Vertigo is a condition that can cause you to feel like you’re spinning out of control or like your surroundings are spinning while you’re sitting still. The sensation of vertigo can make it difficult to walk, drive, or work because you don’t have a clear sense of which way is up or down.
If you have vertigo the only way to treat it properly is to find out what’s causing the problem. BPPV, for example, is a common cause of vertigo and it’s usually treated with positional changes and physical therapy involving canalith positioning of the head and neck, which causes the calcium deposits to move.
This usually results in the reduction of vertigo and dizziness. Drugs or other types of treatment are not recommended for treating this vertigo cause.
Some of the most commonly known causes of vertigo include:
Inner Ear Problems
One of the main causes of vertigo can be problems with the communication between the inner ear and the brain’s perception of the signals that are sent by the small bones and nerves in the middle and inner ear. When the brain has difficulty deciphering these signals, it can cause a person to fall or become injured because they can’t perceive distance or orientation correctly.
The inner ear consists of a delicate arrangement of tiny bones that interpret the signals and sounds collected by the outer ear and transferred through the eardrum. There are facial nerves and auditory nerves that transmit the signals into the brain. If problems occur with the delicate arrangement of the middle and inner ear, impairment of hearing or even hearing loss can result.
Some of the common causes of ear problems can include the area swelling and filling with fluid due to illness or problems with sinus of the throat or nose. This buildup and change of pressure is known as Meniere’s disease (one of the most common causes of vertigo) and can have the sensation of ringing in the ears or vertigo.
The middle and inner ear can also have a buildup of calcium, which can impair the sensitive arrangement of the inner ear. As pressure builds, the signals can become blocked, resulting in lack of balance for the individual. This buildup of calcium is called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV. It is not known what causes this buildup of calcium deposits.
Viral infections can cause labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis. This happens when the inflammation inside of the inner ear causes the lack of clear signals to be transmitted to the brain. When the brain is not sure of the direction of gravity in relation to the limbs of the body, it becomes disoriented and causes lack of balance and sense of direction. Drainage of fluids or buildup of waxy deposits against the eardrum can also cause the sensation of lack of balance and dizziness.
Problems with the brain, neck and even certain eye issues can be contributing factors to the problem of vertigo. Injuries that cause interference with the brain or nerves leading to the hearing and sight centers can cause problems.
If the brain is not able to perceive the nerve impulses and information correctly, lack of balance can occur. Automobile accidents, sports injuries, falls or even extreme loud noises can lead to injuries of the ears, brain and neck. Whiplash can cause strain on the muscles and nerves in the head and neck, causing dizziness.
Another common cause of vertigo may be the type of medication you’re using to treat other conditions in the body. Some individuals are sensitive to the various drugs prescribed and can experience vertigo as a result.
It is important to be aware of the side effects of the medications that are prescribed and ask your physician or pharmacist about the interactions between the drugs prescribed as well as the other substances ingested. Alcohol can impair the sense of balance and cause vertigo, especially when combined with pain medication.
Migraines can cause pressure to the nerves in the neck and brain, which can lead to vertigo symptoms. Some people have vertigo when undergoing a migraine attack. For many, the absence of light and movement can help the sensation and symptoms to clear with the passage of time.
Recreational drugs can cause vertigo because they interfere with the perceptions of the mind and movement. They affect judgement and discernment and should be avoided to prevent vertigo attacks as well as other health problems.
Another vertigo cause is vestibular neuronitis and is believed to be caused by inflammation of the 8th cranial nerve. The resulting vertigo can last for a longer period of time such as days or even weeks. This vertigo is classified as severe and can be accompanied with symptoms such as vomiting, nausea and respective involuntary eye movements that can affect vision.
Testing is often recommended to make certain no other problem exists that would cause vertigo. Treatment of the symptoms of inflammation and is often done with benzodiazepines or antihistamines.
Rarely, acoustic neuroma can infect the eighth cranial nerve and lead to the onset of vertigo symptoms like dizziness and loss of balance. Diagnosis is verified with MRI imaging and the treatment can involve surgery or radiation therapy. This is important to treat because, left alone, the tumor grows and it can affect other nerves and areas of the brain and brain stem resulting in severe injury and disability.
As you can see vertigo can be caused by a variety of things such as conditions, injuries, or medications. It is important to seek medical help to determine the exact cause of the problem and effective treatment to deal with the sensation of dizziness and loss of balance. Vertigo shouldn’t be taken lightly as it can cause people to fall and become seriously injured, especially the elderly who have more fragile bones and require longer recovery time after falling.
Most of the vertigo caused by inflammation or buildup of fluid in the ear does not last a long time. The more serious duration and longevity of the pain of vertigo may indicate a more severe condition that needs to be examined further by qualified medical professionals.