Vertigo is a feeling of spinning on the spot, even if the person is standing entirely still. The things around the person seem to move about either in a vertical line or in a horizontal line. In some cases the effect is very slight, and can barely be noticeable, while in other cases it can be severe enough to make the person fall down.

This condition is often confused with dizziness, but the two are not the same. Vertigo is much more harmful than dizziness, affecting the person’s ability to move around. It creates a problem with the balance of the person. Another similar condition that vertigo is associated with is the fear of heights. But the difference is that vertigo can happen anywhere, while fear of heights occurs only when the person is standing on a high surface.

Symptoms of vertigo

Vertigo can be either temporary for few minutes or can also last for days together, making it difficult to carry on a normal life. In some cases it is irregular, coming on and off. The various symptoms of vertigo are: –

  • Felling that the surrounding is spinning or moving about.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Problems with walking or standing still.
  • Light-headed sensations.
  • Feeling that the floor is moving.

Causes of vertigo

The main cause for vertigo is a balancing system that exists in the inside of the ear, which is a coiled tube-like structure behind the eardrum. This is known as the labyrinth, and this infection comes with a severe ear-ache and sometimes high fever as well.

Damage or inflammation caused to the ear can also lead to vertigo, due to an infection or a viral attack. The other reasons for the occurrence of vertigo are as follows: –

  • Arthritis occurring in the neck – generally among older people.
  • Due to migraines – based upon the family background.
  • Improper circulation in the body – less blood reaching the brain.
  • Hyperventilation, motion sickness, and excess-breathing.
  • Drugs or alcoholism.

A more serious form is the Meniere’s disease, which has symptoms like tinnitus, hearing difficulty etc. certain very rare forms of vertigo will lead to strokes and sometimes multiple sclerosis or even tumours.

Treating vertigo

This is based upon the severity of the condition and what caused it. In case of mild earache vertigo, it is self-healing, meaning that it will heal once the earache stops. In harsher cases, antibiotics are given that reduce the pain and infection.

In the case of labyrinthitis vertigo, the patient is asked to lie silently in a dark room in order to ease out the nausea feeling and the spinning effects. This in most cases gets healed by itself.

While travelling, a person with vertigo is given antiematic drugs, which help in treating the nausea caused by vertigo. The do this by stopping the brain signals that start the vomiting sensations. To improve circulation, slight dosage of aspirin is also recommended while travelling. Sometimes a technique known as Epley manoeuvre is used where the head is moved around to different positions to ensure that the vertigo does not persist.

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