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What are the 10 signs of vertigo: What Is Vertigo? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention


What Is Vertigo? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

By Julie Lynn MarksMedically Reviewed by Jessica Baity, MD


Medically Reviewed

If you have vertigo, you may feel like you’re moving or spinning when you’re not. Or you may feel like your surroundings are in motion when they aren’t.

Many people describe vertigo as feeling dizzy, but it’s different from being light-headed.

Simple movements are unusually intense for people with vertigo, and the condition can impact your everyday life.

Your symptoms will probably depend on what’s causing your episodes and the type of vertigo you have.

Types of Vertigo

The two main types of vertigo are:

  • Peripheral Vertigo Peripheral vertigo is caused by a problem in areas of the inner ear or the vestibular nerve, which connects the inner ear and the brain. This is the most common type of vertigo.
  • Central Vertigo Central vertigo happens when there’s a glitch in the brain, particularly in an area of the brain called the cerebellum, or brainstem.

RSV-HSN: A New Type of Vertigo?

Researchers recently discovered a new kind of vertigo. In a 2018 study, scientists called it “recurrent spontaneous vertigo with headshaking nystagmus” (RSV-HSN).

Participants sat in a dark room while an examiner moved their heads forward and then side to side for about 15 seconds. Next, researchers made a video recording of the participants’ eye motions. Results showed those with RSV-HSN had eye movements, known as “nystagmus,” that lasted longer than in others with vertigo.

The scientists say that, compared with other types of vertigo, RSV-HSN involves more severe bouts of motion sickness. In the study, people with RSV-HSN had attacks that included nausea, vomiting, headaches, and intolerance of head motions. They experienced symptoms anywhere from a few times a week to once a year.

At this point, the cause of RSV-HSN isn’t known, but the condition does seem to respond well to medication.

Common Questions & Answers

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness or being off-balance, as if you’re moving when you aren’t, or the room is spinning. It comes from a problem in your inner ear or your brain.

How do you get vertigo?

One common cause is the natural breakdown of parts of your inner ear that help control balance. Tiny particles get loose and disrupt the signals that let your brain know the position of your body.

Is vertigo dangerous?

Vertigo itself doesn’t hurt you. But it can cause you to fall and make it hard to do things like drive or work. It’s sometimes also a sign of a serious health problem.

How do you permanently cure vertigo?

You can’t. If you have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), special head-positioning exercises and medication can end an episode, but they won’t prevent another one. Vertigo often goes away on its own. But for some people, it becomes a long-term problem.

Should I see a doctor about vertigo?

If you have vertigo often, or it interferes with your daily life, talk to your doctor. Get help right away if you also have a severe headache; hearing, vision or speech problems; or numbness or weakness in your arms and legs.

Signs and Symptoms of Vertigo

Symptoms of vertigo vary from person to person. Your symptoms might be mild or severe, depending on what’s causing the issue.

Some common signs and symptoms of peripheral vertigo include:

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling like you’re moving or spinning
  • Problems focusing the eyes
  • Hearing loss in one ear
  • Balance problems
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting

Central vertigo may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Double vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Facial paralysis
  • Eye movement difficulties
  • Slurred speech
  • Weak limbs

What Does It Feel Like to Have Vertigo?

Many people describe vertigo as feeling like the room is spinning. It might cause you to feel like you’re tilted, rocking, unbalanced, or unsteady.

Sometimes these unpleasant sensations are worse if you’re standing up, walking, or moving your head around. Many people describe these feelings as physically exhausting and taxing. Sometimes, the sensations are so severe that you feel nauseated or experience vomiting.

Usually symptoms of vertigo don’t include light-headedness, fainting, or motion sickness.

Causes and Risk Factors of Vertigo

Vertigo isn’t a disease itself. Instead, it’s a symptom of other conditions. Finding out what’s causing your symptoms is one of the first measures your doctor will take in assessing how to cure vertigo. You’ll need to know what’s triggering your dizziness before you can treat it. Identifying specific risk factors and medical conditions can be helpful.

An array of issues can cause vertigo. Some of the most common are BPPV, Ménière’s disease, and labyrinthitis. Less common causes include migraines, medication, head injuries, and stroke.

Being a woman and being older than 50 can up your risk of having a vertigo episode.

A family member with vertigo, or other factors, such as having a head injury, can also increase your chances of developing symptoms.

Vertigo: Problems With the Inner Ear

Symptoms of vertigo are often the result of an inner ear (vestibular system) problem. Your inner ear plays a big role in helping you feel balanced.

Inside your ear is a tiny organ called the vestibular labyrinth, which includes semicircular canals that contain fluid and hair-like sensors.

Other structures in the ear, called otolith organs, help monitor the movement and position of your head in relation to gravity. Otolith organs contain small crystals that make you responsive to gravity.

Sometimes, these crystals can break free and move into the semicircular canals. This can irritate the hair cells within the canals and make them more sensitive to head position changes. It can allow for false messages about your body’s position to be sent to your brain.

Basically, inner ear disorders cause your brain to obtain signals from the inner ear that don’t match up with what your eyes and sensory nerves (nerves that send messages to your brain) receive.

Learn More About Causes of Vertigo: Common Risk Factors, Genetics, and More

How Is Vertigo Diagnosed?

Diagnosing vertigo isn’t always simple. In fact, it can be a tricky and involved process, because people with dizziness often have trouble describing their specific symptoms.

First, your doctor will try to find out if you have “true vertigo” by asking about your specific complaints — be prepared to describe the sensation as precisely as you can to help differentiate vertigo from lightheadedness. Then the focus will be on diagnosing a cause. Your physician might inquire about your family and medical history, perform a physical exam, and conduct various tests. They may perform a maneuver with you, called the Dix Hallpike maneuver, to re-create vertigo symptoms. If positive, this is diagnostic of peripheral vertigo.

Other physical examinations measure your balance, analyze your eye movements, or assess what side of your body is affected by vertigo. Imaging tests, such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can be used to let doctors see what’s going on inside your body. In some cases, hearing tests, vision tests, blood work, and even allergy tests are also used.

Each person may require different testing, depending on the suspected cause of vertigo.

RELATED: Learn More About Tests for Vertigo

Your general practitioner may refer you to a specialist, such as an otolaryngologist or a neurologist — specialists who focus on inner ear or balance problems — to help diagnose or treat your condition.

When choosing a specialist, you should consider his or her education, training, and experience. You might also want to ask if the specialist’s facility has equipment for diagnosing and treating vertigo disorders.

While the diagnostic process may seem tedious at times, it’s important to stay the course so you can find out what’s causing your symptoms.

When Should You Call Your Doctor About Your Symptoms?

You should see a doctor if you have vertigo symptoms that come back periodically for more than one week.

It’s also a good idea to see your healthcare provider if you have any type of dizziness that interferes with your daily activities.

When Should You Seek Out Emergency Care?

Symptoms of vertigo are rarely caused by a serious, life-threatening condition. Still, if the vertigo is acute and this is the first time you’ve experienced something like this, head to the emergency room to rule out something more serious, such as a stroke. But you should visit your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical care if you experience dizziness along with the following:

  • A new, different, or severe headache
  • Hearing loss
  • Double vision or loss of vision
  • Fever
  • Slurred speech or trouble speaking
  • Limb weakness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Difficulty walking
  • Loss of coordination
  • Inability to keep food down, or continuous vomiting

Learn More About Diagnosing Vertigo: Tests and Screenings, Early Diagnosis, and Your Doctors 

Prognosis of Vertigo

In many cases, symptoms of vertigo will resolve on their own within a few days. But for other people, it’s chronic.

Living with vertigo can be frustrating. Your episodes may be unpredictable and sporadic. Some days, you may not experience any symptoms, while other days, you might have debilitating bouts of dizziness. The good news is there are effective treatment options and most of the time, these treatments can help you control or eliminate your symptoms, so you can enjoy everyday activities.

Duration of Vertigo

Symptoms can last a few minutes, or they can persist for hours. In some people the vertigo persists for weeks or months.

Treatment and Medication Options for Vertigo

Several treatment options are available to help symptoms of vertigo.

The Canalith Repositioning Procedure (also known as the Epley maneuver), a popular therapy that involves exercises to reposition canaliths (calcium crystals) in your inner ear, has a success rate of about 80 percent, in helping people with the most common cause of vertigo.

Other types of physical therapy are used to relieve vertigo caused by inner ear problems. Sometimes medicines, injections, psychotherapy, or surgery are needed. Your doctor can help you decide which options are best for you.

Medication Options

Some medications used to treat vertigo symptoms include:

  • dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
  • meclizine (Antivert)
  • diazepam (Valium)

Alternative and Complementary Therapies

What if you could cure your vertigo at home? Your doctor may be able to provide you with detailed instructions for doing modified repositioning exercises, like the Epley maneuver, at home.

Many people also report that changing their diet and eliminating foods that are salty, sugary, or high in caffeine can improve their symptoms, particularly when they have been diagnosed with Ménière’s disease. Good hydration is another way to help combat vertigo.

Dietary supplements, such as ginkgo biloba extract, have also been shown to improve symptoms.

Additionally, yoga, tai chi, relaxation techniques, and adequate sleep might help you improve balance and ward off a vertigo episode. Talk to your doctor before performing any at-home remedies.

Learn More About Treatment for Vertigo: Medication, Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Surgery Options, and More

Prevention of Vertigo

Most of the time, vertigo can’t be prevented. But knowing and avoiding certain risk factors may help prevent it. For instance, you can protect yourself from a head injury by wearing a helmet when bicycling or playing sports or taking measures to prevent a fall.

Complications of Vertigo

Vertigo can take a toll on your daily life. If your episodes are frequent or severe, you may not be able to work, drive, or perform other tasks.

Typically, people with persistent vertigo are advised not to drive or operate machinery because these activities can pose dangers to themselves and others.

Vertigo can also lead to falls, which may cause injuries. Falling is particularly a concern for older people, who are more prone to bone fractures and other complications. Falling is the primary cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older Americans.

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Research and Statistics: Who Has Vertigo?

Vertigo is considered a common symptom. It’s estimated that nearly 40 percent of all adults in the United States experience vertigo at least once during their lifetime.

Vertigo is typically more prevalent in older people, but it can affect anyone at any age. Women are slightly more likely to experience vertigo symptoms than men.

Other research has shown that about 12.5 million adults over age 65 in the United States have a dizziness or balance issue that significantly interferes with their lives.

There are between five million and eight million doctor’s visits for dizziness in the United States each year, and dizziness is a primary reason for an office visit in people over age 75.

Black and Asian Americans and Vertigo

Vertigo can affect people of all colors and ethnicities, but some research has shown minorities may have a higher risk for certain types of dizziness.

One study, published in 2016, found that Black Americans were more likely to have BPPV compared with white Americans. The authors of the study say this may be because diabetes rates are higher in Black Americans.

The data from this study also suggested that BPPV was more prevalent in Asian Americans.

Related Conditions and Causes of Vertigo

Some medical conditions that are closely related to vertigo include:

  • Ménière’s disease
  • BPPV
  • Labyrinthitis 
  • Stroke
  • Migraine
  • Cholesteatoma (a skin growth that occurs in the middle ear behind the eardrum)
  • Otosclerosis (abnormal bone tissue growth in the middle ear)
  • Perilymph fistula (an abnormal connection of membranes in the middle and inner ear)
  • Acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma (a noncancerous tumor on the balance and hearing nerves leading from the brain to the inner ear)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Brain tumors
  • Diabetes

Resources We Love

Managing vertigo can seem overwhelming and difficult at first. Fortunately, there are a variety of resources out there that can help you learn more about the problem and navigate getting treatment.

Favorite Organizations for Vertigo


VeDA — the vestibular Disorders Association — educates, supports, and empowers people who suffer from vestibular disorders, like vertigo. One unique feature is their patient registry — a database of health info that documents patient experiences.

The American Institute of Balance

This is one of the country’s largest multispecialty centers for the evaluation and treatment of dizziness and balance disorders. Check out their self-quiz for dizziness and balance problems.

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

The NIDCD provides a wealth of information about balance disorders, Ménière’s, and vestibular schwannoma.

Favorite Online Support Networks

Balance & Dizziness Canada

This organization aims to increase awareness of balance disorders and empower those affected by dizziness. Their Ask an Expert section lets you submit questions to top health professionals. You might also want to check out the legal services page, which offers advice on finding a lawyer if you need help navigating disability benefits.

VeDA Support Group Directory

Connecting with others might be just what you need to cope with your vertigo episodes. VeDA’s website helps you find support groups in your area. Or you can join an online group.

Favorite Apps, Products, and Gadgets


This free app demonstrates how vestibular disorders happen in the body. It was designed as a teaching tool for college-level students and medical professionals, but the information could help laypeople, too.


Need a personal trainer for your vertigo exercises? Try Vestibio. It’s an easy-to-use vestibular rehabilitation therapy app that keeps track of your recovery process. It helps you complete your prescribed exercises and automatically saves your results to share with your doctor later.

Favorite Patient Blogs

Vertigo Detective

Kimberley Bell, DPT, the “Vertigo Detective,” writes this informative blog. She offers tips on managing dizziness, recognizing symptoms, and more.

Mummy Seeing Double

Written by a mom of twins, this blog chronicles the writer’s experience with vestibular migraines and other chronic illnesses.

Favorite Annual Meetings

American Academy of Neurology

The American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting covers some of the latest breakthroughs for neurological disorders.

Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking

  • Vertigo-Associated Disorders. MedlinePlus. November 9, 2021.
  • Lee S-U, Choi J-Y, Kim H-J, et al. Recurrent Spontaneous Vertigo With Interictal Headshaking Nystagmus. Neurology. June 12, 2018.
  • Talmud JD, Coffey R, Edemekong PF. Dix Hallpike Maneuver. StatPearls. December 11, 2022.
  • Benign Positional Vertigo. MedlinePlus. July 26, 2021.
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): Symptoms and Causes. Mayo Clinic. August 5, 2022.
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): Diagnosis and Treatment. Mayo Clinic. August 5, 2022.
  • Vertigo. USCF Health.
  • Vertigo. Harvard Health Publishing. February 1, 2019.
  • Home Epley Maneuver. Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  • Canalith Repositioning Procedure (for BPPV). VeDA.
  • Dietary Considerations. VeDA.
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine. VeDA.
  • Get the Facts on Falls Prevention. National Council on Aging. March 13, 2023.
  • What Causes Acute and Chronic Dizziness? National Dizzy & Balance Center.
  • D’Silva LJ, Staecker H, Lin J, et al. Retrospective Data Suggests That the Higher Prevalence of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes Is Mediated by Hypertension. Journal of Vestibular Research. January 28, 2016.
  • Types of Vestibular Disorders. VeDA.

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Vertigo causes & treatment – Illnesses & conditions

Treatment for vertigo depends on the cause and severity of your symptoms.

During a vertigo attack, lying still in a quiet, darkened room may help to ease any symptoms of nausea and reduce the sensation of spinning. You may be advised to take medication.

You should also try to avoid stressful situations, as anxiety can make the symptoms of vertigo worse.

Read more about what to do if you’re struggling with stress


Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that causes the labyrinth (a delicate structure deep inside your ear) to become inflamed. It’s usually caused by a viral infection and clears up on its own without treatment. In rare cases, where labyrinthitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.

If you’ve experienced any hearing loss, your GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist or an audiovestibular physician. This is a doctor who specialises in hearing and balance disorders. You may need emergency treatment to restore your hearing.

Labyrinthitis may also be treated with vestibular rehabilitation – also called vestibular rehabilitation training or VRT (see below).

See treating labyrinthitis for more information

Vestibular neuronitis

Vestibular neuronitis, also known as vestibular neuritis, is inflammation of the vestibular nerve (one of the nerves in your ear that’s used for balance). It’s usually caused by a viral infection.

The symptoms of vestibular neuronitis often get better without treatment over several weeks. However, you may need to rest in bed if your symptoms are severe. See your GP if your symptoms get worse or don’t start to improve after a week.

You may find your balance is particularly affected if you:

  • drink alcohol
  • are tired
  • have another illness

Avoiding these can help to improve your condition.

Vestibular neuronitis can also be treated with vestibular rehabilitation and medication.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

Like vestibular neuronitis, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) often clears up without treatment after several weeks or months. It’s thought that the small fragments of debris in the ear canal that cause vertigo either dissolve or become lodged in a place where they no longer cause symptoms. BPPV can sometimes return.

Until the symptoms disappear or the condition is treated, you should:

  • get out of bed slowly
  • avoid activities that involve looking upwards, such as painting and decorating or looking for something on a high shelf

BPPV can be treated using a procedure called the Epley manoeuvre.

The Epley manoeuvre

The Epley manoeuvre involves performing four separate head movements to move the fragments that cause vertigo to a place where they no longer cause symptoms. Each head position is held for at least 30 seconds. You may experience some vertigo during the movements.

Your symptoms should improve shortly after the Epley manoeuvre is performed, although it may take up to two weeks for a complete recovery. Return to your GP if your symptoms haven’t improved after four weeks. The Epley manoeuvre isn’t usually a long-term cure and may need to be repeated.

Brandt-Daroff exercises

If the Epley manoeuvre doesn’t work, or if it’s not suitable – for example, because you have neck or back problems – you can also try Brandt-Daroff exercises. These are a series of movements you can do unsupervised at home.

Your GP will need to teach you how to do the exercises. You repeat them three or four times a day for two days in a row. Your symptoms may improve for up to two weeks.

Referral to a specialist

Your GP may refer you to a specialist, such as an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist if:

  • the Epley manoeuvre doesn’t work or can’t be performed
  • you still have symptoms after four weeks
  • you have unusual signs or symptoms

In rare cases, where the symptoms of vertigo last for months or years, surgery may be recommended. This may involve blocking one of the fluid-filled canals in your ear. Your ENT specialist can give more advice on this.

Ménière’s disease

If your vertigo is caused by Ménière’s disease, there are a number of treatment options for both the vertigo and other symptoms caused by the condition.

Possible treatments for Ménière’s disease include:

  • dietary advice – particularly a low-salt diet
  • medication to treat attacks of Ménière’s disease
  • medication to prevent attacks of Ménière’s disease
  • treatment for tinnitus (ringing in your ears) – such as sound therapy, which works by reducing the difference between tinnitus sounds and background sounds, to make the tinnitus sounds less intrusive
  • treatment for hearing loss – such as using hearing aids
  • physiotherapy to deal with balance problems
  • treatment for the secondary symptoms of Ménière’s disease – such as stress, anxiety and depression

See treating Ménière’s disease for more information

Central vertigo

Central vertigo is caused by problems in part of your brain, such as the cerebellum (which is located at the bottom of the brain) or the brainstem (the lower part of the brain that’s connected to the spinal cord).

Causes of central vertigo include migraines and, less commonly, brain tumours.

If your GP suspects you have central vertigo, they may organise a scan or refer you to a hospital specialist, such as a neurologist or an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) or audiovestibular physician.

Treating your migraine should relieve your vertigo if it’s caused by a migraine.

Vertigo with an unknown cause

If the cause of your vertigo is unknown, you may be admitted to hospital if:

  • you have severe nausea and vomiting, and can’t keep fluids down
  • your vertigo comes on suddenly and wasn’t caused by you changing position
  • you possibly have central vertigo
  • you have sudden hearing loss, but it’s not thought to be Ménière’s disease

Alternatively, you may be referred to a specialist, such as:

  • a neurologist – a specialist in treating conditions that affect the nervous system
  • an ENT specialist – a specialist in conditions that affect the ear, nose or throat
  • an audiovestibular physician – a specialist in hearing and balance disorders

While waiting to see a specialist, you may be treated with medication.  

Vestibular rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation, also called vestibular rehabilitation training or VRT, is a form of “brain retraining”. It involves carrying out a special programme of exercises that encourage your brain to adapt to the abnormal messages sent from your ears.

During VRT, you keep moving despite feelings of dizziness and vertigo. Your brain should eventually learn to rely on the signals coming from the rest of your body, such as your eyes and legs, rather than the confusing signals coming from your inner ear. By relying on other signals, your brain minimises any dizziness and helps you to maintain your balance.

An audiologist (hearing specialist) or a physiotherapist may provide VRT. Your GP may be able to refer you for VRT, although it depends on availability in your area.

In some cases, it may be possible to use VRT without specialist help. Research has shown that people with some types of vertigo can improve their symptoms using a self-help VRT booklet. However, you should discuss this with your doctor first.


Medication can be used to treat episodes of vertigo caused by vestibular neuronitis or Ménière’s disease. It may also be used for central vertigo or vertigo with an unknown cause.

The medicines are usually prescribed for 3 to 14 days, depending on which condition they’re for. The two medicines that are usually prescribed are:

  • prochlorperazine
  • antihistamines

If these medicines are successful in treating your symptoms, you may be given a supply to keep at home, so you can take them the next time you have an episode of vertigo.

In some cases you may be advised to take long-term medication, such as betahistine, for conditions like Ménière’s disease.


Prochlorperazine can help relieve severe nausea and vomiting associated with vertigo. It works by blocking the effect of a chemical in the brain called dopamine.

Prochlorperazine can cause side effects, including tremors (shaking) and abnormal or involuntary body and facial movements.

It can also make some people feel sleepy. For the full list of possible side effects, check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.


Antihistamines can be used to help relieve less severe nausea, vomiting and vertigo symptoms. They work by blocking the effects of a chemical called histamine.

Possible antihistamines that may be prescribed include:

  • cinnarizine
  • cyclizine
  • promethazine teoclate

Like prochlorperazine, antihistamines can also make you feel sleepy. Headaches and an upset stomach are also possible side effects. Check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine for the full list of possible side effects.

A medication called betahistine works in a similar way to antihistamines. It has been used to treat Ménière’s disease and may also be used for other balance problems. It may have to be taken for a long period of time. The beneficial effects vary from person to person.


If you have vertigo, there are some safety issues to consider. For example:

  • you should inform your employer if your job involves operating machinery or climbing ladders
  • you may be at increased risk of falls – see preventing falls for advice on making your home safer and reducing your risk

Vertigo could also affect your ability to drive. You should avoid driving if you’ve recently had episodes of vertigo and there’s a chance you may have another episode while you’re driving.

It’s your legal obligation to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about a medical condition that could affect your driving ability. Visit the GOV.UK website for more information on driving with a disability.

Dizziness: causes and treatment. Why I’m dizzy and how to get rid of it

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Table of contents

Dizziness: causes
Benefits of contacting MEDSI

Dizziness is not a disease, but a symptom that occurs in a number of very different diseases, causing the patient to disorientate in space, a false sensation of the mobility of objects and stationary objects relative to him or the person himself relative to the objects surrounding him. It is extremely common, especially among older patients and females: it is the second most common medical complaint after headache.

Diagnosis of dizziness is difficult, since the sensation of instability in space is extremely subjective and can vary significantly in different patients both in the degree of manifestation and in the resulting sensory phenomena.

The condition can occur suddenly, be episodic: the patient experiences something like a push, as if he is “led” in one direction.

Status description

The condition can occur suddenly, be episodic: the patient experiences something like a push, as if he is “led” in one direction. In other cases, there may be a feeling of movement of surrounding objects in a circle or a feeling of rotation of the person himself, as after a long circling on carousels. This state can persist for quite a long time, up to an hour. But more often, dizziness is expressed in a feeling of general instability of objects and the person himself, a violation of the sense of balance. The patient experiences uncertainty when walking, it seems to him that he is about to fall or stumble, the ground is slipping from under his feet. Sometimes the symptoms are so strong that the patient grasps objects and feels dizzy, as before losing consciousness.

When should you see a doctor immediately?

  • Dizziness onset for the first time, accompanied by nausea, vomiting or headache
  • Dizziness led to loss of consciousness
  • Weakness, tremor (trembling) of the limbs, tachycardia, sweating, feeling of lack of air, pain behind the sternum
  • Status lasts more than an hour
  • Along with dizziness, there was a sharp decrease in sensation or weakness in one half of the body, face or limb

These symptoms indicate a possible emergency and require urgent medical attention.

What diagnosis can be prescribed by a doctor?

Symptomatic treatment of dizziness is possible only after the doctor has established the cause that caused it.

To determine the type of dizziness and its possible causes, it is necessary to perform laboratory and instrumental diagnostics. These are:

  • cardiogram
  • blood tests (general, biochemical, clotting)
  • Ultrasound of vessels of the head and neck
  • MRI or CT of the brain

Drug therapy

  • For circulatory disorders, drug therapy will include taking vasodilators and antihistamines and agents that improve the rheological properties (fluidity) of the blood
  • Neurogenic dizziness requires the use of nootropics (Pikamilon, or gamma-aminobutyric acid), which improve blood circulation and nerve conduction
  • Vertigo caused by osteochondrosis requires muscle relaxants to relieve muscle spasm
  • In women, dizziness caused by climacteric changes or cycle disorders is treated with hormonal preparations that allow the body’s hormonal levels to return to normal

Mode. It comes down to following the daily routine, the correct alternation of mental and physical stress, sleep and wakefulness.

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Diet. Excludes the use of products that increase blood pressure and cause vasospasm, excitatory effect on the nervous system (coffee, strong tea, alcohol, nicotine, very salty or spicy dishes).

Gymnastics. To train the vestibular apparatus outside of an attack, it is recommended to perform some exercises:

  • Rotation of the head, torso from side to side with closed and open eyes
  • Swing on a swing with a gradual increase in amplitude
  • Balance exercises (stance on one leg with open and closed eyes)
  • Rotation of the eyes in different directions
  • Swimming

Home treatment for dizziness

If vertigo attacks occur intermittently and the cause is known, you can relieve the symptoms yourself.

If vertigo attacks occur intermittently and their cause is known, you can relieve the symptoms yourself using the following methods:

  • If you feel dizzy after standing up abruptly, tilt your head forward and exhale completely
  • In a sitting position, bend down to your knees, maintain the position until the symptoms stop
  • Take a stable position (sitting, rest your legs apart on the floor) and focus your gaze at one point on an immovable object
  • Splash cold water on the face
  • Inhale vapors of ammonia
  • Drink some hot sweet tea
  • In the future, care should be taken when changing body position: slowly lie down, bend over and get up

Benefits of treatment at MEDSI

  • Appointments are provided by qualified neurologists with extensive practical experience
  • The clinics are equipped with equipment that allows a complete diagnosis of vertigo
  • Emergency care for dizziness

To make an appointment, call the round-the-clock phone 8 (495) 023-60-84.

MEDSI clinics in Moscow treat dizziness in men and women. Our doctors competently identify the causes of the pathological condition and eliminate them. At the same time, specialists use both the international experience of colleagues and their own best practices. This allows you to quickly relieve patients of discomfort and return them to their usual life.

Dizziness: causes

A feeling of uncertainty in determining one’s position in space can arise due to a number of factors. At the same time, every person experienced a feeling of instability, an imaginary rotation of surrounding objects or one’s own body at least once in a lifetime.

It is currently customary to divide dizziness into 2 main groups:

  • Systemic (vertigo, vestibular, true). They arise due to damage to the vestibular analyzer. This organ is responsible for balance and sensitively reacts to changes in the position of the body and head in space. With such a pathology, it seems that both objects and the person himself are moving
  • Non-systemic (non-true, non-vestibular). These dizzinesses are not provoked by the pathology of the vestibular analyzer. There are several subtypes of the pathological condition. The main ones include: presyncope, balance disorders, PPPG (persistent postural-perceptual vertigo)

Each of the groups has specific causes.

Systemic violations

May occur due to damage to the peripheral part of the vestibular analyzer or central parts (due to ischemic strokes, circulatory disorders in the arteries, cerebellar hemorrhages, multiple sclerosis, etc.).

Non-systemic vertigo

Pre-syncope can be triggered by a drop in blood pressure, arrhythmia, heart failure, etc. Older people often experience imbalances. At the same time, several risk factors are distinguished at once, the main of which are arthritis, heart failure, diabetes, depression, alcohol consumption, etc. The cause of PPPV (persistent postural-perceptual vertigo) can be panic attacks, vestibular migraine, Meniere’s disease, etc.


Systemic vertigo

Their main features include:

  • false sensation of movement in the space of one’s own body
  • feeling of movement, unevenness of the support
  • sensation of falling into space
  • feeling of rocking on the waves
  • false sensation of movement of objects that are stationary

In some cases, the patient also experiences nausea. There may also be an attack of vomiting.

Dizziness is often accompanied by hearing loss, tinnitus, headache, double vision.

Non-system states

Their main features include:

  • instability in standing position
  • lack of confidence when moving
  • feeling of “fog” in the head

Quite often, discomfort is aggravated by additional factors or under conditions in which an attack of dizziness has already occurred (driving in a car, shopping, etc. ).


In addition to dividing violations into systemic and non-systemic, there are other classifications. Dizziness is divided into chronic (may occur continuously for a month) and temporary (occur less frequently).


Complications of vertigo in men and women usually occur due to late diagnosis and lack of treatment or incorrectly chosen tactics.

Persistent seizures may cause:

  • depressions
  • anxiety disorders
  • restrictions on daily activities
  • falls and serious injuries

Important! Frequent dizziness is especially dangerous for people of mature and old age. Discomfort can lead to complete disability of the patient.


Examination of the patient begins with the collection of anamnesis, examination of complaints and examination. The doctor finds out when the dizziness began, how long the seizures last, what character they have (permanent, with fainting spells, etc.). If possible, the specialist identifies factors that contribute to the occurrence of unpleasant sensations (staying in crowded places, stuffy rooms, sudden movements, etc.). It is also determined whether dizziness is accompanied by other symptoms (pain, nausea, etc.). During the examination, a number of different tests are carried out, assessment of reflexes, gait. The doctor measures blood pressure, determines the pulse, listens to the heart rhythm.

If necessary, an instrumental examination is performed, including:

  • CT and MRI (computed and magnetic resonance imaging). These techniques make it possible to detect cerebral hemorrhages, various neoplasms, developmental anomalies and other pathologies that may be accompanied by dizziness
  • Ultrasound of the arteries. Examination is carried out if arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis and other vascular pathologies are suspected
  • Tonal threshold audiometry. This diagnostic is aimed at determining auditory sensitivity
  • Stabilography. This diagnostic allows you to assess the balance. To perform the examination, a mobile platform
  • is used

We have VisualEyes 525 video nystagmography and video oculography system, Interacoustics (Denmark), Orion swivel chair, Interacoustics, as well as Eclipse platform with modules for recording auditory and vestibular evoked potentials, Alfa stabilometric platform. Physicians may perform the EyeSeeCam vHIT video pulse test.

Other diagnostic procedures are performed as needed. If cardiogenic causes of dizziness are suspected in a patient, ECG, Echo-KG and other examinations may be performed. The full range of manipulations is determined by the doctor.


Therapy of a pathological condition is often significantly difficult. This is due to the large number of reasons that can provoke dizziness.

Treatment of systemic disorders

First, relief of the attack is provided. Then the physical rehabilitation of the patient and the restoration of normal vestibular function are carried out.

Usually for treatment:

  • the patient is given complete rest
  • prescribe antiemetics and other drugs
  • conduct sessions of special vestibular gymnastics (including on a stabilometric platform)
  • prescribe means to restore vestibular function

Special exercises and special maneuvers can form the basis of therapy. In some cases, the need for drugs does not even arise.

If a patient is diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, treatment is aimed not only at reducing vertigo attacks, but also at preventing the risks of hearing loss. In some cases, surgical interventions are prescribed. If dizziness is provoked by a tumor, it is eliminated. For this, both conservative and surgical methods are selected.

Treatment of non-systemic vertigo

The basis of therapy in this case is:

  • antidepressants
  • vestibular gymnastics
  • cognitive behavioral therapy

All methods and preparations are selected exclusively individually. This takes into account the general condition of the patient, the presence of concomitant pathologies and other factors. Due to this, the treatment of dizziness in adults is not only the most effective, but also safe.

Important! It should always be understood that the problem is multifactorial. For this reason, doctors of various profiles can be involved in its elimination. Pathologies of the inner ear, for example, are eliminated with the obligatory participation of an otorhinolaryngologist. If a patient is diagnosed with non-systemic dizziness, pathologies of various organs are first excluded. An endocrinologist, a cardiologist and other narrow profile doctors are involved in the work. If tumor neoplasms are found, a decision is made on the need for surgical intervention. At the same time, it is performed by neurosurgeons.


Measures to prevent dizziness depend on the type of pathology.

For the prevention of central disorders it is necessary: ​​

  • eliminate risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, etc.
  • timely detect dangerous diseases (neoplasms, multiple sclerosis) and treat them
  • monitor blood sugar levels (if diabetic)

To prevent the risk of non-systemic dizziness, it is necessary to identify all comorbidities in a timely manner and treat them with the involvement of experienced cardiologists, endocrinologists and other narrow specialists.

To prevent PPPV, you need to reduce your anxiety level and take a number of other measures.

Important! The doctor will tell you about all the features of preventing seizures! He will give personal recommendations to each patient.

Benefits of contacting MEDSI

  • Experienced doctors. We employ otoneurologists – candidates of medical sciences, who have the necessary knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat dizziness of all types in adult patients
  • Interdisciplinary approach. If necessary, not only otoneurologists, but also doctors of related profiles are involved in working with the patient. This allows you to quickly make an accurate diagnosis and develop an optimal treatment program
  • All possibilities for complex diagnostics. We have the VisualEyes 525 video nystagmography and video oculography system, Interacoustics (Denmark), the Orion swivel chair, Interacoustics, as well as the Eclipse platform with modules for recording auditory and vestibular evoked potentials, and the Alfa stabilometric platform. Doctors can perform the EyeSeeCam vHIT video pulse test, MRI, MSCT, ultrasound of the main blood flow of the head and neck, EEG, tone threshold audiometry, impedancemetry, etc.
  • Treatment according to international standards. For therapy, modern methods, drugs and tactics are used. Thanks to this, patients quickly get rid of unpleasant symptoms and return to a full life

To make an appointment at the clinic, just call +7 (495) 7-800-500. Our specialist will answer all your questions. Recording is also possible through the SmartMed application.

Contact us

+7 (495) 7 800 500

You will receive a return automatic call, wait for the operator’s response.

Make an appointment

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  • Neurologist appointment
  • Study of evoked potentials of the brain

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In the application, you can sign up for a clinic, call a doctor at home, view your medical record, and buy the necessary medicines.

Top 12 Causes of Dizziness

The term dizziness is used to describe a range of sensations such as weakness, intoxication, or unsteadiness in the legs. This condition is one of the most common complaints with which people turn to neurologists. Sometimes patients come with another symptom – they complain of a feeling that the environment is moving or rotating. This condition is known as vertigo.

Indeed, feeling weak or unsteady creates discomfort. However, in most cases there is no cause for concern. But this does not mean that you can give up and not go to the doctor. In some cases, the problem may be hidden in serious violations.

There are many causes for this phenomenon, including inner ear problems, neurological problems, circulatory problems, trauma, or infections. Sometimes medications are to blame.

A clue about the possible causes of dizziness may be individual sensations that a person experiences. To find the culprit, you need to listen to your body. How long does this strange condition last, after what actions, does it go away on its own, and so on. In any case, it is almost impossible to figure it out without a neurologist.

The following are the main causes of dizziness:

Problems in the inner ear

Our balance depends on what signals from the external environment enter the sense system. This sensory system includes the following organs:

  • The eyes, which help determine the location of our body in space,
  • Sensory nerves, which send signals to the brain: how we move and what position our body is in,
  • The inner ear, which contains sensors that help determine the force of gravity. It is this that helps our body move forward or backward.

With vertigo, a person feels as if the whole world around him is moving and rotating. This indicates problems in the inner ear. The human brain receives signals from the inner ear that are inconsistent with what the eyes see and what signals the sensory nerves receive. Vertigo is the result of the brain trying to sort out all this confusion.

Problems in the inner ear due to the following causes:

1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

This state causes a strong but brief feeling that everything is spinning and spinning around. The trigger for this condition is a rapid change in head position. For example, this happens when a person quickly rolls over in bed or rises abruptly from a sitting position. BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo.

2. Infection

A viral infection that affects the vestibular nerve, called vestibular neuritis, causes severe and prolonged dizziness.

3. Meniere’s disease

This disease is associated with excess accumulation of fluid in the inner ear. It is characterized by sudden episodes of dizziness that can last for several hours. Sometimes patients notice fluctuations in hearing, and also feel ringing or blockage in the ear.

4. Migraine

Sometimes people who suffer from migraines get dizzy. This happens even when the head hurts not much, and lasts from several minutes to several hours.

Circulatory problems

You may feel weak or unbalanced when your heart is not pumping enough blood to your brain. This happens for the following reasons:

5. Drop in blood pressure

A severe drop in systolic blood pressure can lead to a short-term feeling of weakness or dizziness. This condition is called orthostatic hypotension. This happens after getting up abruptly from a sitting or lying position.

6. Poor circulation

Conditions such as cardiomyopathy, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and transient ischemic attack can cause dizziness. A decrease in blood volume leads to insufficient blood flow to the brain or inner ear.

Other causes

7. Neurological disorders

Some neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, gradually lead to imbalance.

8. Medications

Dizziness is one of the side effects of certain medications. These drugs include anticonvulsants, antidepressants, sedatives, and tranquilizers.

9. Anxiety disorders

People who suffer from anxiety disorders sometimes feel dizzy. The latter include panic attacks, fear of leaving the house or agoraphobia (fear of open spaces).

10. Iron deficiency in the body (anemia)

Other symptoms that may occur along with dizziness include fatigue, weakness, and pale skin.

11. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

This condition usually occurs in diabetics who use insulin. At the same time, along with dizziness, the patient develops increased sweating and anxiety.

12. Overheating and dehydration

If you are active in hot weather or do not drink enough liquid, you may feel dizzy from hypothermia (overheating) or dehydration (dehydration). Well, if a person takes certain “heart” medications, the risk of developing dizziness increases even more.

When should you seek medical help?

If you feel dizzy and also have symptoms from the list below, call an ambulance:

  • Severe or severe headache,
  • Sudden change in speech, vision, or hearing,
  • Difficulty walking or frequent stumbling,
  • Loss of consciousness,
  • Chest pain or irregular pulse, 900 42
  • Weakness or numbness,
  • Persistent vomiting,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • High fever,
  • Feeling as if the neck were very hard,
  • Convulsions or seizures.

Call an ambulance immediately if you experience the above symptoms. If you want to figure out why your head is spinning, as well as get rid of this phenomenon, make an appointment with a neurologist. The doctor will conduct a series of simple tests and, if necessary, refer you for diagnostic procedures.

Very often this problem goes away on its own. If some disorder or disease is to blame, the doctor prescribes a treatment that will be directed to the root cause. Sometimes it is not possible to establish the exact cause. In this case, the task of the doctor is to teach the patient to control his condition.

What drugs do neurologists prescribe?

Doctors may prescribe:

  • Diuretics. If the patient has Meniere’s disease, he is prescribed diuretics. Also, the doctor will recommend severely limiting the amount of salt consumed.
  • Anti-nausea drugs. You need to be careful with these drugs, because some of them cause drowsiness.
  • Sedatives. These remedies help reduce anxiety and anxiety. These include the benzodiazepines diazepam and alprazolam.
  • Antihistamines and anticholinergics. These drugs reduce the number of episodes of dizziness or provide short-term relief.
  • Medicines that help prevent migraines.

What can we do without the help of a doctor?

Mayo Medical Center recommends:

  • Avoid sudden movements, and if you are older, walk down the street with a cane. The stick will add stability and reduce the risk of falls.
  • Remove small, slippery mats and hide wires that can get caught and fall. Use non-slip mats in the bath or shower.
  • If you feel dizzy, immediately sit or lie down. If you feel like walls are moving around you, lie down on a bed in a darkened room and close your eyes. When it becomes easier, rise very slowly.
  • If you feel unwell, do not drive a car or heavy machinery.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, salt and tobacco.