If you have ever experienced a feeling like you were rocking or spinning but you haven’t moved an inch? That’s vertigo. If you remember as children spinning in circles just for fun, you remember the movement creates a similar effect to vertigo. In fact, too much spinning can give you the temporary effects of a vertigo-like condition. The childhood induced vertigo goes away pretty quickly though. But, for some adults, vertigo symptoms can last hours or even days. To understand vertigo treatments, it helps to know more about the nature of this condition.
Vertigo and Your Ears
Sound waves have to travel through your ear. Inside, tiny bones and nerves act like electrical conduits which send those sounds to your brain. Because of the ear’s sensitivity, and what your eyes see, your brain understands exactly where you are in that moment. When something disrupts this, you may experience vertigo.
Why does this happen? Well, you might have an ear infection, which is actually one of the main culprits in temporary vertigo. A rarer cause of vertigo is something called Meniere’s Disease. This condition causes not only vertigo but may also include bouts of tinnitus, a stuffy ear, or some hearing loss.
The key difference with Meniere’s is that the symptoms tend to occur in concert – for instance, more than one of these problems happens at the same time as the vertigo. Only .2 percent of the population develop Meniere’s, so your doctor will be able to rule this out by taking a medical history before discussing vertigo treatment plans.
There are several words used interchangeably when examining vertigo as a symptom of various conditions. Such terms include:
Imbalance: Not being able to keep balanced when you’re standing up or walking.
Dizziness: A very generic term that describes stability or balance problems.
Lightheadedness: Feeling like you might pass out.
Just be aware of this when you read articles about vertigo or discuss your symptoms with a physician.
Signs of Vertigo
You are sitting perfectly still, and the room starts spinning. You may have moved your head suddenly, and the whirling begins. Or, you might feel dizzy if you stand up suddenly. These signs of vertigo may occur with nausea and vomiting. Of course, this is very disturbing and sometimes frightening to sufferers.
When this happens and reoccurs often, it’s time to go to the doctor. If you feel weak on one side, call emergency services as this may be indicative of a stroke or other serious medical problem. Other indicators of a potentially severe medical issue include:
- Balance problems that result in falls
- Difficulty communicating
- Double or blurry vision
- Hearing loss
- High fever
- Tingling in your arms or legs
- Unusual headaches
What Might Contribute to My Risk for Vertigo
There are a variety of factors that may increase your risk of experiencing vertigo. If you have had a head or neck injury that can certainly contribute to your problems. Certain medications like those for heart conditions can set off recurring bouts of dizziness.
People over the age of 40, particularly women, seem more prone to vertigo as a result of the natural aging process. Stress and depression are also sometimes contributors.
How Do I Know for Sure?
If you believe you have vertigo and hope to get vertigo treatment options, step one is seeing your primary physician. They know your medical history and can review it based on your current symptoms.
Now your physician may send you to an ear-nose-and-throat doctor for further examination. The Otolaryngologist may work in concert with a few other specialists like Neurologists, so they can rule out serious underlying conditions like a brain tumor or an eye doctor to see if eye irregularities are contributing to your imbalance.
Seeing the doctor about dizziness is one of the most common complaints at the doctor’s, but having symptoms checked can save lives. Vertigo is telling you something is amiss, so don’t shrug off tests just because they’re lengthy. These are really important to your diagnosis and vertigo treatment plan.
So, what can you do about vertigo? In some cases, you don’t have to do anything. Your body just adjusts to the underlying cause and it goes away. Also, if you have an ear infection, a round of antibiotics can treat it and vertigo accompanying it. Other medications available for vertigo control include:
In the cases where dizziness continues, you can talk to your doctor about a variety of medication that may ease your symptoms. Below is a list of some medications a doctor may recommend for the treatment of Meniere’s and vertigo:
- Allergy Relief Formulas: sometimes give sufferers relief from vertigo, relieving a bit of the dizziness.
- Anti-Anxiety Medication: Treatments including Xanax or Valium. You should use the latter medications with care and only if a physician prescribes them for you.
- Anti-Nausea Medication: Some of these you can get over the counter. This won’t alleviate vertigo, but it can ease the sense of sickness.
- Migraine Medications: Severe chronic migraines often have vertigo as a side-effect. Medicines that prevent migraines increase the time between both a headache and accompanying vertigo.
- Water Pills: A doctor may suggest the use of diuretics for Meniere’s Disease sufferers. The diuretics moderate the amount of fluid in the inner ear which is where Meniere’s vertigo starts.
A doctor may direct you to see a physical therapist who specializes in vertigo and dizziness. During treatment, the therapist will try to move your head in specific ways. Physical therapists help with paroxysmal positional vertigo – a form of vertigo where head movements trigger the condition.
Some people with vertigo see results from this type of therapy within two sessions.
He or she may also give you exercises you can do at home. These will be a series of eye movements and head movements intended to decrease inner ear sensitivity.
As an alternative, you may go through balance therapy to decrease your sensitivity to motion. This type of therapy works best for people with inner ear conditions.
Finally, it is common for doctors to suggest counseling. This helps people whose vertigo comes from anxiety, depression, or stress. It can also help anyone with ongoing vertigo. In the case of Meniere’s Disease, people find themselves struggling with the fear of an attack since it comes on so suddenly and may put them in danger. Talk therapy can offer you the chance to get coping mechanisms that decrease your trepidation. Some of the ideas your therapist might suggest are breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga.
Surgery: Due to the invasive nature of surgery it is for worst-case scenarios like people with ongoing Meniere’s Disease without response to conventional treatments.
Home Treatments for Vertigo and Dizziness
It’s understandable that you want to find easy home treatments for vertigo. Please remember, however, that vertigo is related to a lot of other conditions. So even the best time-tested approaches may not work for you. This is often a trial-and-error situation.
Herbs for Meniere’s Symptom Control
Society is slowly but surely returning to a respectful relationship with natural curatives. With herbs, the goal is helping relieve vertigo symptoms. The four herbs regularly recommended for this are Cayenne, Ginkgo Biloba, Turmeric, and Ginger root. One teaspoon to a cup of warm water makes a “tea” to which you can add honey to offset flavors you may not like.
Turmeric targets dizziness. Apply it to your forehead in paste form. Ginger allays nausea. Ginkgo Biloba supports your immune system and Cayenne helps improve blood flow to the brain.
Changes in Lifestyle
Avoiding salt, alcohol, and caffeine seems to help vertigo. This is a recommendation for those suffering from Meniere’s Disease along with avoiding smoking.
You can enjoy some things around your house that are vertigo busters. Almonds are great for energy, lemon juice clears out your system, strawberries and yogurt seem to help with dizziness as does pomegranate juice and coconut water.
In terms of movement, don’t stand up or move your head too quickly. These movements are infamous for causing dizzy spells. If you learn to “spot” when dizziness begins this usually allays nausea. Spotting is simply keeping your eyes focused on one thing that is not moving.
Poor sleep hygiene contributes to a lot of problems, some of which trigger vertigo. When you are not sleeping right you get weary, emotional, anxious, and sometimes depressed. Studies show that vertigo sufferers who get enough sleep have their symptoms improve.
So, what exactly is sleep hygiene? It’s a basic protocol focused on helping you get the best night’s sleep possible. Here are some tips:
Consistency: Go to bed every night at the same time and get up at the same time. Avoid napping.
Avoid Distractions: Don’t read in bed or watch TV. This stimulates your brain, and you want to minimize excess stimulation.
Plan When You Exercise: Keep exercise routines before 2 pm daily. If you exercise too close to bedtime you’re “waking up” your mind again.
Stop Watching the Clock: Turn your clock away from you. Watching it only frustrates what is already a tossing-turning night.
Find a Quiet Space: Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark.
Stick to your Rituals: If you shower before bed, do it daily. If you meditate, likewise. Ritual sets your mind in the right framework for sleeping. Remember, consistency is essential.
Summing It All Up: There’s Help for Meniere’s Induced Vertigo
Some instances of vertigo fix themselves. Others do not. Vertigo and dizziness in and of themselves are usually symptoms of something else going on in your body, like Meniere’s Disease. Finding and treating that “something else” also treats your vertigo symptoms.
We suggest keeping a vertigo diary of sorts where you can list times, dates, places, and activities that were happening when your dizzy spell occurs. This will help you find, and avoid, triggers for your condition. Remember self-care – it’s really important.