When you have vertigo, your brain gets confused. You know you’re standing still, but you may suddenly feel as though you’re spinning, or that the world is spinning around you. Vertigo may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sweating, fatigue, or a headache. There are a number of causes of vertigo, most of which originate in the nervous system.
Causes of vertigo include:
- Problems with the peripheral nervous system, including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis, and acute vestibular neuronitis.
- Problems with the central nervous system, including cervicogenic vertigo, migraines, multiple sclerosis, and acoustic neuroma,
- Side effects of medications, such as antidepressants, diuretics, sedatives, hypnotics, antibiotics, antineoplastics, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives, cold medicines, and aspirin,
- Symptoms of certain conditions, including diabetes, high triglycerides, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, high or low blood pressure, and food allergies and sensitivities.
- Trauma, especially head trauma
In order to accurately diagnose the cause of your vertigo, your health care provider will obtain a thorough medical history and conduct a comprehensive exam, which may include a number of positioning tests in an attempt to reproduce the sensation. It sounds unpleasant, but figuring out whether certain positions trigger vertigo can help pinpoint the cause.
Treatment of vertigo depends on the specific situation, though there are some things that can help most cases. Limit your consumption of alcohol, fried foods, and salt. If you smoke, try to quit, or at least cut back. Some people get relief from taking vitamin b6 or ginkgo biloba. Exercise, stress reduction, and getting enough sleep should all be part of a treatment plan for vertigo.
A large number of people with vertigo are diagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is caused by bits of calcium in the inner ear. This type of vertigo is most often treated using the Epley Manoeuvre. The technique involves lying down and moving rapidly from side to side. This helps move the calcium debris to a location that is less sensitive. At the Eastern Brain Centre we are experienced in performing the Epley Manoeuvre.
Research shows that many patients with BPPV experience significant relief from their vertigo after just one session. Nearly all patients get relief after 2-3 sessions. Patients with certain conditions, including severe carotid stenosis, heart disease, advanced rheumatoid arthritis, or certain neck problems, such as cervical spondylosis need to be careful when undergoing the treatment. We will take these factors into account when designing any treatment plans.
Those with vertigo caused by Meniere’s disease may get relief by reducing their sodium consumption, though results can be variable.
When vertigo is a symptom of migraine, lifestyle changes may offer relief from both the migraine and the vertigo. Consider avoiding aspartame, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol. Exercise and getting more sleep may also help.
There are also vestibular exercises, such as the Brandt-Daroff exercises, which you can do at home to help treat BPPV and many other causes of vertigo, including labyrinthitis, vestibular neuronitis, and vertigo associated with migraine. We’ll prescribe exercises for you when appropriate.
If your vertigo is accompanied by visual disturbance, weakness, drowsiness, weakness, clumsiness, uncontrolled movements, unusual behaviour, or abnormal eye movements, you should seek immediate medical attention as these may indicate a serious condition.
If you’re experiencing vertigo, call the Eastern Brain Centre now on 03 8652 1628 to arrange an appointment to learn more about if we can help you get relief.