29/10/2023 in Tips & Advice

Dizziness vs. Vertigo: What’s the Difference?


Dizziness vs. Vertigo: What’s the Difference?

Unravelling the Mysteries of Vestibular Sensations

Have you ever felt lightheaded or unsteady and wondered if it’s dizziness or vertigo? While these terms are often used interchangeably, they represent distinct sensations with different causes and implications, especially when it comes to vestibular disorders. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the differences between dizziness and vertigo and shed light on their connection to vestibular disorders.

Defining Dizziness

Dizziness is a broad and often vague term used to describe various sensations of altered spatial orientation or unsteadiness. When someone mentions feeling dizzy, they could be referring to one of several sensations, including:

  • Lightheadedness: A feeling of nearly fainting, often accompanied by nausea or a “floating” sensation.
  • Unsteadiness: A sense of instability or imbalance without a spinning or rotational component.
  • Disequilibrium: Difficulty in maintaining a stable posture or walking without feeling wobbly.

Dizziness can be caused by various factors, such as dehydration, low blood pressure, anaemia, or underlying medical conditions unrelated to the vestibular system.

Understanding Vertigo

Vertigo, on the other hand, is a specific type of dizziness characterized by a false sensation of spinning or rotational movement. When you experience vertigo, it feels as if you or your surroundings are moving or spinning when, in reality, they are not. Vertigo can be intense and disorienting, leading to nausea and a loss of balance.

The Vestibular Connection

Now, how do these sensations relate to vestibular disorders? The vestibular system, located within the inner ear, plays a central role in both dizziness and vertigo. This intricate system is responsible for providing the brain with information about balance, spatial orientation, and head position.

When the vestibular system malfunctions due to issues like benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis, or labyrinthitis, it can lead to sensations of dizziness and vertigo. These disorders disrupt the normal functioning of the vestibular system, causing false signals to be sent to the brain, which results in the sensations of dizziness or vertigo.

Seeking Help and Diagnosis

If you experience recurrent or severe dizziness, vertigo, or any related symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical attention. A healthcare provider, preferably one with expertise in vestibular disorders, can perform a thorough evaluation, which may include:

  • Detailed medical history assessment
  • Vestibular function tests
  • Balance assessments
  • Imaging studies (such as MRI or CT scans)


Understanding the distinction between dizziness and vertigo is crucial, as it can aid in the diagnosis and management of vestibular disorders. Whether you’re dealing with fleeting moments of lightheadedness or intense episodes of vertigo, seeking professional guidance is the first step toward regaining your equilibrium and quality of life.

At Advanced Vestibular Clinics, our team of vestibular specialists is here to help you navigate the complexities of these sensations and provide personalized care tailored to your needs. Don’t let dizziness or vertigo hold you back. Take the first step toward a balanced future today.

#Dizziness #Vertigo #VestibularDisorders #Balance #VestibularSystem