Understanding Vertigo: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
Vertigo Guide – Types & Symptoms
Have you ever experienced a spinning sensation, feeling as if you or the world around you is in constant motion? If so, you might have encountered a condition known as vertigo. While it may share similarities with motion sickness, vertigo is a distinct and often unsettling experience. Vertigo is a complex condition that can disrupt your daily life and sense of stability. By understanding its causes, types, and available treatment options, you can take the necessary steps to address them.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a form of dizziness characterised by a false perception of movement or spinning. It can occur spontaneously or can be triggered by certain head movements. Unlike lightheadedness, which typically involves a feeling of faintness or weakness, vertigo specifically refers to the sensation of movement when there is no actual motion.
Types of Vertigo
There are two primary categories of vertigo: peripheral vertigo and central vertigo.
- Peripheral Vertigo: This is the most common type of vertigo and originates from issues within the inner ear or the vestibular nerve, which is responsible for maintaining balance. Conditions such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, and vestibular neuritis often cause peripheral vertigo.
- Central Vertigo: Central vertigo arises from abnormalities within the brain. Various factors can contribute to central vertigo, including stroke, brain tumours, migraines, traumatic brain injuries, infections, and multiple sclerosis. Unlike peripheral vertigo, which primarily affects the inner ear, central vertigo stems from disruptions in the brain’s processing of sensory information.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The symptoms of vertigo can vary from person to person but often include:
- Spinning sensation or a feeling of the room spinning
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abnormal eye movements (nystagmus)
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
To diagnose vertigo, medical professionals will conduct a thorough evaluation, which may involve a physical examination, medical history review, and specialised tests such as electronystagmography. These diagnostic tools help determine the underlying cause of vertigo and guide appropriate treatment strategies.
The treatment of vertigo depends on its underlying cause. Here are some common approaches:
- Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers, this technique involves specific head and body movements to reposition displaced calcium crystals in the inner ear, often alleviating vertigo associated with BPPV.
- Medications may be prescribed to relieve symptoms, such as anti-nausea drugs, antihistamines, or sedatives. In certain cases, medications targeting the underlying condition causing vertigo may be necessary.
- Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) involves specialised exercises and techniques aimed at retraining the brain to compensate for vestibular system dysfunction. This form of therapy can improve balance and reduce symptoms of dizziness.
- Surgical Interventions, in rare cases where vertigo is severe and unresponsive to other treatments, surgical procedures may be considered. These procedures aim to alleviate the underlying cause of vertigo, such as removing a tumour or repairing a damaged vestibular nerve.
Seeking Professional Guidance
If you experience recurring or persistent episodes of vertigo, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional at AVC Physio. We can accurately diagnose the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Early intervention and proper management can significantly improve your quality of life and help you regain control over your balance and well-being.