Dizziness and vertigo
Also known as: benign positional vertigo (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)
At The London Clinic we can diagnose and treat the key causes of vertigo and dizziness. One of our leading specialists will see you at our private state-of-the-art clinic near Harley Street. Why wait? Start your treatment journey today.
What is dizziness and vertigo?
Dizziness describes the sensation of being off-balance, unsteady or lightheaded.
Vertigo is a slightly more debilitating symptom that makes you feel as though your surroundings are spinning or you are swaying, which can cause severe nausea and vomiting.
There are different underlying causes for dizziness and vertigo which our specialists can treat.
What causes dizziness and vertigo?
Dizziness is a common symptom that almost everyone will experience at some point in their lifetime.
Dizziness isn’t normally a sign of anything serious but there can be underlying causes of dizziness that you need to check out.
Causes of dizziness include:
- Common cold
- Motion (travelling in a car or on a boat)
- Shock, panic, severe emotion
More serious causes of dizziness include:
- Head injury
- Heart problems
- Eye problems
- Ear problems
- Low blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Hyperventilation (rapid deep breathing)
Occasional dizziness is usually nothing to worry about but if you find that you are dizzy most of the time, or have regular attacks of dizziness for no apparent reason, it’s a good idea to see a doctor or specialist.
Vertigo is a more severe form of dizziness that describes a spinning or swaying sensation when you are standing still.
Vertigo may be because of inflammation, pressure or infection in the inner ear which may be due to several related conditions:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) from calcium crystals (canalith) lodging inside the semicircular canal of your ear
- Inner ear inflammation linked to hearing loss
- Labyrinthitis, inflammation of the labyrinth of the inner ear due to a viral infection
- Vestibular neuritis, inflammation of the vestibular nerve inside the ear due to a viral infection
- Meniere’s disease due to fluid pressure in the ear causing vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss
More rarely vertigo can be a symptom of severe migraine, stroke or multiple sclerosis (MS). Vertigo can arise due to a disturbance of blood flow in the brain or because of nerve inflammation.
If you have difficulty walking or speaking while experiencing vertigo it may be a sign of a stroke and you should seek immediate medical attention.
How is dizziness and vertigo treated?
Dizziness is normally a temporary symptom and should get better without treatment. If your dizziness is severe, occurs repeatedly or is associated with any other worrying symptoms then you should seek medical attention immediately.
Treatment for vertigo involves understanding the underlying cause and may involve specific drug therapy.
At The London Clinic we provide treatment services for some of the key causes of vertigo including ear canal infections, meniere’s disease and migraine.
Certain exercises can also be helpful for vertigo and dizziness such as vestibular rehabilitation and the Epley manoeuvre. Vestibular rehabilitation exercises train your brain to change the way it receives signals from your inner ear.
Exercises include relaxing the neck and shoulder muscles and training the eyes to move independently of your head while improving coordination.
Vestibular rehabilitation is often helpful for people with labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis and Meniere’s disease.
The Epley manoeuvre is a type of exercise that helps with the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) which you can do at home.
Your specialist will show you how to do the manoeuvre which helps to move any calcium crystals (canalith) that lodge inside the semicircular canal of your ear causing BPPV.