Vetigo 101: The Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

By Michele Robert Poche

 

Vertigo is the feeling of motion, spinning and tilting in the absence of any movement.  Although it can be quite debilitating, this compromised balance condition is actually quite common and can usually be resolved quickly and easily.

What causes vertigo? 
Typically, the disorder is brought on by an inner ear problem such as Meniere’s disease or BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which occurs when tiny calcium particles get displaced in the ear canal) but it can also result from an injury, stroke, tumor or as a medication side effect.

What are the symptoms?

  • Spinning
  • Swaying
  • Loss of balance, particularly when the head changes position
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Nystagmus (abnormal, jerky eye movements)

What are the treatments?

  • Time.  Sometimes the body adapts to the inner ear changes and the problem subsides.
  • Physical therapy.  Vestibular rehabilitation helps train your other senses to compensate.
  • The Epley Maneuver.  For BPPV specifically, the American Academy of Neurology recommends this exercise to assist in relocating the displaced particles in the ear canal.  It is often performed by a medical doctor.  Video demonstrations can be found on YouTube.com.
  • Medication. Indirect remedies are available to address issues such as inflammation that can cause vertigo or nausea that can result from it.  Home remedies can be found at health.facty.com.
  • Surgery. When vertigo is caused by injury or a tumor, more aggressive methods are needed.

Can vertigo be prevented?
It’s difficult to prevent but some repeat sufferers have reported success by using allergy medications and nasal sprays to keep the Eustachian tube and all other passages clear.

loss of balance when head changes position

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