Vertigo is a balance disorder that can have life-threatening consequences under certain conditions. There are a number of different causes of vertigo, and both relate to how the brain sends or receives information relating to balance and equilibrium. The good news is that vertigo can be treated or controlled with a range of medications, remedies and exercises. Let’s take a closer look at the causes along with some ways that you can keep vertigo in check.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is the experience of dizziness or unbalance with respect to how someone perceives their surroundings. On one hand, it can be that the individual is the one who feels like they are spinning or wobbling. On the other hand, the surroundings may be the ones that are not steady. In both cases, the individual can fall, be forced to stop in their tracks, need to rest or experience a wide-range of symptoms that can impair movement and stability.
Causes of Vertigo
There are two main categories that encompass the cause of vertigo: Peripheral or Central. Peripheral vertigo involves inner-ear problems that disrupt the body’s natural balancing mechanism. Central vertigo involves issues related to the brain and/or spine and are considered to be neurological in nature.
However, the causes of vertigo are many, and some are inherent whereas others stem from injuries and disease. Some are also temporary, such as an inner-ear infection that traps fluid and causes the balancing-system to get out of whack. Common examples include head injuries, migraines, spinal cord problems, tumors, smoking and stroke. Consequently, identifying the cause is important to determine what treatment options will work best.
There are a number of ways that doctors will use to diagnose vertigo based on the patient’s history and description of symptoms. These can range from a special test that recreates an environment that triggers vertigo to brain scans and ear or hearing tests. Doctors can also often detect vertigo by examining eye movement. It’s important to see a doctor if you think you may have vertigo, because a proper diagnosis is key to getting the best treatment.
Treatments vary depending on the cause. There are many simple therapeutic exercises that involve special movements of the head to dislodge material in the inner-ear that can reduce symptoms. There are also exercises for the eyes that therapists use to desensitize nerves and help the brain to overcome the cause of imbalance. In other cases, addressing the underlying cause will eliminate symptoms. Keep in mind that medication is rarely used as a long-term solution since it only treats the symptoms in most cases.
There is an endless list of home remedies out there that are thought to relieve symptoms of vertigo. Due to the fact that many of them are far from scientific, we will not call attention to these cures here. However, one good and time-tested remedy for curing balance problems is to eat ginger. There are things that you can do to reduce the frequency and severity of episodes of vertigo in many cases.
These include not smoking, because smoking short-circuits parts of the brain that cause balance problems, reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption, eat nutrient-rich foods, get rest and stay hydrated. Also, if you suffer from vertigo, avoid positioning yourself with your head tilted back for prolonged periods of time, and avoid sudden movements of the head and neck. This causes the fluid in your ears to become displaced and vertigo occurs as they try to get re-settled.
Make sure that you address problems associated with vertigo now instead of later, even if you have short-bouts of the condition on a regular basis. You will be surprised at how easy it is to diagnose and treat symptoms, and you can often reduce the risk of developing worsening problems over time. Remember that the last thing that you want during a survival situation is to lose your balance or get disoriented. Take care of problems now so that you won’t be at a disadvantage later.