Three causes of Vertigo and Dizziness
People often confuse vertigo and dizziness as a diagnosis.
This can be problematic – as it doesn’t truly tell you what the underlying cause is and what you can do about it!
It’s a little like diagnosing someone as having pain. If we don’t know the cause of the pain, how are we going to treat it?
Of course, pain killers can help but they are not addressing the source of the problem and in the long term, could be detrimental to your health.
Vertigo and Dizziness sufferers are often faced with this very same situation. “You have vertigo”.
The proposed solution is often medications which can sometimes help with symptoms but often do not address the underlying cause.
So you are now probably wondering then, what are the different causes of vertigo and dizziness?
Today I will explain 3 different types and what we can do about them.
Causes of Dizziness and Vertigo
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
This is one of the most common causes of vertigo. In a population-based survey, the lifetime prevalence of BPPV was 2.4 percent. The likelihood of getting BPPV increases with age and is seven times higher in those older than 60 years, compared with those aged 18 to 39 years.
BPPV is caused by the displacement of debris called otoconia which migrate into the semi-circular canal of the inner ear.
Because the semi-circular canals are used to sense acceleration and direction of head motion, the debris gives the brain a false sense of movement.
It is usually triggered with movements such as looking up, looking down and rolling in bed. A sense of motion or spinning often lingers after your head stops moving. It generally lasts a couple of seconds but in some cases can persist until the head is moved into a different position.
Treatment involves repositioning manouvres (such as the Epley and Semont manouvres) to relocate the debris back into it’s correct position inside the inner ear.
You can get assessed and treated for BPPV using our Vestibular Rehabilitation service.
This is an umbrella term for conditions which affect the reflex pathways between the inner ear, the eyes, the brain and the balance muscles.
These conditions can cause a persisting feeling of:
- feeling off centre
- poor balance in walking or standing
- dizziness with visual stimulation e.g. looking out car windows, scrolling on phone, watching telly
- dizziness with head motion e.g. head turning
Conditions under this umbrella can include Meniere’s, labyrinthitis and neuritis.
Treatment involves exercises to improve eye stability and balance.
You can get assessed and treated for hypofunction using our Vestibular Rehabilitation service.
Cervicogenic Dizziness (neck related dizziness)
Cervicogenic Dizziness occurs mostly in people who have neck stiffness and/or pain.
Because of the altered sensory input from the neck, a mismatch can develop between the signals your balance system is feeding back to your brain.
For example, your neck might be slightly side bent to the left, but the sensory information from the nerves is telling your brain that it is straight.
Treatment involves direct treatment to the neck and surrounding muscle and joints. Exercises are then prescribed to improve strength, range of motion and joint position sense.
You can get assessed and treated for cervicogenic dizziness using our Vestibular Rehabilitation service.