If you’ve ever suddenly felt like you are on a tilt-a-whirl while you’re walking down the street or sitting in your office, then you might have vertigo. Vertigo is a specific type of dizziness that is characterized by the sudden sensation that you are spinning or that the world around you is spinning.
Vertigo is one of the most common medical complaints. Vertigo is the feeling that you’re moving when you’re not. Or it might feel like things around you are moving when they aren’t.
The feeling can come and go or it can last for hours or days. Along with the dizziness, people may also experience nausea or vomiting, headaches, double vision or a racing heartbeat. A lot of people assume that vertigo has to be a spinning sensation but it could be rocking, swaying, tumbling, or a feeling of bouncing up.
Usually, vertigo is a symptom of an underlying medical condition or several different conditions. Sometimes, vertigo will only occur once, but for other people, it will reoccur until the underlying cause is determined. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours and may come and go.
Loss of balance: A telling sign of vertigo is a sense that the world around is spinning. It may feel like everything is tilted. Distorted balance makes it difficult to walk or even stand. A feeling of imbalance creates the sensation of being pulled in a particular direction. Stumbling, poor coordination, and trouble maintaining a straight posture are also symptoms.
Chronic headaches: Many people with migraines experience problems with vertigo. Some people with headache disorders can develop vertigo even when they are not experiencing pain. Migraine headaches can result in dizziness that causes one to feel unsteady. The underlying cause is a combination of an altered blood vessel and neural processes that affect the vestibular area.
Ringing in the ears: Vertigo episodes are often associated with a loud ringing in the ears called tinnitus. It is common for a person with vertigo to hear a constant abnormal noise such as a ringing, buzzing, hissing, clicking, or whistling. The frequency can vary, and the pitch ranges from a high shriek to a low growl.
Many things can bring on a bout of vertigo, including inner ear infections, migraines and even some medications, including those used to treat high blood pressure or anxiety. But one of the most common causes is an inner-ear condition with a tongue twister of a name: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Queasiness and vomiting may also be part of the package.
BPPV occurs when tiny calcium carbonate crystals, which normally reside in an inner-ear organ called the utricle and help you keep your balance, break loose and travel into the semicircular canals of the inner ear.
Epley maneuver: If you want immediate relief from those bouts of spinning, you might consider something called the Epley maneuver. The treatment - typically performed by a specially trained physical therapist or ENT - involves moving the head in a series of precise positions, allowing the crystals to migrate out of the semicircular canals back to the original vestibular organ they came from - the utricle. Typically, BPPV can be eliminated in about 85 to 90 percent of patients with just one or two treatment sessions, though it can recur periodically.
Staying hydrated: Sometimes vertigo is caused by simple dehydration. Reducing your sodium intake may help. But the best way to stay hydrated is to simply drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated can help minimize dizziness and balance issues.
Ginger tea: Science finds ginger root can reduce the effects of vertigo better than manual repositioning, such as the Epley maneuver, alone. Ginger root can be steeped in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Honey can help with the bitter taste. Drinking ginger tea twice a day may help dizziness, nausea, and other vertigo symptoms.
Essential oils: Various essential oils, when applied topically or inhaled, may help to ease the symptoms of vertigo. Essential oils are natural and affordable options for managing the symptoms of vertigo, including nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Some of the options available for managing vertigo include peppermint, ginger, lavender, and lemon essential oils. Essential oils are inhaled through an infuser or diluted in a carrier oil before being applied topically.
Vitamin D: If you suspect your vertigo is connected to something you aren’t getting in your diet, you could be right. A study suggests that a lack of vitamin D can worsen symptoms for people that have BPPV. A glass of fortified milk or orange juice, canned tuna, and even egg yolks will all give your levels of vitamin D a boost.
Yoga: It is a good way to improve flexibility and balance, strengthen muscles, and reduce stress. Simple yoga poses may also help symptoms of vertigo. But you’ll probably want to avoid any positions that require sudden forward bends, as these may worsen symptoms.
Sleep well: Feelings of vertigo can be triggered by sleep deprivation. If you’re experiencing vertigo for the first time, it might be a result of stress or lack of sleep. If you can stop what you’re doing and take a short nap, you may find that your feelings of vertigo have resolved themselves.