Vertigo is a sub-type of dizziness in which a person inaptly experiences the perception of motion because of a dysfunction of the vestibular system. It is frequently accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and a balance disorder, causing problems with standing or walking.
There are three kinds of vertigo.
1.) Objective – the individual has the sensation that everything in the surroundings is moving.
2.) Subjective – the patient feels as if he or she is stirring.
3.) Pseudo-vertigo – an intensive sensation of spinning inside the person’s head.
Vertigo arises when there is conflict between the signals directed to the brain by several balance- and position-sensing systems of the body. The brain utilises input from four sensory systems to keep your sense of balance and coordination to your surroundings. Vision provides you info regarding your position and motion in association to the rest of the world. This is a vital portion of the balance mechanism and every so often overrides information from other balance-sensing systems. Sensory nerves in your joints let your brain keep track of the position of your arms, legs, and torso. Then, your body spontaneously makes tiny changes in bearing that aid in maintaining your balance. Skin pressure gives you information with regard to your body’s position and motion in connection to gravity. A portion of the inner ear (labyrinth) that includes the semi-circular canals contains specific cells that sense motion and changes in position. Damage to or infections of the inner ear can send incorrect signals to the brain, making it think that the labyrinth detects motion. If these wrong signals conflict with signals from other balance and positioning centres of the body, vertigo may ensue.
Vertigo must not be confused with fainting or light-headedness. Vertigo differs from motion sickness given that the latter is a feeling of being off-balance, caused by recurrent motions, like riding a boat or car.
Vertigo is identified through history and physical exam. It is imperative to confirm the symptom before determining the reason behind it. It is important for the doctor to understand the patient’s complaint and proceed from there. Questions might be asked in regard to what makes the vertigo worse, what makes the spinning go on, and whether there are other concomitant signs including loss of hearing, nausea, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and vomiting. Past medical history and any medicines taken may offer clues as to the source of vertigo.
Physical exam is helpful in checking for the presence of nystagmus, an irregular eye motion that the body uses in an attempt to compensate for the non-standard balance signals going to the brain. A full neurologic exam may be performed to ensure that the cause of vertigo is peripheral and owing to inner ear concerns rather than central glitches with the brain. Testing for balance and coordination can help decide whether the cerebellum is functioning right.
Hearing assessments may be appropriate to check if the auditory nerve, cochlea, and middle ear are functioning well, and it is just the labyrinth that is the root of vertigo.
The Dix-Hallpike Test may be performed by the doctor to support the diagnosis. By moving the head in various ways, eye movements could be assessed and checked if they relate with the vertigo symptoms.
When there is concern that there is a central brain issue causing vertigo, a CT or MRI scan of the brain might be requested.
Professional consultation with a neurologist or otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) can be considered to assist with the diagnosis and management. Physical therapists, who are specifically skilled in vestibular rehabilitation, can be helpful in treating peripheral causes such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or labyrinthitis.
The two medicines that are usually prescribed for vertigo are antihistamines and prochlorperazine. If these medications are effective in treating your symptoms, you may be provided with a supply to keep at home so that you can use them whenever you have a vertigo attack.
Prochlorperazine can help relieve severe nausea and vomiting associated with vertigo. It works by stalling the effect of a chemical in the brain called dopamine. Prochlorperazine may have side effects, including abnormal or involuntary body and facial movements, as well as tremors. Some people also feel sleepy with prochlorperazine.
Antihistamines, in turn, can be used to help get rid of less severe nausea, vomiting, and other vertigo symptoms. They block the effects of a protein called histamine. Probable antihistamines that may be prescribed are cinnarizine, cyclizine, or promethazine teoclate. Like prochlorperazine, antihistamines could also make you feel drowsy. Headaches and indigestion are also possible side effects.
If you frequently suffer from vertigo attacks, it would also be best to always carry a cane or walking stick with you. This would prevent you from falling in the event that you lose your balance due to vertigo. To buy assistive aids for vertigo, check out our Products Page by clicking on the link below: