Most people have felt dizzy at some point in life. It is very common and can have many causes, and is often described as a feeling of lightheadedness, felling unsteady on your feet, or motion sickness. Vertigo is typically a response to a physiological factor that is causing imbalance in your body. This typically feels like a spinning sensation.
Causes and Symptoms of Dizziness
Dizziness can be caused by many things, including a lack of sleep, poor nutrition, overexertion, or even a head cold or the flu. Dizziness can also occur from something as simple as standing up too quickly after an extended period of rest. Some accompanying symptoms to dizziness may include:
- Loss of balance
- Lightheadedness or heavy-headedness
- Momentarily impaired vision (i.e. tunnel vision)
- Feeling woozy or faint
Causes and Symptoms of Vertigo
Vertigo is most common cause of dizziness. It occurs because of an imbalance in the inner ear, also known as the “vestibular system.” Your vestibular system helps you maintain your balance and center of gravity by sending messages to your brain regarding your movement. This blocks necessary messages from your brain, and your movement becomes affected. You may feel as if the world is spinning around you, you can’t focus your vision, or you can’t stand/move properly without feeling like you are going to topple over.
This type of vertigo is called Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This is the most common cause of vertigo and is considered “true vertigo”. It occurs when the tiny calcium crystals located in the inner ear break apart and move around to different parts of the ear, where they are not supposed to be. This can cause sudden spinning sensations (vertigo) and inner-ear discomfort.
Other Causes of Dizziness/Vertigo
- Meniere’s disease
- This occurs when fluid builds up in your ear(s). This typically includes “ringing” in your ear and sudden waves of intense dizziness that may last for hours. You may also experience momentary hearing losses.
- Vestibular neuritis
- This is an inner-ear infection that can cause vertigo.
- Migraines impacts your vestibular system, causing episodes of vertigo, coupled with sensitivity to light or sound.
- A stroke affects movement in your whole body. If you recently suffered a stroke, you may experience waves of vertigo which may linger for extended periods of time.
Both dizziness and vertigo can hinder your daily life, limiting your ability to perform even the simplest of tasks. Luckily, our team of specialized physical therapy team can treat both dizziness and vertigo and get you back on the road to recovery.