Let's Talk About Vertigo

Let’s Talk About Vertigo

Vertigo is dizziness that creates the false sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving.

The condition can feel similar to motion sickness, but it’s not the same as light-headedness.


Common causes for vertigo include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), infection, Meniere’s disease, and migraine.

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This is the most common cause of vertigo and creates an intense, brief sense that you are spinning or moving. These episodes are triggered by a rapid change in head movement, such as a blow to the head.
  • Infection. A viral infection of the vestibular nerve, called vestibular neuritis, can cause intense, constant vertigo.
  • Meniere’s disease. When excessive fluid builds up in the inner ear, the result can be sudden episodes of vertigo that last for several hours.
  • Migraine. Migraine-induced vertigo can last minutes to hours.

Benign positional vertigo

Although benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can be bothersome, it’s rarely serious except when it increases the chance of falling.

Symptoms may include:

  • dizziness
  • a sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving
  • a loss of balance or unsteadiness
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Can stress cause vertigo?

Stress can make vertigo worse, but it won’t produce the condition on its own, “However, severe stress can increase your risks for stroke, which can result in vertigo,”


The primary symptomatic complaint of vertigo is dizziness that typically worsens with head movement. It’s often described by patients as a spinning sensation, with the room or objects around them moving about.

Symptoms of vertigo include:

  • increased sweating
  • nausea
  • vomiting


Treatment options for vertigo are entirely dependent on the underlying cause. For symptomatic relief, vestibular rehabilitation therapy as well as medications, have been shown to be effective.


Vertigo can be treated with some medications. There are several studies which shows that by using certain medications prescribed by your doctor can control your vertigo symptoms very well.

These medication can include from some antihistamine to antibiotics, antiviral medication depending upon the cause of your vertigo.


There are a few exercises that can ease the discomfort of vertigo, and they mostly involve holding a certain position or marching in place.

These exercises are similar to the ones used in vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT).

VRT involves exercises designed according to the individuals and their symptoms. After a thorough clinical examination, one of three main methods is applied:

  • habituation, which improves dizziness
  • gaze stabilization, which improves control of eye movements so vision can be clear during head movement
  • balance training, which improves steadiness

But if you have a severe form of vertigo, it’s best to seek the help of an experienced doctor & physiotherapist instead of performing those on your own.

Home remedies

Supplementation with gingko biloba, melatonin for improved sleep, and various exercises, such as the Epley maneuver, can help with the discomfort of vertigo.

Essential oils for vertigo

Essential oils, such as peppermint and lemon balm oil, are the most widely used. A few drops of the oils are customarily placed on cotton or a tissue and the vapor is inhaled.

Lemon balm can also be used. However, there’s no evidence that these products actually produce any real results.

How long does vertigo last?

The signs and symptoms of BPPV can come and go, with symptoms commonly lasting less than one minute.

In cases of Meniere’s disease an episode of vertigo can last for longer than 20 minutes.

Migraine-induced vertigo can last minutes to hours.

Vertigo vs. dizziness

People who experience vertigo will say that they genuinely feel that they’re moving or that the world is spinning around them — the sense of movement when there’s no movement.

Whereas with dizziness, while being an otherwise ambiguous term, patients will often interpret it as a sense of imbalance within their own space.

Types of vertigo

There are two categories of vertigo: peripheral vertigo and central vertigo.

Peripheral vertigo occurs as a result of a problem in the inner ear or the vestibular nerve. The vestibular nerve connects the inner ear with the brain.

Central vertigo occurs when there’s a problem in the brain. Causes may include a stroke, traumatic brain injury, infection, brain tumor, or multiple sclerosis.

Vertigo in pregnancy

Pregnant people might experience dizziness more often than vertigo. This is usually due to unstable blood sugar.

Also, in the third trimester, the baby can put pressure on some of the major abdominal veins when the parent lies on their back, which can cause dizziness.

Is vertigo hereditary?

Vertigo can be hereditary. The condition is called familial benign recurrent vertigo. It’s a form of migrainous vertigo, because it’s strongly associated with the incidence of migraine attacks.

Vertigo diagnosis

Vertigo is often diagnosed clinically with a thorough history and clinical examination.

Certain clinical tests and observations, such as head impulse testing or the Dix-Hallpike maneuver (patients are quickly lowered from a seated position to a supine position), can be helpful when assessing for vertigo.

On certain occasions, additional testing, such as imaging or tests of the auditory (hearing) or vestibular (balance) systems may be recommended.

One Comment
  1. Reply
    Michael Kehoe

    Very good information and thank you I did request this from you yesterday thanks so much for your quick response I suffer badly with vertigo and tinnitus it really gets me down .

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