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A Comprehensive Guide to Vertigo: Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies

Do you often feel like the room is spinning? Do objects in your field of vision seem to move when you don’t? If so, you may be experiencing vertigo, a sensation that the world around you is spinning. Fortunately, there are many remedies available to lessen or eliminate vertigo. This guide will explore the causes of vertigo, various treatments, and tips for managing the sensation.

What Causes Vertigo?

By uncovering the underlying causes of your vertigo, you and your doctor can develop a comprehensive treatment plan that may reduce or eliminate your dizziness. Furthermore, understanding the cause of your vertigo will help you avoid triggering factors and situations that may make your vertigo worse.

There are several conditions and circumstances that may lead to vertigo. However, the most common cause is a problem with the inner ear. The inner ear is responsible for both hearing and balance. It contains fluid-filled canals that help us keep our balance when we move our heads. When these canals become blocked or disturbed, it may cause vertigo.

Other possible causes include:

  • Meniere’s disease
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Migraine headaches
  • Brain tumors
  • Head injuries
  • Shingles near the ear
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Arrhythmia (heart rate or rhythm problems)

If you are experiencing vertigo but aren’t quite sure where it is coming from, the above list may help you narrow down the possible causes. If you are still unsure, vertigo may also be caused by anxiety, stress, and side effects from certain medications. These are just a few of the many possible causes of vertigo. Therefore, it is best to consult a medical professional to determine the root cause of your symptoms.

Types of Vertigo

There are two primary types of vertigo. Both are characterized by a spinning feeling, but they have different causes. The first type is called peripheral vertigo. It occurs when there is a problem with the inner ear or vestibular nerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain. This type of vertigo is often caused by Meniere’s disease, BPPV, or vestibular neuritis.

The second type is called central vertigo. This occurs when there is a problem in the brainstem or cerebellum and is most often caused by a migraine headache, stroke, tumor, or an injury to the head. 

Vertigo Symptoms

Vertigo is the sensation that you or your surroundings are spinning. Vertigo is a symptom, not a condition on its own. However, this feeling is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness of breath

Vertigo may last anywhere from a few seconds to several days. For some people, vertigo may be a chronic symptom that comes and goes. It may also worsen when you move your head, change positions, or look up.

Home Remedies for Vertigo

If you are experiencing vertigo, there are a few things you can do at home that may ease your symptoms.

The Epley Maneuver

This exercise is often recommended for vertigo caused by BPPV. It is a simple, non-invasive way to treat vertigo at home. The Epley maneuver involves moving your head and body in different positions to shift the tiny calcium crystals out of your inner ear canals. These crystals may cause vertigo when they become dislodged and enter the fluid-filled canals.

To do the Epley maneuver:

  • Begin by sitting up straight on a bed or couch.
  • Turn your head 45 degrees to the right.
  • Then, quickly lie down on your back with your head still turned. Remain in this position for 30 seconds.
  • Next, turn your head to the left, so it is pointing at a 45-degree angle, and wait another 30 seconds.
  • Then, turn your head and body 90 degrees to the left and wait 30 seconds.
  • Finally, sit up slowly on the left side of the bed or couch.

Depending on which ear is affected, you may need to do the maneuver on the other side as well. While you can do this exercise alone, having someone assist you the first few times may be helpful. 

The Semont Maneuver

If the Epley maneuver does not provide relief, your doctor may recommend the Semont maneuver. This vertigo treatment is similar to the Epley maneuver but is done with a few slight variations.

To do the Semont Maneuver:

  • Start by sitting on the edge of a bed or couch with your head turned 45 degrees to the right.
  • Quickly lie down on your left side. Be sure to keep your head turned.
  • Wait 30 seconds.
  • Quickly lie down on the opposite end of the bed without changing the direction of your head.
  • Keep your head at a 45-degree angle and lie for 30 seconds while looking at the floor.
  • Sit up slowly without moving your head and wait a few minutes before standing up.

If it is determined that the right ear is affected, reverse the moves and start by lying on your right side. Try doing the Semont maneuver three times a day until your vertigo symptoms improve.

Brandt-Daroff Exercise

The Brandt-Daroff exercise is another vertigo home treatment that may provide relief. This exercise is fairly simple and can be done in just a few minutes. This exercise may provoke vertigo symptoms at first, but with time and practice, it should help to lessen the frequency and intensity of vertigo attacks.

To do the Brandt-Daroff exercise:

  • Start by sitting straight on a bed or couch with your legs dangling over the edge.
  • Turn your head as far as you can to the left without moving your body.
  • Lay your head and torso down, so you are lying on your right side. Your legs should not move from their position.
  • Remain in this position for 30 seconds before sitting up and returning your head to the center position.
  • Repeat this exercise on the other side by turning your head to the right and lying on your left side.

Try doing this exercise for five repetitions on each side, three times a day. As you do these vertigo exercises, move slowly and deliberately to avoid vertigo symptoms. 

Lifestyle Changes

If you are frequently experiencing vertigo, there are certain lifestyle adjustments you may make to mitigate your symptoms. When you are dehydrated, you are more likely to experience vertigo. Therefore, drinking enough water daily, avoiding caffeine, and cutting down on alcohol may prevent dizzy spells. Likewise, foods with high sodium or sugar content may also trigger dizziness. Having a diet that contains omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin D may minimize your symptoms.

Moreover, over-the-counter medications such as Aspirin and ibuprofen may also increase vertigo risk. If you notice your symptoms of vertigo worsening after taking any medications, discontinue use and speak with your doctor. While certain medications may cause vertigo, there are supplements available that may reduce vertigo symptoms. Supplements such as ginger, ginkgo biloba, and vitamin B-12 may help vertigo and the symptoms associated with it.  

Visit the Ear & Sinus Institute for Vertigo Relief

Vertigo is often a sign of an underlying ear condition. If vertigo is affecting your daily life, the experts at the Ear & Sinus Institute can help you find relief. We will assist you in determining the root cause of your vertigo and work with you to create a treatment plan.

Vertigo is a common condition, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you find relief from your vertigo symptoms and improve your quality of life.

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