Vertigo is a form of dizziness characterized by the feeling that you or your environment is moving or spinning, despite the lack of any actual movement. This sensation may be caused by disturbances in the inner ear or vestibular nerve.
What Are the Types of Vertigo?
Peripheral vertigo is associated with problems in the inner ear. The vestibular system is responsible for sending signals to the brain about our head and bodies position during movement. This enables us to keep our balance and maintain equilibrium. When these signals are disrupted, vertigo results.
There are many causes of vertigo. One cause is a viral infection. This is associated with two conditions: labyrinthitis (inflammation of the inner ear’s labyrinth and vestibular nerve) and vestibular neuronitis (inflammation of the vestibular nerve).
Other causes of peripheral vertigo include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), acoustic neuroma and Meniere’s disease. BPPV occurs when dislodged pieces of calcium move from the central part of the inner ear to the semicircular canals. Meniere’s disease involves excess pressure of the fluid in the inner ear.
Central vertigo occurs when there is a problem in the brain, usually affecting the brainstem or the cerebellum. These parts of the brain are responsible for interactions between the visual and balance systems; any disturbance can lead to vertigo. The most common cause of central vertigo is a migraine headache. Other less common conditions that can trigger central vertigo include stroke, tumors, multiple sclerosis, alcohol and certain drugs.
What Symptoms Are Associated with Vertigo?
Technically speaking, vertigo is a symptom itself, rather than a disease. It’s characterized by the sensation that you or the environment is moving or spinning. This may be accompanied by additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, tinnitus, difficulty focusing or moving the eyes, double vision and a feeling of fullness in the ear.
How Is Vertigo Treated?
Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of vertigo. Some forms disappear without treatment. The most common type, BPPV, responds well to head maneuvers, while other types are successfully treated with medication. When the condition persists, physical therapy can help.
Call St. Cloud Ear, Nose & Throat for more information or to schedule an appointment. (320) 252-0233