What is Vertigo? Vertigo is a type of dizziness. Dizziness is generally described as a floating feeling of instability or unsteadiness. Unlike other types of dizziness, vertigo-an illusion of movement when no movement takes place-is a sign that can be objectively tested. Some patients have overlapping signs and symptoms of vertigo plus lightheadedness or dizziness.
What causes vertigo? Most vertigo is caused by problems with the peripheral or central nervous system. Vertigo that originates in the peripheral nervous system is often connected with issues in the inner ear. Such causes of vertigo include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), acute vestibular neuronitis, labyrinthitis, and Meniere’s Disease. Vertigo related to the central nervous system is brought about by disorders of the brain or the spinal cord. Acoustic neuroma, migraines, and multiple sclerosis are included in this category, as is cervicogenic vertigo. Cardiovascular problems such as vetebrobasilar insufficiency are among vertigo’s many possible sources, as well.
Vertigo can be caused by a wide variety of medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives, diuretics, barbituates, salicylates (e.g., aspirin) and sedatives or hypnotics. Antibiotics that have been linked to vertigo include gentamicin and streptomycin, as well as antineoplastics such as cisplatin and carboplatin.
Metabolic issues-such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, high blood triglycerides, hypoglycemia, and food allergies/gluten sensitivity- can also cause or worsen vertigo. Other patient’s vertigo can be traced to motor vehicle accidents, falls, or work-related and other types of traumas or illnesses.
Diagnosis and Treatment: To diagnose the cause of vertigo, your health care provider will perform an examination, including a variety of positioning tests, to check if they will reproduce the sensation of motion. Other tests may be necessary as well.
A specific treatment, known as the Epley maneuver, is used for BPPV. Your doctor can also recommend vestibular rehabilitation exercises for you to perform at home as part of your treatment. Treatment for vertigo caused by other conditions depends on the individual case. Meniere’s disease patients, for example, can benefit from a low-salt diet. Treatment for vertigo associated with migraine headaches should include dietary changes, such as reduction or elimination of aspartame, chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine. A regular program of exercise, reducing stress, getting adequate sleep, and performing vestibular rehabilitation exercises can also help reduce symptoms. Your doctor will determine the best course of treatment based on your particular type of vertigo.
Also, working with your doctor of chiropractic can help improve postural issues that can bring relief to patients whose vertigo is exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle or working in certain positions for extended periods. Your doctor of chiropractic can also help create an appropriate exercise program for you and counsel you regarding healthy lifestyle and stress relief.