Vertigo and dizziness are common complaints of a large population of adults. Dizziness is a medical term that is used to describe a range of sensations like feeling faint, feeling woozy, weak, or somehow unsteady & disoriented. When a patient feels dizzy along with sensations of their surroundings moving or spinning even when they are perfectly still, it is called Vertigo.
Both dizziness and vertigo might seem similar as they often occur together, & dizziness is a common reason for adults to visit their doctors. But dizziness & Vertigo are different conditions altogether, & have different causes as well as different treatments.
Dizziness treatment often depends on the exact underlying condition that is causing it, & the individual symptoms of the patient. Frequent, recurring signs of dizziness are rarely a serious condition, & usually, go away on their own as soon as the underlying condition that causes those to goes away. However, if dizziness doesn’t go away on its own, then it might pose a health risk to the patient’s life in the long run.
Dizziness also makes it difficult for the patient to perform regular activities like walking, standing, running, etc., as they are at risk of falling & injuring themselves. Vertigo, on the other hand, is characterized by a feeling of dizziness coupled with a sensation of their surroundings moving or spinning when they are in fact not. Vertigo is also sometimes accompanied by frequent spells of nausea, motion sickness, & vomiting, making it more difficult to diagnose for doctors. Vertigo also is a symptom of some other underlying illness rather a condition in itself, & it is important to uncover the exact causes of it before going for a proper Vertigo treatment.
Vertigo symptoms might be barely noticeable by the patient or may be so severe that the patient feels unable to complete even small everyday tasks. These symptoms, unlike dizziness which tends to stay over a long period of time, might come & go depending on the exact diagnosis & medical history of the patient. Symptoms that are most commonly associated with Vertigo are a loss of balance, which can make it difficult for patients to walk in a steady path or pattern, a general feeling of malaise, dizziness, & nausea.
What causes dizziness?
Dizziness has a variety of causes; inner ear issues, motion sickness, & side effects of medication. Certain underlying health conditions such as poor circulation, an injury, or an active or dormant infection can also cause frequent bouts of dizziness. Your specific triggers for dizziness & vertigo also determine a lot about the exact causes of dizziness.
Other common causes of dizziness are:
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
BPPV is described as an intense & false sense of your surroundings spinning or moving when they aren’t. Any rapid changes in head position, certain head movements like sitting up, turning over in bed, or experiencing a blow to the head, can all give rise to or trigger dizziness. BPPV is the most common type of vertigo experienced by patients, & is often the most common clinically diagnosed cause of dizziness.
Viral infections of the Vestibular Nerve, also called Vestibular Neuritis, can also cause bouts of intense & recurring Vertigo, along with frequent dizziness. In case the signs of dizziness & vertigo occur along with a sudden loss of hearing, you might be suffering from labyrinthitis.
Meniere’s Disease involves a sudden buildup of fluid inside the ear, leading to a feeling of fullness & pressure in the ear, along with bouts of dizziness, Vertigo, & ringing in the ears called Tinnitus.
People who are suffering from Migraines may experience frequent bouts of dizziness & vertigo even without any particular or specific triggers for either condition.
Besides these most common causes of vertigo & dizziness, there are also plenty of others, including:
- Poor circulation or issues with the circulation in the body
- A sudden drop in blood pressure also called orthostatic hypotension
- Certain Neurological conditions like Multiple Sclerosis & Parkinson’s Disease
- Certain medications like anti-seizure medicines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, blood pressure medications, can cause dizziness & vertigo.
- Anxiety disorders
- Low iron levels or anemia
- Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia
- Carbon Monoxide poisoning
- Excessive amounts of heat & dehydration
Vertigo & dizziness treatment
Dizziness & Vertigo treatment involves a range of options involving Vertigo medicines, Vertigo exercises, & Vertigo exercises. Some cases of dizziness & vertigo may go away on their own, without any additional treatment or therapy required. However, certain cases of Vertigo & dizziness don’t go away on their own, & may require additional treatment to improve the patient’s condition.
Certain medicines are proven to be effective for Vertigo. These include Meclizine, benzodiazepines, Water pills called diuretics that help in reducing water retention inside the body, especially if you’re suffering from Meniere’s Disease, anti-anxiety medicines, & medicines to relieve nausea & dizziness. Medicines that help treat Motion Sickness might also prove to be helpful, along with migraine medicines, & medicines to treat inner ear infections that give rise to labyrinthitis & vestibular neuritis.
A detailed list of Vertigo medicines include:
- Travel Ease
Vertigo exercises are also an effective way for vertigo & dizziness treatment, & trains the body to compensate for the loss in the natural vestibular system. These exercises involve a series of maneuvers known as the head position maneuvers, & canalith repositioning maneuvers.
The latter set of exercises are targeted at repositioning the calcium carbonate crystals broken away from their original position & lodged in the semicircular canals where they cause problems with the nerves sending signals to the brain regarding balance & position.
These exercises include the well-known & highly effective Epley Maneuver, Brandt-Daroff Maneuver, the Semont-Foster maneuver, the half-somersault maneuver, & more such exercises that help your body train to balance itself without proper signals from the vestibular system.
Exercises that help your body gain balance again are also called vestibular rehabilitation, & your doctor might prescribe you some of these exercises to help your body compensate for your vertigo & signs of dizziness. Vestibular rehabilitation exercises are especially useful for patients with vertigo & dizziness arising from Vestibular neuritis & labyrinthitis.
Besides Head positioning maneuvers & Vestibular rehabilitation exercises, psychotherapy may also be used as effective dizziness & Vertigo treatment. Psychotherapy is helpful in reducing dizziness & positional vertigo brought on by PPPD. It is also effective for patients with underlying mental illnesses like generalized anxiety & mild depression, with frequent, recurrent Vertigo & signs of dizziness as comorbidity.