What Is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a sensation of motion or spinning that is often described as dizziness. Vertigo causes dizziness and makes you feel like you’re spinning when you’re not. Peripheral vertigo is the result of a problem with your inner ear, which controls balance. Central vertigo refers to problems within your brain or brainstem. 

Vertigo is commonly caused by a problem with the way balance works in the inner ear, although it can also be caused by problems in certain parts of the brain. Causes of vertigo may include: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – were certain head movements trigger vertigo. migraines – severe headaches.

Vertigo is a symptom, rather than a condition itself. It’s the sensation that you, or the environment around you, is moving or spinning. This feeling may be barely noticeable, or it may be so severe that you find it difficult to keep your balance and do everyday tasks.

Symptoms Of Vertigo:

vertigo is a symptom of many different conditions. However, vertigo can also occur in combination with other symptoms, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  •  Balance problems.
  •  Tinnitus.
  •  Headaches.
  • Motion sickness.
  •  A feeling of fullness in the ear.
  • Nystagmus, in which the eyes move side to side uncontrollably.


There are other factors that can lead to vertigo attacks. Here are some common vertigo causes:

  •  Migraine headaches.
  • Certain medications.
  •  Stroke.
  • Arrhythmia.
  •  Diabetes.
  •  Head injuries.
  •  Prolonged bed rest.
  •  Shingles in or near the ear.
  •  Ear surgery.
  •  Perilymphatic fistula (when inner ear fluid leaks into the middle ear).
  •  Hyperventilation.
  •  Low blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension) – a condition in which your blood pressure decreases when you stand up.
  • Ataxia, or muscle weakness.
  •  Syphilis.
  •  Otosclerosis (a bone growth problem affecting the middle ear).
  •  Brain disease.
  •  Multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Acoustic neuroma.


Vertigo can be diagnosed with tests performed by your doctor. These may include:

  • Fukuda-Unterberger’s test: You’ll be asked to in place for 30 seconds with your eyes closed. If you rotate or lean to one side, it could mean that you have a problem with your inner ear labyrinth. This could result in vertigo.
  • Head impulse test: For this test, your doctor will gently move your head to each side while you focus on a stationary target. The clinician will be checking to see how the inner ear balance system is working to help control your eye movements while your head is in motion.
  • Romberg’s test: For this assessment, you’ll be asked to close your eyes while standing with your feet together and your arms to your side. If you feel unbalanced or unsteady, it could mean that you have an issue with your central nervous system.
  • Vestibular test battery: This includes several different tests to help identify an inner ear problem. Goggles are placed over the eyes to monitor eye movement responses while moving your eyes to follow a target, moving your head and body, and even after warm and cool water are put into the ear canal.
  • CT (computed tomography) scans.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


The vertigo treatment depends on several factors, including the root cause. Some of the most notable vertigo treatments include:

  • Medication: Treating the underlying cause of your vertigo can help ease symptoms. if vertigo is a byproduct of an infection, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics. Steroids can help reduce inflammation. There are also medications to relieve other vertigo symptoms, such as nausea or motion sickness.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation: If vertigo is the result of an inner ear problem, this type of physical therapy may help reduce your symptoms. Vestibular rehabilitation helps strengthen your other senses so they can compensate for vertigo episodes.
  • Canalith repositioning procedure (CRP): If you have BPPV, canalith repositioning maneuvers help move calcium deposits into an inner ear chamber where they will be absorbed by your body.
  • Surgery: When vertigo is due to a serious underlying issue, such as a brain tumor or neck injury, surgery may be necessary.


There are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk for vertigo. These include:

  • Taking extra time to stand up, turn your head or perform other triggering movements.
  • Sleeping with your head elevated on two pillows.
  • Sitting down as soon as you feel dizzy.
  • Squatting instead of bending over when picking something up.