Unbolt the mysteries of Vertigo: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Effective Treatments for a Balanced Life

Vertigo is a terrifying illness, which can make disable temporarily and also increase the risk of falls and injuries. During an attack, people experience a sensation as a world spinning or whirling around them. According to Dr. Steven Rauch, the medical director of the Balance and Vestibular Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, affiliated with Harvard, “It might feel you are rocking on the deck of a ship, bouncing on a pogo stick, or standing in an elevator that drops a few inches.”
The time period of vertigo flare-ups can last anywhere from minutes to months, depending on the underlying reason.  In many cases, vertigo attacks recur periodically. Fortunately, there are ways to terminate an episode, reduce suffering, and potentially help to prevent the return of vertigo.

Reason of Vertigo:

Reoccur vertigo is often caused by disorders affecting the vestibular (balance) system, which comprehends tiny fluid-filled canals within ears, more familiar with the name of semicircular canals. Various vestibular disorders are responsible for these episodes:

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is an illness where small crystals in the inner ear can knock out of place with specific head movements, resulting in dizziness. This can lead to a sensation of spinning or imbalance. Initially, BPPV episodes lead to constant dizziness but it usually stops occurring while changing position within 48 hours. Adjusting maneuvers like the Epley maneuver can help to reduce BPPV symptoms by realigning the loose ear crystals, but it is necessary to perform them correctly or get professional assistance.

Cervical Vertigo:  This is a condition where a problem arises from the neck, specifically the cervical spine. According to Dr. Rauch, the neck muscles play an important role in maintaining balance by communicating with the brain on alignment and movement. Illnesses like neck arthritis or whiplash injuries can disconnect this communication, generating abnormal signals that produce a perception of motion.  Cervical Vertigo, unpredictable triggers, often occurring when turning the head in various directions.

Meniere’s Disease: This is a condition where a small canal within the ear gets swallowed without any understandable reason. This not only leads to vertigo attacks but also symptoms of nausea, a feeling of ear fullness or ringing, and hearing loss. Dr Rauch pointed out that these attacks generally last longer than BPPV-induced vertigo, ranging from 20 minutes to 12 hours.

Vestibular Migraine: This is a myth that migraines solely involve headaches. Migraine leaves an impact on sensory processing in the brain and leads to heightened sensitivity to light, touch, sound, or smells. According to one research, 30% of people experiencing migraines also deal with dizziness, termed vestibular migraine. Also, need to highlight that one type of migraine occurs without a typical headache, particularly in menopausal women. Dr. Rauch advised that dizziness occurs due to an intolerance to bright light or an aversion to sounds, it is likely a vestibular migraine.



Momentary dizziness or imbalance is rather common but sudden episodes of vertigo attacks, in which one perceives the world as moving or spinning, are less frequent. If this is the first time, you’ve ever experienced genuine vertigo, consider it a serious warning sign. If you feel speech difficulty, weakness on one side of the body, or confusion, seek immediate medical assistance to rule out a stroke.

Also, speak with your physician to exclude temporary causes of vertigo, such as drug side effects.  If vertigo is continuous, an ear, nose, and throat specialist diagnoses imbalance disorders and starts treatment. Which may involve medication.

Physical Therapy:

Physical Therapy is one important component of treatment for balance issues. Kathy Joy a physical therapist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, emphasizes helping patients to feel comfortable with movement.

This treatment may involve breathing techniques and relaxation to minimize panic during vertigo episodes, performing different exercises to increase stability during movement (e.g. tai chi), and soft tissue release to address neck tension.

Moreover, patients can receive guidance on different exercises to retrain the ear’s tolerance for head movements. As an illustration, they might guide you to “straight upright, feel the ground beneath your feet, and slowly turn your head to each side for a few seconds”. Repeat these exercises five to ten times a day.


Maneuvers for BPPV:

In the case of BPPV, a simple maneuver may reposition loose ear crystals, minimizing or eliminating symptoms. Kathy Joy says, “Various maneuvers involve a series of positions while sitting or lying down. The Eley maneuver is the most widely recognized. Your doctor may provide a diagram for you to attempt it at home. However, it’s essential to exercise caution. Incorrect execution can worsen vertigo by misplacing the crystals. It’s advisable to have a clinician therapist guide you through it initially.”

Once you are proficient with the maneuver, you may attempt it at home under your physician’s supervision. Online tutorial videos can be beneficial, but be sure that the video features a certified physical therapist.
Avoiding positions that make BPPV flare-ups worse, such as yoga poses upside down body movements or require lying flat on the back is also very beneficial. While these approaches do not ensure the complete absence of vertigo episodes, they can prevent them from happening and restore equilibrium, allowing individuals to resume their favourite activities.