Vertigo Symptoms and Treatment

The world starts spinning while you’re sitting or standing still, you feel dizzy and anxious and have no idea why? Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of vertigo and ways to treat it.

When the world starts spinning while you’re just standing or sitting still, there’s no question that it not only makes your tummy a little queasy, but it also raises your anxiety levels to all new heights. When this happens, you begin to wonder what is wrong with you and why you have this “drunk” feeling when you haven’t touched alcohol in months. What is going on?

I began to wonder what was going on inside of me and how concerned I should be. So, I started doing some research on my own (which can be dangerous because you can diagnose yourself with twenty different diseases in about ten minutes) and found out some pretty interesting things.

Unfortunately, this happened to me a little over two months ago. My bouts of dizziness got continuously worse, until I spent most of my time feeling nauseous and had difficulty walking from one room to the other. Not only was it extremely uncomfortable physically, it was almost worst mentally.

Perhaps this information could help you if you feel like you’re in the same boat as me (because it sure felt like I was on a boat, swaying to the ocean waves). So, if you’re suffering from unexplained dizziness, please read on.

Let’s talk about what dizziness is

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The first thing that you need to realize is that “dizziness” is a widely used term that often has two very different meanings. It can be used to reference feeling lightheaded, as if you’re about to pass out, or it could mean that the room appears to be moving even when you’re standing still.

If you’re lightheaded, you may feel like you could faint at any moment and it is often alleviated by simply lying flat. You don’t have the sensation of movement, it’s more of a weakness or fatigue that creates a feeling that you’re about to lose consciousness.

Lightheadedness can be caused by something as simple as allergies, or it can be a greater medical concern as to issues with your heart or bleeding in your digestive tract. Certainly, if you are troubled by unexplained lightheadedness, then a doctor’s visit should be in order to rule out any major problems. But, for purposes of this article, let’s talk about the other definition of dizziness.

The other meaning of this word references feeling as if there is movement in the world around you even when there isn’t. It can be like the feeling you get when you spin in circles and try to regain your balance afterwards. You feel tilted or like you can’t walk straight. This is a dizziness, or vertigo, type of feeling.

What is vertigo?

According to WebMD, vertigo “occurs when there is conflict between the signals sent to the brain by various balance- and position-sensing systems of the body.” This means that your brain doesn’t accurately report to your other body parts the position that you’re in.

What areas of your body can be impacted by this sensory malfunction?

  • Eyes – You perceive things as moving even though they aren’t.
  • Nerves – You aren’t able to recognize your actual body position, making it difficult to take the steps necessary to keep or get your balance.
  • Skin – You can’t correctly identify your position because the way you feel gravity is off.
  • Ear – You don’t realize movement or your body perceives movement that didn’t occur, causing you to be off balance.

Its prevalence

Just how common is vertigo? More so than one may think. According to the Vestibular Disorders Association website, it is thought that approximately 35% of people who are forty or older have had some sort of vertigo related feeling. That is one out of every three people. And, people who are 65 or older have an 80% chance of having some sort of dizziness or balance related issue.

With the risk of these types of issues being so high, doesn’t it make you wonder what causes it? Why do so many people suffer from the feelings that vertigo often creates?

Causes of vertigo

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There are several things that may bring about a vertigo-related dizziness and one of the primary causes is inner ear issues. It’s amazing that this one tiny area of your body can cause you so many problems, but it certainly retains a lot of power when it comes to balance and your perceptions.

It could be that you have tiny calcium crystals in your ears, called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), that don’t move naturally. Normally, these crystals help you keep your balance, similar to the way a cat’s whiskers help it keep its balance. So, disrupt them from acting as they should and you end up feeling like the world is moving when it’s not.

Allergies and sinus issues can also inhibit your ears from properly draining fluid, which can send you slightly off balance. Some medications can create this effect as well; especially if you take more than you should or mix them with alcohol.

However, there are also other causes of vertigo such as migraines and head injuries. Both of these things can definitely make you feel off kilter.

Occasionally, there are very serious and potentially deadly reasons for having balance issues. These include when you don’t get enough blood to your head because the flow is inhibited in some fashion, growths in your inner ear, tumors and cancer. Although these are less common, they do occur from time to time.

Treatment options

If you have any sort of dizziness, the very first thing you should do is make a doctor’s appointment. You need to rule out the major considerations such as heart issues, nervous system malfunctions or any type of brain tumors or cancers.

Although these things aren’t likely, you will at a minimum lower your anxiety and ease your worries just by knowing that they do not apply to you.

Also, there are tests your doctor can perform right in the office that may tell him or her what is going on. They can assess your movements, symptoms and feelings and immediately rule out some possible causes. Most importantly, perhaps, is that you can also learn some movements that may relieve the dizziness feelings.

One such movement your physician may suggest is when you lie on the bed with your head hanging off the side of it so you’re looking at the wall. Turn your head to the right, then turn in back to the wall and then sit up. Lie back down again with your head hanging off the side, look left, look back at the wall and sit up again. That is one repetition.

Do ten repetitions of this exercise 1-3 times daily to deal with the vertigo feeling. What this does is moves those calcium deposits in your ears so that your body can start to regain some idea of your correct body position and it will regain balance on its own.

There are also motion sickness types of medications that the doctor can prescribe or that you can purchase over the counter. These may deal with the nausea type of symptoms and at least make it easier to function during the day.

The bad thing is that there is no treatment that is lifelong. Vertigo can come and go as it pleases and you just have to deal with it. But, once you’ve had it and can recognize it for what it is, at least you’re less likely to have the anxiety that comes with feeling something you’ve never experienced before and wondering what is going on within the dark recesses of your body.

Vertigo isn’t fun to deal with; that is for sure. But if you find that you have this from time to time, at least realize you’re not alone. Plus, in my case, it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “dizzy blonde”.

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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