Vertigo is a sensation of feeling that you are spinning or that the world around you is spinning. Vertigo is a sensation of feeling that you are spinning/moving or that the world around you is spinning/moving There are two types of vertigo, peripheral and central vertigo. Peripheral vertigo is caused by conditions in the inner ear while central vertigo is caused by conditions in the brain or connections between the brain and the inner ear. They are each caused by different things and are also diagnosed differently. Here is what you need to know about vertigo treatment.

What triggers vertigo attacks?

The trigger for a vertigo attack depends on what has caused the vertigo attack in the first place. The most common causes of vertigo are inner ear problems affecting balance. They include conditions such as:

Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that inflames the labyrinth. The labyrinth is the coiled part of the inner that looks like a snail. In most cases, the condition is caused by a viral infection that clears up on its own.

Vestibular neuronitis

Vestibular neuronitis, also known as vestibular neuritis, is the inflammation of the vestibular nerve. This nerve is located in the ear, and it is responsible (along with connections to the brain, eyes and joints) for maintaining your balance. The inflammation is caused by a viral infection, which often gets better without any medication.

Meniere’s disease

Meniere’s disease is considered a chronic disease. It is an inner ear condition that involves ringing in one ear, dizzy spells, and even loss of hearing. It can occur at any age, but it is most common in middle-aged adults. Avoiding stress, salt and caffeine helps to reduce the frequency of vertigo attacks caused by Meniere’s disease.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Abbreviated BPPV, it is caused by tiny particles moving around in the inner ear usually triggered (as the name suggests) by changing your head position. Treatment is the Epley’s manoevre usually carried out by health care professionals who specialise in treating vertigo.

Vestibular Migraine

Vestibular migraine vertigo precipitated by migrainous attacks in people known to have migraines in the past or developing it for the first time.

How can I manage the symptoms of Vertigo at home?

Here are a few things you can do to ease vertigo symptoms before seeing a specialist.

• Lying still in a dark and quiet room to reduce the feeling of spinning
• Sit down immediately you feel dizzy
• When getting out of bed, sit on the edge for a few minutes before standing up
• Sleep with your head slightly raised using pillows
• Avoid vigorous activities
• Move your head slowly and carefully during daily activities
• When you can an attack, try and relax, anxiety makes the symptoms more intense

You should try to see a health care professional as soon as you can as some of the above may be counterproductive.

How is vertigo treated?

There are a number of available treatments for vertigo, the correct one for you will depend on your diagnosis, speak to an expert ent surgeon for more information and advice.

Vestibular rehabilitation exercises (VRT)

Vestibular rehabilitation is a specially designed exercise-based program used to improve balance and reduce dizziness after a proper diagnosis has been made. It aims to retrain your nervous system and brain by stimulating sensations of dizziness to help your brain adapt and ignore the disruptive signals sent by your vestibular system. VRT must be carried out under the supervision of a trained health care professional that sees vertigo patients.

Medication

Medication is sometimes required either temporarily or on a long term basis to control vertigo depending on the cause. It is of course important that the right medication is prescribed rather than empirical prescriptions

Endolymphatic sac procedure

This procedure involves decompressing the endolymphatic sac to alleviate excess fluid levels. A shunt may also placed to aid in draining excess fluid from your inner ear.

Vestibular nerve section

During this procedure, the vestibular nerve, the nerve that connects movement and balance sensors from your inner ear to the brain, is cut. This procedure gives you a fair chance of preserving your hearing.

Labyrinthectomy

This procedure should be the last resort for vertigo treatment. The surgeon cuts out the balance portion of your inner ear, removing hearing and balance functions. A chemical labyrinthectomy with medication to deaden the inner ear is a more commonly used procedure in the few situations when surgery is required to treat vertigo. A chemical labyrinthectomy is carried out by injecting medication (ototoxic drugs) into the inner ear through the eardrum.

For more information on vertigo treatment options, contact us to book a consultation today.

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