Vertigo

Vertigo is a feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not moving. It can also be an exaggerated feeling of motion when your body is still. Vertigo is a symptom that can be caused by many different conditions. Vertigo is different from passing dizziness or lightheadedness.

  • Causes

    Inner ear nerves and structures sense the position of your head and body in space. Vertigo is often caused by problems with these nerves and structures. Less commonly, it is due to problems in the brain.

    Vertigo can be classified as:

  • Definition

    Vertigo is a feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not moving. It can also be an exaggerated feeling of motion when your body is still. Vertigo is a symptom that can be caused by many different conditions. Vertigo is different from passing dizziness or lightheadedness.

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. To find the cause of your vertigo, your doctor may recommend tests. Tests may include:

    • Dix-Hallpike maneuver—particular movement of the head to relieve or stimulate symptoms
    • Auditory tests
    • Blood pressure test, both lying down and standing up

    • Electronystagmogram (ENG)—to check for
      nystagmus, an abnormal, rhythmic, jerking eye movement
    • MRI scan
    • Rotatory chair test in certain situations
    • Brainstem auditory evoked potential studies (BAEPS or BAERs)—to check for nerve conduction in the brain auditory nerve and brain stem

  • Prevention

    There is no known way to prevent vertigo.

  • Risk Factors

    Vertigo is a symptom that may be caused by many conditions. Having any of the conditions will make your more prone to having vertigo.

  • Symptoms

    Common vertigo symptoms include:

    • Sensation of rotation
    • Illusion of movement
    • Sensation of feeling pulled in one direction
    • Feeling off-balance

    Vertigo is different then lightheadedness. With lightheadedness, there is no sensation of movement. People often feel lightheaded before they faint.

  • Treatment

    Vertigo is a symptom of another medical condition. Treatment will focus managing the underlying medical condition. Efforts may also be used to decrease the symptoms of vertigo. These may include one or more of the following: