Vertigo is a sense of spinning or rocking that occurs even when the individual is completely still. Vertigo can occur following an injury or in a spontaneous manner. The spinning sensation is a problem as it has the potential to last several hours or even multiple days. Such a sensation occurs as sound waves move through the outer ear canal all the way to the eardrum.
This sound becomes a vibration that travels through the inner ear by way of three diminutive bones. The vibrations move to the cochlea and vestibular nerve that sends a signal to the brain. Below, we examine the causes, symptoms and treatment options for vertigo.
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There are two types of vertigo, peripheral and central. Peripheral vertigo typically results from issues occurring within the inner ear. Central vertigo is commonly due to problems with the spinal cord or brain following peripheral vertigo’s onset within the interior of the ear. It is possible for the inner portion of the ear to endure inflammation following the illness.
Even diminutive stones or crystals within the inner ear have the potential to displace and irritate the tiny hair cells in the ear’s canals. The unfortunate result of this phenomenon is vertigo. This particular type of these is commonly known as the acronym of BPPV. BPPV stands for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. If fluid accumulates in the inner portion of the ear, a type of vertigo tied to tinnitus and hearing loss can occur.
This type of vertigo is known as Meniere’s disease. It is also possible for head injuries to damage the inner ear and lead to vertigo. In some cases, strokes affect certain portions of the brain. Even a tumor or multiple sclerosis can cause vertigo. In rare cases, people who suffer from migraine headaches, known as the basilar artery migraine, can also suffer from vertigo.
Vertigo symptoms include a sensation of moving or spinning even though the patient might be sitting or standing in place. A good number of vertigo patients experience imbalance. These symptoms tend to worsen when the individual moves his or her head/body.
Even subtle and slow movements in bed can worsen vertigo symptoms. It is important to note these symptoms are not the same as lightheadedness or the sensation of fainting. Some people who suffer from vertigo also experience vomiting or nausea.
When we examine patients with vertigo, they commonly display signs of abnormal eye movement known as nystagmus. If poor coordination or weakness accompanies vertigo on one side of the body, the odds of a brain issue or a stroke are that much higher. Such cases require immediate evaluation by a medical professional.
Some of the more effective treatments for vertigo are particle re-positioning movements like the canalith re-positioning procedure and the Epley maneuver. These exercises are a combination of head and eye movements that lead to reduced sensitivity within the inner ear’s nerves. This weaker sensitivity is quite effective at improving vertigo.
However, such treatment requires movement of the head to loosen up crystals within the inner portion of the ear. Such re-positioning of crystals reduces irritation within the inner ear. These issues can cause a worsening of vertigo, so do not attempt them on your own. Only a medical professional or possibly a physical therapist is qualified to perform such movements.
Various medication options
Some medications prove helpful for vertigo relief. However, we do not recommend these medications for extended use. In particular, we may prescribe meclizine for persistent vertigo. Diazepam, also known as Valium, and other benzodiazepine medications can prove helpful as well. We must note that Valium has the potential to lead to sleepiness.
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Some patients experience relief with additional medications to reduce vomiting and nausea. However, patients must understand the medications we describe above offer symptomatic relief, not cures. In some cases, vertigo resolves on its own in a couple days. However, these patients are the exception to the rule. When in doubt, do not attempt any sort of DIY treatment for your vertigo or other health maladies.
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It is prudent to have a medical professional address your vertigo. This is especially true for those who have a personal injury case. Your vertigo should be formally diagnosed and documented every step of the way to ensure you have proof of this medical condition following the auto accident or other personal injury matter.
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