What is vertigo?
It’s the feeling of false movement – as if the world is spinning like a carnival ride and you can’t get off.
It is a symptom of many conditions and diseases that target the inner ear, according to the National Organisation for Rare Disorders (NORD). They include:
- benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Ménière’s disease
- ear infections
Other conditions that can cause vertigo involve the central nervous system. These include:
- multiple sclerosis
- alcohol or medication toxicity
- viral meningitis
The vertigo treatment that’s right for you will likely depend on the root cause of your condition.” An accurate diagnosis is essential, especially to rule out central nervous system causes. Diagnosis most commonly includes an MRI of the brain. Audiology tests of the workings of the ear can also be helpful,” says neurologist, Arif Dalvi.
But be sure to also rule out these hidden medical conditions that could be making you dizzy.
Consider vestibular rehabilitation
Many of the conditions which cause vertigo affect the vestibular system, a pathway located within the inner ear which regulates balance, equilibrium and spatial orientation. According to VeDA – a group focused on inner ear disorders – vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) can be effective at reducing vertigo and dizziness. VRT is an exercise-based program customised for each patient. The exercises focus on improving balance, reducing dizziness and dealing with other symptoms of vertigo. Your doctor will refer you to a physical therapist for this program.
Aside from persistent dizzy spells, here are 41 strange symptoms that could signal a serious disease.
Try the Epley manoeuvre
“For benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a vestibular exercise called the Epley manoeuvre can be helpful,” says Dr Dalvi. BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo, and it’s the result of calcium crystals (otoconia) coming loose in the inner ear. According to the Mayo Clinic, the manoeuvre (also called “canalith repositioning“) is best performed by a medical professional because of the risk of neck or back injury. By laying back and then shifting the head, the process moves the crystals to a less sensitive area where they can be reabsorbed by the body. Your doctor will prescribe the Epley manoeuvre for right or left side BPPV.