Vertigo is the sensation of feeling off balance, unsteady or as though you are spinning. In most cases, it is caused by problems affecting the inner ear.
What Causes Vertigo?
BPPV: The inner ear is responsible for sending signals to the brain that help you maintain your balance. BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) develops due to a buildup of tiny calcium particles in the inner ear canals that interfere with those signals.
Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that occurs due to a buildup of fluid and pressure changes in the ear. The symptoms include vertigo, ringing in the ears and hearing loss.
Vestibular Neuritis: Vestibular neuritis is an inner ear disorder. It’s usually related to a viral infection that causes inflammation in the inner ear and interferes with the body’s ability to sense balance.
In rare cases, vertigo can also be a sign of a head or neck injury, a stroke, a tumor, migraines and certain medications.
Our Vertigo Treatment Options
Your vertigo treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms. For many patients, the brain will simply adapt to changes within the inner ear and learn how to maintain balance in new ways. Others will find that treatment is necessary to resolve their episodes of vertigo. For those patients, treatment options include:
The vestibular system is responsible for sending signals to the brain about how your movements relate to gravity. Vestibular rehabilitation is a form of physical therapy that strengthens this system and trains your body to sense balance in other ways.
Canalith repositioning is a treatment for BPPV. It involves positioning your head to move the tiny calcium particles in the inner ear to an area where they won’t cause problems. Your doctor will teach you how to do these maneuvers yourself so you can perform them at home as well.
For some patients, medicine can be an effective way to relieve symptoms that often occur with vertigo, such as nausea and motion sickness. If your vertigo is associated with an infection or inflammation, antibiotics or steroids may be administered.
In very rare cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. However, this is only done if your vertigo is associated with a serious condition, such as a tumor or neck injury.