the most basic tasks, like standing up and walking, feel difficult. Those with vertigo will often feel like their surrounding is spinning around them, although everything is completely still. The constant feeling of dizziness caused by vertigo might make you give up activities in your life that you once enjoyed. Some might experience minor effects of vertigo that can be an inconvenience, but others find it unbearable to make even slight movements. It can also be difficult for those dealing with dizziness to find an adequate treatment or to get a diagnosis at all. Vertigo can sometimes be brushed off, even by those in the medical field, which can cause those suffering from it to put off getting the care they need. If you have vertigo episodes, you deserve to be taken seriously to find the root cause of it and begin your treatment journey. 

While many people at some point will deal with vertigo and dizzy spells, most people are not educated on the issue. Vertigo is commonly thought of to be simply just a fear of heights, rather than the medical condition that it is. Dizziness similar to the type felt in those with vertigo can be triggered by a fear of heights, but true vertigo is different. There can be multiple causes for vertigo and many of them on their own are not signs of a more serious underlying condition. Depending on the cause, vertigo may only last for a few days and may go away on its own. For others, vertigo can last for months or years without the proper treatment. Although living with vertigo can be difficult, it is typically curable through several different methods. 

Accompanying symptoms 

Some with vertigo might only experience dizziness during an episode. Vertigo isn’t always described as just dizziness, it can also be a titling, swirling, or off-balance feeling. While this is the most common symptom of vertigo, many people have other symptoms that may come along with it. These symptoms typically occur when the person moves, such as getting out of bed, walking, or making sudden movements with the head. 

Some of the symptoms that can go hand-in-hand with vertigo are:

  • Abnormal eye movements 
  • Double vision
  • Headaches
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Ringing in the ears

Causes of vertigo and dizziness

Vertigo and other balance-related problems are most commonly caused by issues with the inner ear. Some of the most common causes of vertigo include:

    • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo. An inner ear disorder, BPPV can cause vertigo by moving the head, even slightly, in a different direction. BPPV is caused when calcium crystals are broken off and get stuck in the semicircular canals where balance is controlled.
    • Vestibular neuronitis – Vestibular neuronitis is an inflammation of the vestibular nerve, which helps to control balance. It’s typically caused by a viral infection. 
    • Labyrinthitis – Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear that affects the vestibular nerves. Like vestibular neuronitis, it’s most often caused by a viral infection. 
    • Ménière’s disease – Fluid build up in the inner ear seen in people with Ménière’s disease can cause vertigo, as the fluid may block signals from the brain and disturb the body’s balance. 

There are also a number of health complications unrelated to the inner ear that could be causing the feeling of vertigo. Dizziness can come on from issues like anxiety disorders, low blood sugar, anemia, and some medications. Some causes of vertigo are much simpler, like if a person experiences dizziness caused by motion sickness while in a car or on the water. For the majority of people, their vertigo isn’t caused by a threatening problem, despite how debilitating a vertigo episode can be. 

How to treat vertigo

Whether or not vertigo can be cured depends on what the cause is. The exact treatment for it will also depend on what’s causing your vertigo. In some cases, vertigo and other symptoms may only be treated to make dealing with it easier, but it can’t be entirely cured. For causes like an ear infection, vertigo will likely be elevated when the infection clears. Your brain could also learn to adapt to living with vertigo and allow you to regain balance over time. For vertigo that can be cured, it will typically go away quickly when you get treatment. 

Most treatments for vertigo is relatively simple. Exercises that can be done in a doctor’s office and at home are effective for many who have vertigo. Some may need vestibular blocking agents, such as medication like antihistamines, to treat it.  

If you’re suffering from dizziness, or suspect that you have vertigo, request a consultation today to learn more about how the Carolina Brain Center may be able to help. 

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Dr. Dane brings 20 years of experience to the Triangle and has helped many people achieve a healthier brain and body.


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