Skip to content

    Brain & Nervous System Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Vertigo

    Vertigo is a sensation of spinning. If you have these dizzy spells, you might feel like you are spinning or that the world around you is spinning.

    Causes of Vertigo

    Vertigo is often caused by an inner ear problem. Some of the most common causes include:

    BPPV. These initials stand for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. BPPV occurs when tiny calcium particles (canaliths) clump up in canals of the inner ear. The inner ear sends signals to the brain about head and body movements relative to gravity. It helps you keep your balance.

    BPPV can occur for no known reason and may be associated with age.

    Meniere's disease. This is an inner ear disorder thought to be caused by a buildup of fluid and changing pressure in the ear. It can cause episodes of vertigo along with ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss.

    Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis. This is an inner ear problem usually related to infection (usually viral). The infection causes inflammation in the inner ear around nerves that are important for helping the body sense balance

    Less often vertigo may be associated with:

    Symptoms of Vertigo

    Vertigo is often triggered by a change in the position of your head.

    People with vertigo typically describe it as feeling like they are:

    • Spinning
    • Tilting
    • Swaying
    • Unbalanced
    • Pulled to one direction

    Other symptoms that may accompany vertigo include:

    Symptoms can last a few minutes to a few hours or more and may come and go.

    Treatment for Vertigo

    Treatment for vertigo depends on what's causing it. In many cases, vertigo goes away without any treatment. This is because your brain is able to adapt, at least in part, to the inner ear changes, relying on other mechanisms to maintain balance.

    For some, treatment is needed and may include:

    Vestibular rehabilitation. This is a type of physical therapy aimed at helping strengthen the vestibular system. The function of the vestibular system is to send signals to the brain about head and body movements relative to gravity.

    Today on WebMD

    nerve damage
    Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
    senior woman with lost expression
    Know the early warning signs.
     
    woman in art gallery
    Tips to stay smart, sharp, and focused.
    medical marijuana plant
    What is it used for?
     
    senior man
    Article
    boy hits soccer ball with head
    Slideshow
     
    red and white swirl
    Article
    marijuana plant
    ARTICLE
     
    brain illustration stroke
    Slideshow
    nerve damage
    Slideshow
     
    Alzheimers Overview
    Slideshow
    Graphic of number filled head and dna double helix
    Quiz