What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is the feeling that you or your environment is moving or spinning. It differs from dizziness in that vertigo describes an illusion of movement. When you feel as if you yourself are moving, it's called subjective vertigo, and the perception that your surroundings are moving is called objective vertigo.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abnormal eye movements
The vertigo can be caused by a problem with the balance mechanisms of the inner ear, a problem with the brain, or a problem with the nerves that connect the brain to the middle ear.
Inflammation of the labyrinth, a system of canals and cavities within the inner ear which gives us our sense of balance.
The vestibule is in the inner ear. The vestibule and the semicircular canals work with the brain to control balance. Vestibular neuritis is inflammation of the vestibular nerve (the nerve running to the vestibule).
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
The vestibular labyrinth, inside the ear, includes semicircular canals (loop-shaped structures) that contain fluid and tiny hair-like sensors that monitor the rotation of the head. The otolith organs, also in the ear, monitor movements of the head and its position. There are crystals in the otolith organs that make us sensitive to movement. Sometimes, when the patient is lying down, these crystals can become dislodged and move into one of the semicircular canals, making it sensitive to head position changes - something it would not normally do. This unusual response to head movements by the semicircular canal can give patients vertigo symptoms.
Dysfunction of the semi-circular canals (endolymphatic sac) in the inner ear.
Some patients can develop vertigo after a head injury
Usually characterized by periodic headaches and some vision problems, such as seeing stars (as if someone had quickly flashed a strong light in your eyes). Some migraine patients also experience dizziness and vertigo. In fact, for some migraine patients, vertigo can eventually become the only symptom.
Dehydration may lead to feelings of lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or vertigo, especially when changing positions. This symptom is due to a drop in blood pressure.
Boat, airplane, car travel (motion sickness)
Some people experience vertigo during and/or after a plane, boat, or even a car trip. This may last from a few minutes, hours to a couple of days.
Some people who have been in a strong earthquake can suddenly feel that the firm ground around them moves long after the earthquake is over. This sudden sensation can occur on-and-off over a number of days, and sometimes weeks.
Treatments depend on the causes of the vertigo.
Treatment for Labyrinthitis
In most cases, labyrinthitis resolves itself without any treatment. If it is caused by a bacterial infection the doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
If symptoms are severe and the patient has suffered hearing loss from one ear the doctor may perform a labyrinthectomy - surgical removal of the vestibular labyrinth. After the operation the other ear will take over the patient's hearing and balance. A labyrinthectomy results in total hearing loss of the affected ear; therefore it is only performed if that ear has already suffered serious hearing loss.
Treatment for Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
Canalith repositioning procedure - the doctor, audiologist or physical therapist may treat the patient with a series of movements. These consist of several simple and slow maneuvers for positioning the patient's head. The aim is to move particles from the fluid in the semicircular canals of the inner ear into a vestibule (small bag like open area) where the otolith organs are - if the particles can be moved there they won't cause any problems and are more easily absorbed.
Each head position is held for about 30 seconds after vertigo symptoms or abnormal eye movements stop. The patient must avoid lying flat or placing the affected ear below shoulder level for a specified period after treatment - usually about a week, but this may vary. This will mean propping the head up with some pillows while sleeping so that it is higher than the rest of the body.
If the canalith repositioning procedure does not work there is the option of surgery. A bone plug is used to block the portion of the inner ear that causes the dizziness.
Treatment for Meniere's diseaseThere is no cure for Meniere's Disease; however there is treatment for the symptoms
- Nik Areena