What are the common causes of vertigo?
There are a large number of causes of vertigo, but the three most common causes are:
• Cold viruses
• Head trauma
• Meniere’s disease
Those are the most common causes.
What do these conditions do to cause this problem?
These are all conditions that affect the inner ear, brain or connection. The inner ear is responsible for our sense of balance and also our sense of position in space. When the inner ear dysfunctions, we lose our sense of balance and frequently suffer symptoms such as vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and loss of balance.
How can this be treated?
Most causes of vertigo are readily treatable with physical therapy, medication and time (many causes of vertigo resolve spontaneously). some patients might need surgery depending upon the exact cause of their vertigo.
Who should I see for vertigo treatment?
Neurologists or Otolaryngologists.
Can stress cause vertigo?
Mental stress can make many forms of vertigo worse, but will not, by itself, produce vertigo.
What is positional vertigo?
Positional vertigo refers to a variety of conditions where a change in the position of your head produces a sense of vertigo. The most common form is a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV for short. In BPPV when one lies down with the affected ear toward the floor, one gets a brief but very intense feeling of the world spinning around.
Is ataxia/unsteadiness related to vertigo?
Ataxia refers to clumsiness. The disease of the inner ear does not produce ataxia per se but can be confused with ataxia. Ataxia is produced by disease of the cerebellum, a part of the brain that works with the inner ears to help maintain balance and also fine motor control.
Can the symptoms of vertigo be confused with the symptoms of other diseases or conditions?
Yes, this is a common occurrence. Usually, they are mistaken because of the use of the word dizziness. Dizziness can refer to lightheadedness, which is not vertigo and is commonly produced by vascular problems. Dizziness also can mean vertigo, and there are very few causes of vertigo that do not come from the inner ear. Occasionally, rare types of strokes can cause vertigo, but these are usually associated with other neurological symptoms as well.
Does physical therapy help vertigo?
Yes. The reason physical therapy is helpful is that it helps train the brain to compensate for the loss of function in the ear. Just as you can make a muscle stronger by exercising it, you can make the balance system in the brain work better by exercising it.
What kind of physical therapy works to reduce vertigo?
It’s called vestibular rehabilitation, and it is a relatively new form of physical therapy. Not all physical therapists are trained in the practice. Typically the exercises consist of movements that initially make vertigo worse and balance tasks that are quite difficult. By doing these repetitively, the balance system in the brain learns to function better. Common exercises include moving the eyes from side to side, rotating the head from side to side, rotating the head from side to side while walking down a corridor, and things like this.
Is anxiety associated with vertigo?
Yes, vertigo causes extreme anxiety in most people. Anxiety, by itself, does not produce vertigo. However, in association with conditions that do produce vertigo, anxiety can make vertigo much worse. People with certain anxiety disorders such as panic attacks can sometimes also experience vertigo.
What is particle repositioning maneuver?
Particle positioning maneuvers are a treatment for BPPV, which we defined earlier in this chat. BPPV is caused by loose otoconia within the inner ear. Otoconia are small calcium carbonate crystals that are part of the balance mechanism. In BPPV, these crystals break loose from their normal attachments and are free to tumble around the inner ear. When the involved ear is suddenly put in a downward position, the otoconia stimulate a part of the inner ear abnormally. This results in a brief but intense whirling vertigo. Particle position maneuvers are a series of body turns that maneuver the otoconia into a different part of the inner ear where they will not cause symptoms. It is a very effective maneuver that takes just a few minutes to perform.