What is Vertigo?
A feeling of spinning that commonly results from issues with balance sensors in the inner ear. The sensation is usually fairly specific, and can be induced by certain movements such as getting up from the ground. Sometimes the feeling can be linked to a specific side of the body, such as only happening when the head is tilted to the left, or to the right. The dangers of vertigo include loss of balance, falls, and disorientation when operating a vehicle or machinery.
What Causes Vertigo?
Common causes of Vertigo are:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo(BPPV)
- Meniere’s disease
- Head/Neck Trauma – can lead to BPPV
- Brain Tumors
- Side Effects of certain medications such as certain blood pressure medications
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo(BPPV) is a form of vertigo characterized by the shifting of calcium crystals in your ears. Inside our ears are calcium crystals, called otoconia, that help with balance. When these crystals are forced out of position, it causes dizziness especially when the head is tilted and moves back upright. This is the most common cause of vertigo, and is usually treated with physical therapy maneuvers that aim to restore the positions of those crystals. Your physical therapist will provide treatment after it is determined that you have BPPV.
The actual cause of this form of vertigo is unknown, but is believed to be linked to the fluid inside of our ears. This fluid is sensitive and if its volume, pressure, or composition is altered, it can cause Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of this include vertigo, ringing in the ear, and episodes of hearing loss. This is commonly treated with medications and in more severe cases surgery.
This is caused by inflammation in the inner ear usually due to viral, or bacterial infections. Inflammation can cause sensors in your ear to think movement is occurring when it is not. This will usually go away in a few weeks, but can be treated with medications, and minimizing sudden movements.
In general, vertigo will usually stop once the cause is determined and treated. In itself it is not very serious condition, however the dizziness can cause loss of balance, falls, and injury. If you have vertigo, avoid sudden movements, and if possible minimize driving. Contact us to schedule an appointment so you can be evaluated and treated immediately.
Please consult your physician if you are experiencing severe pain.