While vertigo is more common among people aged 65 years old and above, anybody can experience vertigo. Vertigo is a feeling of spinning dizziness, which can be a symptom of many conditions. There are a handful of conditions linked to vertigo. Treatment of vertigo depends on what caused it in the first place.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a symptom linked to many different conditions, which refers to the feeling that you or the world around you is spinning. These dizzy spells may make you feel off-balance.
The experience of vertigo may differ from one person to another. It may be barely noticeable for some, but it may also be debilitating for others. You may experience vertigo for a period of a few seconds, but you may also experience periods of vertigo that last for much longer. Sometimes severe vertigo may last for a few days.
Vertigo may come with the following symptoms:
- feeling sick
- loss of balance which can make standing or walking difficult
Peripheral vertigo is usually caused by problems in the balance organs in the inner ear, while central vertigo is usually caused by problems in the brain or nervous system. Peripheral vertigo can be caused by an inflammation or a viral infection. Central vertigo can be caused by a disturbance in the brainstem or cerebellum, which can affect the interaction between a person’s perception of vision and his balance.
Vertigo is usually caused by 3 conditions, which are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, and Ménière’s disease.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo. You may experience short episodes of vertigo that last for a few seconds or minutes.
Labyrinthitis is an inflammation and swelling of the inner ear labyrinth, which is caused by a virus or inner ear infection. The nerve inside that gets inflamed is responsible for knowing the head’s motions and positions. It is also responsible for sound.
Ménière’s disease occurs when fluid accumulates in the inner ear. You may experience ringing in the ears and even hearing loss.
Vertigo may also have other causes, such as the following:
- Acoustic Neuroma
- Air Pressure Changes
- Anxiety Disorders
- Brain Tumor
- Chiari Malformation
- Head and Neck Injuries
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Perilymphatic Fistula
How to Get Rid of Vertigo While it is Happening
There are some things you may do to reduce symptoms of vertigo while it is happening. Doing these things may reduce the impact of vertigo on your day-to-day living.
You may lie down in a dark and quiet room to reduce the feeling of spinning. Sleep with your head raised by pillows. Get out of bed slowly. Sit up on your bed for a few minutes before getting up. You may be asked by your healthcare provider to avoid anxiety-inducing situations. If possible, try to relax and reduce anxiety. Anxiety can worsen vertigo.
Stay safe while doing day-to-day activities. Move your head around slowly and carefully. If there are movements that you know will make you dizzy, try to do these movements slowly. If you feel dizzy, take a seat right away. If you get up at night, turn the lights on. If you are at risk for falling, bring a walking stick with you for support. When trying to pick things up, do not bend down suddenly. Lower yourself slowly by squatting. When reaching for something high, do not stretch your neck.
Your healthcare provider may help you practice certain movements to alleviate the burden of vertigo symptoms. You may also do exercises to trigger your vertigo so that the brain gets used to these certain movements. Vertigo will be reduced. Make sure you have support in case you fall.
What are the Ways on How to Get Rid of Vertigo?
Treatment of vertigo depends on what causes it. In some cases, vertigo may go away on its own without treatment. The brain can adapt and rely on other mechanisms to maintain balance. In other cases, the presence of vertigo indicates the presence of some conditions which need medical attention.
Antihistamines and antiemetics may help relieve nausea.
For those with a middle ear infection, antibiotics, antiviral drugs, or steroids may be prescribed. For those with vertigo caused by a bacterial infection or inflammation, antibiotics or steroids may be prescribed to cure the infection and reduce the inflammation.
Some cases of vertigo may require surgery.
For cases of vertigo where vertigo is a symptom of another condition, treating the condition may help get rid of vertigo.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
For those with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), inner surgery may be required. Surgery will block an area of the ear with a plug, where vertigo is being triggered. Canalith repositioning maneuvers are body movements which move the calcium deposits out of the ear canal and out where they can be absorbed by the body, which a doctor may help you with. Some cases of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo clear up on their own without treatment after a few weeks or months. The debris in the ear canal that cause the vertigo can dissolve on their own and no longer cause symptoms.
For those with labyrinthitis which is a viral infection, vertigo may go away on its own. When labyrinthitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. Vestibular rehabilitation is a kind of physical therapy that may help strengthen the vestibular system. Labyrinthitis may be treated with vestibular rehabilitation.
For those with Ménière’s disease, many treatment options are available. You may be advised to have treatment for tinnitus or hearing loss. You may also be advised to start physiotherapy. Your secondary symptoms may also be treated as well, through addressing your anxiety, depression, or stress. Diuretics may be prescribed to help with the water accumulation. Medication may also be prescribed. You may be advised to eat a low-salt diet.
When Should I Seek Help for Vertigo?
If vertigo is persistent or does not go away, you should seek medical attention.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have the following conditions:
- you have vertigo with a severe headache
- you feel sick
- you are vomiting
- you have a high body temperature