Vertigo is a common phenomenon that affects approximately 1 in 7 people. It corresponds to a feeling of rotation in our environment, so we often use the expression “having the head-spinning” to describe it.
Some dizziness may be accompanied by other signs such as nausea or gait disturbances. The treatment to follow depends on the cause of vertigo.
Doctors make the difference between true dizziness and discomfort sometimes referred to as vertigo when it comes to something else. The feeling of a head-spinning when you get up after crouching is orthostatic hypotension and not dizziness.
Some discomforts giving a feeling of instability or seeming to announce a loss of consciousness, are not part of vertigo treated in this file. It’s the same for migraines, anxious people with an empty headache, a veil in front of the eyes, for fear of falling, or dizzy heights that are not real vertigo in the medical sense of the term.
True vertigo causes a sensation of movement of the body in space.
Vertigo: understand everything in 2 min
Description of vertigo
- a malfunction of the vestibular system, located in the inner ear,
- Either neurological or cerebral involvement.
Normally the vestibular system allows us, in combination with the view and proprioceptive sensitivity (sensation of the position of our body in space), to keep us in balance.
As a result, an abnormality of the vestibular system, nerves or brain that is connected to it causes a conflict between the different information received by our brain and it results in equilibrium disorders or sensations such as loss of balance or the impression that the environment around us (walls, ceiling, objects) is spinning.
Types of vertigo
There are four types of vertigo:
- Positional vertigo for a few seconds, which may occur during or at the end of the movement. For example, it may be benign paroxysmal vertigo among the most common.
- Violent vertigo, lasting more than 12 hours. In particular, they may be related to vestibular neuritis, stroke, and consequences of head trauma or chronic ear infection which is damaging the centers of balance. Are for some emergencies and it is necessary to quickly contact a doctor.
- Recurrent vertigo that lasts a few hours. They may be due to Meniere ‘s disease, a disease or a tumor of the ear.
- Instability or ataxia, unbalanced feeling when standing or walking that may be related to neurological problems or the vestibule of the ear.
Causes of vertigo
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, with cupulolithiasis or canalolithiasis (it accounts for 30% of vertigo)
- Chronic otitis or ear diseases: perilymphatic fistula, middle ear cholesteatoma, infectious labyrinthitis, tumor, otosclerosis …
- Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis (inflammation of the nerves of the inner ear)
- Trauma to the inner ear with a fracture of the rock or labyrinthine concussion.
- Poisoning (alcohol, drugs, coffee, medicine)
- Tumor (neuroma of VIII)
- Meniere’s disease (inner ear disease of unknown origin)
- Disorders that impair the blood supply to the ear
- Alteration of the blood circulation in the structures of the brain responsible for posture
- Neurological disorders (stroke, intracranial hypertension, head trauma)
Diagnosis of vertigo
In case of dizziness or feeling dizzy, a doctor should be consulted, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, disturbances of balance or walking, a loss of hearing, tinnitus (whistling and buzzing perceived by the subject).
The doctor will ask the person who is experiencing dizziness about their appearance, frequency, duration, triggers, possible falls, impressions, and history to find the cause.
The clinical examination concerns the auditory ducts and the tympanum, the balance capacities explored thanks to a few maneuvers, on the movement of the eyes.
Additional tests will in certain cases identify what triggers vertigo: blood tests, auditory tests such as an audiogram, a cardiac assessment, medical imaging (CT scan, MRI of the inner ear).
The doctor must be consulted urgently in case someone reports or notices:
- a loss of partial vision (blurred vision, double vision) or total vision,
- difficulty standing
- difficulties in communicating
- A strange behavior or if he performs abnormal movements.
The treatment of vertigo depends on their origin. They will be better treated if we identify the cause.
In some cases, the diagnosis will lead to emergency hospitalization to treat a stroke.
To eliminate a benign positional paroxysmal vertigo, the ENT doctor (otorhinolaryngology) or a physiotherapist can perform specific rocking maneuvers to mobilize and disperse the tiny stones that cause vertigo.
In case of vestibular neuritis, the specialist will prescribe, in the first two days, drugs acting on the vestibular structures of the ear:
- calming antihistamines,
- antiemetics against nausea and vomiting,
- Tranquilizing medications to fight anxiety.
Subsequently, vestibular neuritis evolves most often favorably and is then treated quickly (by physiotherapy).
If the vertigo is related to the undesirable effect of a drug, this treatment is interrupted.
In some cases and always depending on the origin of vertigo, surgery is sometimes necessary.
Complementary approaches to treat vertigo
Once the causes of serious vertigo eliminated, several natural methods can be useful to limit or even permanently cure vertigo.
Since vertigo is linked to a neck problem, one or two osteopathic sessions will be enough to correct the problem. In a craniosacral approach, the osteopath will work smoothly especially at the neck, skull, and pelvis (craniosacral approach).
Phosphorus and Bryonia Alba granules in 9 CH are useful for controlling all forms of vertigo. Ideally, take 5 granules every hour, as soon as the first symptoms appear. The same remedy is used as a background treatment with 3 granules twice a day.
If nausea and vomiting are associated, Cocculus indicus is recommended.
If dizziness is increased in the morning when you wake up, it is advisable to turn to Cocculus alumina.
If there is an intolerance to noise, it is better to prefer Theridion curassavicum.