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What is Vertigo?

Vertigo, or dizziness, is a symptom, not a disease. Vertigo refers to the sensation of spinning, whirling, lightheadedness, faintness and unsteadiness. Vertigo usually occurs as a result of a disorder in the vestibular system (the vestibular nerve, inner ear, brainstem and cerebellum). Vertigo may last from a few minutes to several days and sometimes even longer.

Symptoms of Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Earache
  • Blurred vision
  • Light-headedness
  • A loss of  balance
  • Vomiting
  • Moving or spinning

What are the causes of Vertigo?
  • Labyrinthitis - the sudden onset vertigo can be caused by labirynthitis and is triggered by a head or body movement. It is usually accompanied by a feeling of nausea and malaise.    
  • Vestibular Neuritis - the vestibule and the semicircular canals work with the brain to control balance. Vestibule neuritis is an inflammation of the vestibular nerve; this is the nerve running to the vestibule. Vestibular neuritis often follows an upper respiratory infection whereby patients will experience vertigo, but will not usually suffer from tinnitus, or hearing problems.
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) - normally occurs in elderly  patients, can occur when one is lying for long periods on their back, can occur during an ear infection or even as a result of ear surgery,
  • Ear pain while flying
  • Problems with Hearing
  • Meniere's disease
  • Low blood pressure
  • Head injury – vertigo can occur after a head injury. If this occurs or if you experience any of these symptoms after a head injury, you should visit you doctor immediately.
  • Chronic otitis media- Patients with chronic Otitis Media may experience episodes of vertigo.
  • Boat, airplane, car travel (motion sickness) can cause vertigo.

Other Common Causes of Vertigo Include:

  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Stress
  • Low blood sugar
  • Head injury
  • Anemia
  • Heart or circulation problems

Diagnosing Vertigo

Your doctor will do a physical examination that includes measurements of orthostatic vital signs and an otoscopic examination. Neurologic examination should include the Dix-hallpike maneuver to differentiate peripheral from central vertigo.

Treatment for Vertigo

The treatment for dizziness will depend on the cause of dizziness. Homeopathic therapies can work very effectively for Vertigo (dizziness). Such treatments include:

  • Meclizine (Antivert, Bonine)
  • Clonazepam (klonopin)
  • Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)

Surgery may be the last option to help reduce severe attacks of vertigo which are caused by Meniere’s disease.  A procedure called an endolymphaec sac decompression reduces swelling in the labyrinth by removing some of the bones surrounding your inner ear.

Tips to Prevent and Reduce Bouts of Vertigo
  • If you feel dizzy sit down immediately.
  • Avoid triggers that make symptoms worse, such as:
    • Reading
    • Sudden movements
    • Bright lights
    • Watching TV
    • Smoking
  • Use a high pillow, so that your head is higher then the rest of your body.
  • When reaching out for something high, avoid over extending your neck.
  • Using a walking stick prevents you from falling and also assists with balance.
  • After an attack, avoid going straight back to what you were doing previously, rather take a break.
  • Avoid bending down; this is to prevent your head from being lower than your shoulders, thus prevent you from getting dizzy upon rising.
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