As kids, most of us loved putting out our arms and spinning and spinning until we fell dizzy. Of course, experiencing a spinning world around us when we are planted firmly on earth or aren’t on an amusement park ride, can feel incredibly scary. Welcome to the world of those with vertigo. Vertigo is a condition that makes you feel off-balance, lightheaded, and perhaps a bit disoriented. If this is happening to you here’s what you should know.
Vertigo and dizziness are different
Vertigo makes you feel as if you are moving even though you are standing still. The room around you may spin. You may feel nauseous, or you may even vomit if the vertigo is severe. Dizziness, on the other hand, occurs when you simply feel off-balance or lightheaded. Vertigo truly makes you feel as if you are spinning.
Vertigo is typically the result of a health problem
Vertigo is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition that impacts the function of the inner ear. How do we know that? Within our inner ears lie our vestibular system, which helps us stay oriented and balanced. Every day, an ENT doctor diagnoses and treats a variety of conditions and diseases that impact the vestibular system and cause vertigo. Some of the most common causes of vertigo include,
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
- Meniere’s disease
- Vestibular neuritis
- Head injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
Vertigo may be acute and simply go away on its own, while other causes will require treatment from an ear, nose, and throat doctor. If your vertigo is severe, is persistent, or is accompanied by hearing loss or vision changes, you must see your doctor immediately.
There are many ways to treat vertigo
It’s important for an ENT doctor to first determine the cause of your vertigo before prescribing any medications or treatments. We need to treat the underlying cause effectively to get rid of your vertigo. Some of how we may treat your vertigo include,
- Medications: Antibiotics or steroids are prescribed to treat infections or inflammation, while other medications may help alleviate nausea and vomiting caused by the vertigo
- Vestibular rehabilitation: If you deal with chronic or recurring bouts of vertigo your ENT may recommend vestibular rehab to help retrain the vestibular system to be able to better recognize the spatial orientation
- Canalith repositioning maneuvers: This technique is most often used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and uses certain head movements to reposition calcium deposits within the canal of the inner ear
If vertigo or dizziness is happening to you or a loved one, an ENT doctor may be the perfect doctor to turn to for answers and an evaluation. Don’t ignore your symptoms of lightheadedness and dizziness. An ENT professional can help.