Made famous by a wildly popular film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, vertigo represents one of the most misunderstood medical afflictions. The misconceptions of the medical condition often lead patients of the ailment to put off treatment that should include non-invasive procedures.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is literally experiencing the world spinning around you even when you stand still. Many patients complain of dizzy spells, which is the primary way to define the medical condition. Most healthcare professionals designated to diagnose and treat vertigo define the ailment to be a specific symptom of a misbalance between the brain and the inner ear.
Types of Vertigo
There are two general types of vertigo: Central and peripheral. Central vertigo refers to an issue within the brain, specifically damage done to the brain stem. This form of vertigo can be triggered by a stroke, tumor, or certain prescription and over the counter drugs. Peripheral vertigo results from inner ear issues that can be caused by inflammation or a serious head injury.
Vertigo is a medical condition that carries with it several symptoms starting with balance problems. Vertigo makes it difficult to stand, without relying on a stationary object for support. In addition to feeling unbalanced in a space, where either you or everything around you appears to be moving, vertigo can also produce the following symptoms:
- Ringing in one or both ears
- Eyes that move uncontrollably
What Causes Vertigo?
Linked to an inner ear issue, the development of vertigo is typically caused by one of three events.
Within the inner ear there are three fluid filled semicircular canals that are oriented in varying planes. Their job is to help the brain detect which way the body is moving. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo develops when minute calcium particles become dislodged and migrate into one of the three semicircular canals where they typically aren’t located. As you move the fluid also moves to tell you where you are in relationship to space. Once you stop the movement, the fluid stops moving, but in those with BPPV, the calcium particles continue to float in the fluid, giving you the sensation that you are continuing to move, resulting in the feeling of dizziness and imbalance.
Benign – Non life-threatening
Paroxysmal – Sudden, uncontrollable spells
Positional – Triggered by certain head positions or movements
Vertigo – A false sense of movement
Cervicogenic vertigo is a clinical syndrome characterized by the presence of dizziness and associated neck pain. Cervicogenic dizziness can be a primary or secondary source of vertigo so it can be difficult for healthcare professionals to differentiate cervicogenic dizziness from other vestibular disorders, requiring a high level of skill and a thorough understanding of the proper tests and measures to accurately rule in or rule out competing diagnoses.
Usually triggered by an infection, labyrinthitis results in the inflammation of the inner ear’s highly-sensitive nerves that help the body to sense balance.
Meniere’s Disease is a disorder that leads to an excess of fluid build-up which produces rapid changes in the air pressure of the ear, resulting in vertigo, ringing in the ears and hearing loss.
Other causes of vertigo, which are not as common can include stroke or tumor, migraine headaches and injuries to the head or neck often associated with car accidents. A less common cause is hearing loss associated with certain medications such as aspirin, NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and naproxen that people often use in association with chronic neck and back pain.
How Long Does Vertigo Last?
The most common types of vertigo seen in the clinical setting such as BPPV or cervicogenic generate significant symptoms that last for about three days. However, you might experience lingering symptoms that come and go over the course of three to four weeks.
After taking and reviewing an in-depth medical history, the doctor performs a general examination to rule out other possible medical conditions. The doctor will then administer one or more of the following tests to diagnose vertigo.
- Dix-Hallpike maneuver
- Romberg test
- Roll test
- Head impulse/thrust test
- Fukuda-Unterberger test
- Electronystagmography (ENG)
Vertigo Treatment in Mesa
These are just a few of the exercises we utilize in office for vestibular therapy of vertigo.
- Epley Maneuver
- Eye tracking exercises
- VOR exercises (vestibulo-ocular reflex)
- Bending forward to retrieve an object
- Focus on object while moving head
Both Dr. Jolley and Dr. Raczkowski have completed extensive training in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of vertigo. We discover the primary cause of vertigo before implementing non-invasive procedures to decrease and eliminate symptoms of vertigo. If you experience a sudden attack of dizziness, it is critically important to seek diagnosis and treatment from a team that is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of vertigo. Call us at (480) 633-8293 today to be seen in office for simple testing and treatment that can often relieve your symptoms of BPPV and cervicogenic vertigo quickly and effectively.