Vertigo and dizziness if often confused but there is a significant difference. Vertigo is when a person feels that they or their environment is spinning – it is an illusion that things are moving. When the person feels like they are moving it is subjective vertigo and when the environment seems to be moving, it is objective vertigo. Unlike dizziness, vertigo only has distinct causes relating to a few main parts of the body:
- Balance mechanisms of the inner ear;
- The brain;
- The nerve connections between the brain and the balance mechanisms of the inner ear.
Causes of Vertigo
The main cause of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo otherwise known as BPPV. This condition however may be a symptom of an inner ear infection or something much more serious including strokes, tumors, drug toxicities, Meniere’s disease, and superior canal dehiscience syndrome.
Vertigo can occur all of a sudden caused by a change in position or sudden movements. It can also happen because of sudden fluctuations of blood pressure, skull fractures, motion sickness, amongst other things.
Treatments of Vertigo
The treatment of the condition depends on the cause. There are various routes of treatment available.
Home Therapy: This type of care should only be taken when the person has a definite diagnosis accompanied with a cause and is being supervised by a doctor.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy: This is also known as VRT and is a special form of physical therapy utilized to treat this condition. The objective is to reduce the dizziness as much as possible while improving balance and restoring the vestibular system back to its normal function to prevent any falls that the person may have been taking.
The therapy uses exercises to help the body cope or adapt to what is causing the vertigo. There are a number of different factors that affect the effectiveness of the treatment. These include:
- Physical strength
- Overall health of the whole body
- Coordination and motor skills
- Cognitive function
The choices of medical treatments vary widely according to the cause of the condition. There are medications that can be taken orally and there are others that are given through the IV. There is also a medicinal patch to be placed on the skin of the patient. There may be a change in diet required for such causes as Meniere’s disease as in the low sodium diet.
There are cases that require surgery but if there are alternate solutions to the problem, these will be attempted first. In some cases, simply maneuvering the patient into different positions can be used to treat the condition but of course many situations vary in the cause and severity.
Some of the actual medications available for vertigo include: