Causes and Solutions for Vertigo

Vertigo, often colloquially used interchangeably with dizziness, involves a disconcerting sensation of the world spinning, rocking, or whirling even when the body is motionless. This article explores the intricacies of vertigo, shedding light on its anatomy, signs, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and available treatments.

Understanding Vertigo

To comprehend vertigo, knowledge of ear anatomy is crucial. The inner ear, distinct from hearing-related functions, consists of semicircular canals acting like a gyroscope, contributing to the vestibular system. This system, combined with visual and proprioception cues, informs the brain about our spatial orientation.

Signs and Symptoms

Vertigo manifests as spinning sensations, loss of balance, and whirling, often accompanied by nausea or vomiting. Distinguishing between sensations of spinning (vertigo) and other forms of dizziness is vital for accurate diagnosis. Physical examinations may reveal abnormal eye movements (nystagmus), aiding in the assessment.

Causes of Vertigo

Vertigo can be peripheral or central, with peripheral causes involving inner ear issues. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuritis, Ménière’s disease, and acoustic neuromas are among the peripheral causes. Central causes encompass strokes, concussions, multiple sclerosis, and vestibular migraines.

Risk Factors

Head injuries, ear infections, certain medications, and alcohol consumption are identified risk factors. Poorly managed high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking elevate the risk of stroke-associated vertigo. Additionally, aging and gender may influence the likelihood of developing certain vertigo conditions.


Medical professionals diagnose vertigo through detailed patient history, physical examinations, and specific tests like the Dix-Hallpike or roll test. In cases of uncertainty, vestibular physical therapists and advanced imaging techniques, such as MRI or CT scans, may be employed for accurate diagnosis.

Vertigo Treatment Options

Peripheral vertigo can be effectively addressed with maneuvers like the Epley maneuver, Brandt-Daroff exercises, and medications like meclizine or benzodiazepines. Ménière’s disease management often involves a low-sodium diet and medications like betahistine. However, it’s crucial to recognize that medications alleviate symptoms without curing vertigo.

Home Remedies

While many suggest home remedies for vertigo, few are proven effective. Vestibular rehabilitation exercises, when performed regularly, may contribute to noticeable improvements in vertigo symptoms.


Preventing spontaneous vertigo episodes is challenging, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce risks. Controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol, and avoiding tobacco products decreases the chances of developing central vertigo. For Ménière’s disease, managing salt intake is beneficial, and routine vestibular rehabilitation exercises can help prevent recurrent episodes.


Most cases of vertigo resolve spontaneously within days, with peripheral vertigo often finding relief through treatment. The Epley maneuver boasts a 90% success rate for BPPV, although recurrence may occur. Persistent cases necessitate a thorough evaluation for potential structural issues in the brain, spinal canal, or inner ear.

In summary, understanding vertigo involves knowing its complexities, acknowledging its causes, and treatments for optimal outcomes.


  1. Bhattacharyya, N., et al. “Clinical practice guideline: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.” Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 139.5 Suppl 4 (2008): S47-S81.
  2. – Vertigo – symptoms, causes and treatments
  3. Bhattacharyya, N., S.P. Gubbels, S.R. Schwartz, et al. “Clinical Practice Guideline: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (Update).” Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 156 (3_suppl) Mar. 2017: S1-S47.
  4. Burmeister, D. B., et al. “Management of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo with the canalith repositioning maneuver in the emergency department setting.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 110.10 (2010): 602-604.
  5. von Brevern, M., et al. “Epidemiology of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: a population based study.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 78.7 (2007): 710-715.

Leave a Comment