Can Vertigo Be Treated?

Vertigo is a form of dizziness characterized by the feeling that you or your environment is moving or spinning, despite the lack of any actual movement. This sensation is brought on by disturbances in the inner ear or the brain.

Types of VertigoVertigo in American Fork, Utah

Peripheral vertigo is associated with problems in the inner ear. The vestibular system sends signals to the brain about the position of the head in relation to movement, enabling us to keep our balance and maintain equilibrium. When these signals are disrupted, vertigo results. This is often caused by inflammation related to a viral infection and is commonly associated with two conditions:

  • Labyrinthitis (inflammation of the inner ear’s labyrinth and vestibular nerve)
  • Vestibular neuronitis (inflammation of the vestibular nerve).

Other causes of peripheral vertigo include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which occurs when tiny pieces of calcium break off and float in the tube of the inner ear, sending confusing messages to the brain, and Meniere’s disease, which involves excess pressure of the fluid in the inner ear.

Central vertigo occurs when there is a problem in the brain, usually affecting the brainstem or the cerebellum. These parts of the brain are responsible for interactions between the visual and balance systems; any disturbance can lead to vertigo. The most common cause of central vertigo is a migraine headache. Other less common conditions that can trigger central vertigo include:

  • Stroke
  • Tumors
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alcohol
  • Certain drugs.

Symptoms & Treatment

Technically speaking, vertigo is a symptom itself. It may be accompanied by additional symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Difficulty focusing or moving the eyes
  • Double vision
  • Feeling of fullness in the ear.

If you’re suffering from vertigo, your doctor will give you a thorough physical examination and may order a CT scan or MRI.

Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of vertigo. Some types disappear without treatment. Others can be treated with medication or physical therapy.

The most common type or vertigo is BPPV. It occurs when tiny particles of calcium (canaliths) detach from the otolithic membrane in the inner ear’s utricle and move into the fluid-filled semicircular canals. When you move your head, the movement cause these particles to shift, resulting in symptoms like dizziness.

Your American Fork balance specialists may use a few types of repositioning movements to treat their patients with BPPV. Each uses slightly different movements and angles to move the calcium deposits from your inner ear canals. These repositioning maneuvers include:

  • Canalith Repositioning Procedure (CRP) or Epley maneuver
  • Semont-Liberatory maneuver
  • Half somersault maneuver or Foster maneuver.

The repositioning maneuvers that your physician recommends will depend on your individual case of BPPV. Your doctor will give you clear instructions and help you learn and understand the techniques of your repositioning maneuvers. Some patients need the help of a balance doctor to perform their repositioning maneuvers each time, while other patients who feel comfortable with the process can usually perform the procedures at home.

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