Vertigo is nothing but a feeling or sense of rotation, rocking or the things around you seems to be spinning which is experienced when you are perfectly still. You might have experienced it in your childhood when you spin around for some time and then after stopping you feel a sense of rotation while you are standing still. This kind of vertigo lasts for a few moments and then disappears after few moments. But it is not the same case always. If vertigo is experienced due to some injury or an accident then it may last for hours and even for days before resolving. Sound waves passes through our outer ear canal and reaches the ear drum from where the sound is turned into vibration and carries the signal to our brain. But this arrangement also includes small bones and other elements and is responsible for providing our position in space. Hence any problem within this system causes unbalance and thus we experience a thing called vertigo.
As explained earlier any disturbance in the system from receiving the sound to transmitting it into vibration and getting a particular feedback can cause vertigo. There are numerous elements involved in the process hence there are various causes for vertigo. Overall it can be defined based upon whether the cause is peripheral or central. If there is an issue with brain or spinal cord then it will reflect central cause and if there problem is within the inner ear then it is peripheral vertigo. Inner ear can become inflamed because of illness or presence of some foreign particles in the ear and may cause irritation to the small hair cells within the semicircular canals, leading to vertigo. This is called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). There are other causes too like meniere’s disease, vertigo associated with hearing loss and tinnitus caused due to fluid accumulation in the ear. Head injuries due to some accident may also lead to damage to inner ear and cause vertigo. Apart from these infrequently strokes affecting certain areas of brain my also lead to an onset of vertigo.
Anything that may increase your risk for heart attack will also increase your risk for vertigo. Drinking alcohol can also be dangerous and can cause vertigo. Older women have higher risk of developing vertigo. However studies have also shown that 2% to 3% of the population is at the risk of developing BPPV. Its symptoms are simple and include sense of spinning or moving. These symptoms can be felt when one is perfectly still. These symptoms are very much different from sense of fainting and lightheadedness but the symptoms can be escalated or worsened by the movement of head or body like rolling over in bed. If vertigo lasts for more than a few days then it is accompanied by weakness, suspicion of stroke or other kind of problems associated with brain of much higher risk. Prompt evaluation is recommended in such cases.
Health care professional may obtain full history of events or symptoms. This includes your past routines like medications taken, any kind of recent illness or prior medical issues. After obtaining history complete physical examination is performed which includes neurologic exam to evaluate brain function and determining the cause whether central or peripheral? The primary job will be to rule out stroke if the symptoms are new. Main aim will be to rule out any kind of life threatening issues. Lots of tests and examination are carried out to ensure the condition of the patient. Some of the cases may even require an MRI or CT scan of brain or inner ears to exclude any structural problem like stroke. Audiometry may also be ordered if hearing loss or disorder is observed. However hearing loss or any other such disorder is not observed with common causes of vertigo.
There are no such medicines that can cure vertigo but there are some that can give you some relief for some time. However there are some kind of treatments, physical exercise and massages that are to be performed under experienced health care professional or physical therapist. Since these therapies can heal you but if not performed with experienced health care professionals they may lead your recovery to hell, thus worsening your case. There are some more suggestions you may find on internet or books but most of them are ineffective. Many cases of vertigo resolve spontaneously within few days but if they lasts longer than few days then there is a lot to worry about. There are rehabilitation exercises that are to be done regularly which will definitely provide you some good results but demerit in it is that they are pretty slow. You will have to take care of other factors also like controlling risk of stroke which further includes maintaining your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and blood glucose as well. In short you will have to be aware at all the times.