Learn About Vertigo

What is the definition of Vertigo?

Vertigo is a sensation of motion or spinning that is often described as dizziness.

Vertigo is not the same as being lightheaded. People with vertigo feel as though they are actually spinning or moving, or that the world is spinning around them.

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What are the alternative names for Vertigo?

Peripheral vertigo; Central vertigo; Dizziness; Benign positional vertigo; Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

What are the causes of Vertigo?

There are two types of vertigo, peripheral and central vertigo.

Peripheral vertigo is due to a problem in the part of the inner ear that controls balance. These areas are called the vestibular labyrinth, or semicircular canals. The problem may also involve the vestibular nerve. This is the nerve between the inner ear and the brain stem.

Peripheral vertigo may be caused by:

  • Benign positional vertigo (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, also known as BPPV)
  • Certain medicines, such as aminoglycoside antibiotics, cisplatin, diuretics, or salicylates, which are toxic to the inner ear structures
  • Injury (such as head injury)
  • Inflammation of the vestibular nerve (neuronitis)
  • Irritation and swelling of the inner ear (labyrinthitis)
  • Meniere disease
  • Pressure on the vestibular nerve, usually from a noncancerous tumor such as a meningioma or schwannoma

Central vertigo is due to a problem in the brain, usually in the brain stem or the back part of the brain (cerebellum).

Central vertigo may be caused by:

  • Blood vessel disease
  • Certain drugs, such as anticonvulsants, aspirin, and alcohol
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Seizures (rarely)
  • Stroke
  • Tumors (cancerous or noncancerous)
  • Vestibular migraine, a type of migraine headache
What are the symptoms of Vertigo?

The main symptom is a sensation that you or the room is moving or spinning. The spinning sensation may cause nausea and vomiting.

Depending on the cause, other symptoms can include:

  • Problem focusing the eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss in one or both ears
  • Loss of balance (may cause falls)
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea and vomiting, leading to loss of body fluids

If you have vertigo due to problems in the brain (central vertigo), you may have other symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Double vision
  • Eye movement problems
  • Facial paralysis
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness of the limbs
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What are the current treatments for Vertigo?

The cause of any brain disorder causing vertigo should be identified and treated when possible.

To help resolve symptoms of benign positional vertigo, the provider may perform the Epley maneuver on you. This involves placing your head in different positions to help reset the balance organ.

You may be prescribed medicines to treat symptoms of peripheral vertigo, such as nausea and vomiting.

Physical therapy may help improve balance problems. You'll be taught exercises to restore your sense of balance. Exercises can also strengthen your muscles to help prevent falls.

To prevent worsening of symptoms during an episode of vertigo, try the following:

  • Keep still. Sit or lie down when symptoms occur.
  • Gradually resume activity.
  • Avoid sudden position changes.
  • Do not try to read when symptoms occur.
  • Avoid bright lights.

You may need help walking when symptoms occur. Avoid hazardous activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery, and climbing until 1 week after symptoms have disappeared.

Other treatment depends on the cause of the vertigo. Surgery, including microvascular decompression, may be suggested in some cases.

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What are the possible complications of Vertigo?

Vertigo can interfere with driving, work, and lifestyle. It can also cause falls, which can lead to many injuries, including hip fractures.

When should I contact a medical professional for Vertigo?

Contact your provider for an appointment if you have vertigo that does not go away or interferes with your daily activities. If you have never had vertigo or if you have vertigo with other symptoms (such as double vision, slurred speech, or loss of coordination), call 911 or the local emergency number.

Tympanic membrane
Cerebellum - function
Ear anatomy
What are the latest Vertigo Clinical Trials?
Establishment and Application of a New Imaging System for Otology Based on Ultra-high Resolution CT

Summary: Tinnitus, hearing loss and vertigo are the three major diseases of otology, affecting hundreds of millions of people in our country, and are major health problems. Ear structures and lesions are deeply embedded in the bone, and CT is the preferred examination technique. The key structures of the ear are small and the lesions are hidden. Spiral CT is not visible and undiagnosed due to insufficient ...

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The Role of Dopamine, Reward Learning and Prefrontal Activity in Expectation-induced Mood Enhancement

Summary: Although placebo effects on depressive symptoms are well documented, the underlying mechanisms and moderating factors of expectation effects on mood and depression are poorly understood. Various studies show reduced reward processing in clinical and subclinical depression, presumably due to abnormalities in the dopamine (DA) system. Here, the investigators will test whether expectation-induced moo...

What are the Latest Advances for Vertigo?
Levosulpiride for Premature Ejaculation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Highly Aggressive Osteosarcoma of the Ethmoids and Maxillary Sinus-A Case of Successful Surgery and Proton Beam Radiotherapy in a 65-Year-Old Man.
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MRI Images-Based Evaluation of Efficacy of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer and Its Effect on Depression and Immune Function of Patients.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: November 09, 2021
Published By: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Bhattacharyya N, Gubbels SP, Schwartz SR, et al. Clinical practice guideline: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (update). Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;156(3_suppl):S1-S47. PMID: 28248609 www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28248609.

Chang AK. Dizziness and vertigo. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 16.

Crane BT, Minor LB. Peripheral vestibular disorders. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Francis HW, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 167.

Kerber KA, Baloh RW. Neuro-otology: diagnosis and management of neuro-otoligical disorders. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley's and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 22.