Vertigo and Dizziness

Vertigo and Dizziness Q & A

What’s vertigo?

Vertigo is the sensation of motion in the absence of movement. Vertigo causes someone to feel like either they are moving or there environment is moving when in reality they and the world are still.

What causes vertigo?

Most vertigo comes from inner ear problems. A cold or virus can cause temporary vertigo. Head trauma, ear infections, ear injuries, and Meniere's disease can also be a cause. Also, many patients develop vertigo because of BPPV, which occurs when small calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ear become dislodged and strike against the nerves that control balance. This can be temporary, or if the crystals become trapped in the inner air fluid, the vertigo becomes chronic.

What treatments are available for vertigo?

Vertigo often responds well to physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Surgery is needed in rare cases. Working with a doctor who has experience with vertigo, like Dr. Astrachan or Dr. Hecht, is important, because this condition can have quite a number of causes.

How does physical therapy help with vertigo?

Some types of vertigo improve with physical therapy. For benign positional vertigo the Epley maneuver can be curative. This procedure uses gravity to move the crystals in the inner ear away from the nerve endings. In fact, a number of patients find that just 1 treatment cures their vertigo. Other physical therapy procedures help retrain the brain to compensate for the imbalance the vertigo causes, which can limit the impact of the vertigo.

Is dizziness the same thing as vertigo?

People can use the word "dizzy" to describe vertigo, but they can also use it to describe feelings of lightheadedness. Lightheadedness comes from vascular problems and isn't the same as vertigo. Dizziness described as the sensation of motion, like spinning, is vertigo and usually comes from inner ear problems.

What’s positional vertigo?

Vertigo that occurs when someone changes their head position is called "positional vertigo.” Typically positional vertigo is brief but quite intense. Learning to avoid these movements can stop this type of vertigo.

Is vertigo connected to anxiety?

Anxiety doesn't cause vertigo, but it can make it worse. In fact, vertigo causes anxiety for many people. This connection makes it seem as though vertigo causes anxiety, or visa versa. Contact Dr. Astrachan or Dr. Hecht at Ear Nose and Throat Specialists of Connecticut with further questions.

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