Vertigo is a false sensation of movement, often described as the feeling that the room is spinning. If you suffer from it on occasion or on a chronic basis, what should you know about this health issue? You may want to ask your healthcare practitioner about vertigo, but many patients find visits are rushed and they may forget to discuss anything but the illness they went in for. Here is some information that can save you from having to ask a lot of questions at your next doctors visit.
#1 How Long Should a Vertigo Attack Last?
The answer to this question depends on the underlying cause of the attack. Positional vertigo bouts may only last a few minutes at a time. However, vertigo that is associated with Meniere’s disease can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours. There are also some conditions that can cause vertigo to be continuous, although this is a rare occurrence.
#2 There’s No Such Thing as Vertigo Disease
Sometimes vertigo is called vertigo disease when you read about it online. This is to distinguish it from popular culture references such as the movie vertigo or the graphic novel company. Vertigo is not a disease in and of itself. Rather, it is a symptom of many different conditions. That explains why vertigo is so common.
#3 There Are Two Categories of Vertigo Causing Conditions
Vertigo is categorized as either central or peripheral. Central vertigo stems from the central nervous system and may involve a neurological problem such as migraines or multiple sclerosis (MS). The more common category of vertigo is peripheral. This occurs when vertigo stems from issues with the inner ear or vestibular nerve. Examples include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and Meniere’s disease.
#4 Vertigo Can Continue After You Lay Down
This is why we can’t just define vertigo as the room spinning. You may lay down and close your eyes. You know the room isn’t actually spinning and you can no longer see it, but your body still feels the sensation of movement. Severe vertigo attacks can cause this type of sensation and may lead to nausea and even vomiting. After all, it can be disorienting to feel like you are in a constant state of motion even though you know you are lying still on your bed.
#5 Meniere’s Disease May Be More Common Than We Think
Meniere’s has been listed as a rare vestibular condition for a long time now. With about 615,000 diagnosed cases in the US (according to the National Institute of Health), that means 0.2% of the population in the US has it. However, that statistic is 8 years old, tens of thousands of cases are diagnosed each year, and Meniere’s isn’t fatal, so most of those 615,000 are likely still alive. That means the figure may be closer to 0.3% and rising.
#6 What Is Meniere’s Disease?
Meniere’s disease is a progressive vestibular condition that has four primary symptoms:
- Vertigo – Dizzying bouts come on suddenly and last anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours.
- Tinnitus – This is a ringing, rushing, or vibrating sound in the ear.
- Hearing loss – Fortunately, Meniere’s usually only affects one ear. That can make the hearing loss a little easier to bear. This is a good indicator of how far along the condition is because low tones are often lost first. Later on, high tones are lost leaving the patients with a small middle range of hearing.
- Feeling of fullness in the affected ear
#7 What Is Mal de Barquement?
This is a form of vertigo that continues after a person disembarks from some type of transportation. For example, you may still feel the waves of the ocean for a time after getting off a boat. Or you may experience mal de barquement after a long car trip, a train ride, a flight, or a rollercoaster. Fortunately, vertigo usually stops not long after you are back on solid ground.
#8 You May Have Inflammation Due to a Virus
Many people experience vertigo in the days or even weeks after a head cold or the flu. This is because the virus can lead to inflammation of the inner ear (labyrinthitis) or the vestibular nerve itself (vestibular neuritis). This should go away on its own after the virus is gone and the inflammation has time to go away.
#9 Stress Can Make Vertigo Worse
Add it to the never-ending list of things that get worse when a person is stressed out. You can’t avoid all stress, and sometimes we are stressed over good things. The key is to have healthy ways to cope with stress. So whether you hop in the tub with a good book, play a musical instrument, or practice your favorite sport, de-stressing may improve the frequency and severity of your vertigo attacks.
#10 Vertigo Can Be Related to the Neck
This is a factor that often gets missed. The top bone in the neck, the atlas, can affect both the nervous and vestibular systems. As a result, a misalignment can be an underlying factor in both central and peripheral forms of vertigo. Therefore, if you suffer from this symptom, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, it is wise to see an upper cervical chiropractor. We specialize in precisely measuring and realigning the atlas. These long-lasting and gentle adjustments are just what a person needs to find relief from vertigo.