Dizziness or Drowsiness: Where Can You Classify Vertigo?

drowsiness, remedies for dizziness

Drowsiness and dizziness often get mistaken for one another. Some patients use the terms interchangeably to describe lightheadedness. Meanwhile, others use drowsiness or dizziness to refer to a sensation that makes them sick to their stomach or feel false movements when they sit or stand in a corner. If you’re also having difficulty telling these two symptoms apart, you will likely fail to find suitable the remedies for dizziness or drowsiness. 

Join us in our quick discussion on dizziness and drowsiness. Then, learn which one you have and where to classify vertigo, a spinning sensation that’s equally debilitating.


Drowsiness vs. Dizziness: Similarities and Differences

There’s definitely a good reason why patients get confused between drowsiness and dizziness. For starters, both symptoms can leave severe impacts on your life and prevent you from functioning properly. However, they have stark differences that can immediately tell you which among the two symptoms you have. 

Essentially, dizziness is an umbrella term to describe various symptoms like vertigo, balance loss, and pre-syncope. It often develops due to the impaired body and brain miscommunication and cardiovascular abnormalities.  On the one hand, drowsiness refers to a state of extreme fatigue or tiredness. It can stem from mental or physical overexertion, lack of quality sleep, and imbalance in your central nervous system.

Here are some tell-tale distinctions between drowsiness and dizziness: 

Noticeable pulse rate changes

Patients with dizzying spells, vertigo, and other balance problems report significant changes in their pulse rate. This is because abnormal heart rhythm can affect the cardiovascular system’s ability to distribute blood to the brain. 

Presence of mood swings

Dizziness rarely causes mood swings, while drowsiness can easily trigger them because it can make you feel irritated and frustrated. 

Having a tingling sensation

Many patients who experience dizziness (like pre-syncope, vertigo, loss of balance, etc.) experience a tingling feeling, while those who report grogginess only claim that they feel heavy and exhausted.

Presence of chest pain

Drowsiness rarely occurs with chest pain. On the other hand, dizziness can accompany chest pain because cardiovascular problems like stroke or hypertension can affect the CNS and your vestibular organs.


Where Can You Classify Vertigo: Dizziness or Drowsiness?

Right off the bat, you can tell that vertigo is a type of dizziness. That’s because vertigo attacks primarily result from balance disorders. Sometimes, it stems from vestibular conditions like BPPV, inner ear infections, and Meniere’s disease. It can also develop when there are signal transmission problems between your brain and vestibulocochlear nerve because of brain tumors, brainstem lesions, or other nervous system abnormalities. 

Interestingly, vertigo and drowsiness can occur together. Some patients experience both symptoms and struggle to cope with the daily demands of their work or household chores. Therefore, it’s a good idea to visit your primary doctor to get a detailed explanation as to why you experience pain, discomfort, and disorientation. This way, you can rule out potential causes and find suitable remedies for dizziness or fatigue.

drowsiness, remedies for dizziness

If it's vertigo, do you know if it's central or peripheral? 

There are two different types of vertigo – central and peripheral.  The difference lies in where the condition originates.  Peripheral vertigo is by far more common than central vertigo and can, unfortunately, be more severe.  Peripheral vertigo is the result of a problem with the inner ear, which plays a large role in your body's ability to maintain its balance.  Examples of peripheral vertigo include:

BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)

BPPV is the most common type of peripheral vertigo.  Short but frequent bouts of vertigo are due to displacement of calcium particles into an area in the inner ear where they should not belong. This sends confusing signals to the brain which result in the sensation of vertigo.

BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) Meniere's Disease

The vertigo episodes associated with Meniere's disease can be totally debilitating.  Other hallmark symptoms of Meniere's include tinnitus (ringing in the ear), a feeling of fullness in the ear, as well as fluctuating hearing loss.


The fluid-filled inner ear can become infected and inflamed which can disturb the vestibular apparatus, the part of the inner ear that senses balance.

Vestibular neuronitis

The nerve that helps to control your body's sense of balance is the vestibular nerve, also called cranial nerve 8.  When this nerve becomes inflamed it can cause sudden, severe episodes of vertigo.

Central vertigo has its roots lie within the central nervous system.  It is not nearly as common as peripheral vertigo. Central vertigo can stem from an injury to the brain or by disease, such as:

  • Migraines
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Head injury (car accident, sports injury, etc.)
  • Illness or infection
  • Stroke

Central vertigo attacks can come on without warning and last for longer periods of time than peripheral vertigo episodes.  They can also be much more intense.  Abnormal eye movements called nystagmus last longer (from weeks to months) in people with central vertigo than with those with peripheral.

Vertigo and the Vestibular System

In order for your body to maintain its sense of balance, several components must be working in harmony with one another.  The vestibular system is consist of parts of the inner ear and brain that process sensory information and eye movements.  The processing of your vision, your inner ear, and sensors in the limbs, trunk, and spine (called proprioceptors) all relay information to the brainstem.  In response, signals are then sent back to the eyes and muscles to help keep your posture and balance.

Problems with vertigo episodes arise when there is a malfunction with one or more components of this system.  If the brain and brainstem do not receive the proper information, it can cause confusion and abnormal compensation, which can easily lead to the sensation of vertigo.

Remedies For Dizziness, Vertigo, and Drowsiness

There are several remedies for dizziness or drowsiness. Knowing how each option works and how they specifically apply to your symptom can make a difference in your healing and recovery journey. Below are some of the usual relief options that patients use to cope: 

Improving sleep hygiene

Sleep plays a pivotal role in maintaining excellent health and preventing the onset of diseases. That’s why it’s crucial to check and address sleep hygiene problems.

Taking doctor-prescribed medication

Once you get an official diagnosis, your physician will prescribe you medication to combat dizziness, vertigo, or drowsiness. Your doctor might also recommend taking supplements that can help support your health and prevent your symptoms from getting worse. 

Spending enough time exercising

Physical activities such as jogging, cycling, walking, and stretching can help you steer clear of major and minor health concerns. Make sure to dedicate a few hours each week to exercise or engage in physical activities.  

Seeking upper cervical care

Postural distortion in the spine can wreak havoc on your body. It triggers a myriad of problems, including dizziness, vertigo, and dizziness. Thankfully, you can potentially rectify your situation with the help of an upper cervical chiropractic doctor.

Additional Care Options for Patients Living with Vertigo

Vertigo can be a challenge to care for since it can arise from so many different places.  Depending on what is determined to be the source of your vertigo, below are additional tips you can follow:

Low-sodium diet

This recommendation is often for those with Meniere's disease.  The reason this might make sense to try is that Meniere's disease creates a buildup of excess fluid within the inner ear.  A low-sodium diet might help with your body's overall fluid retention in hopes that the fluid level in the ear will also be reduced.

Vestibular rehabilitation

This method can help to strengthen the vestibular system through specific therapies can bring some relief of vertigo symptoms.

Proper medication

While there is no specific medicine to treat vertigo, medications might be prescribed to relieve vertigo-related symptoms such as nausea or motion sickness.

Canalith repositioning maneuvers

This is most often recommended when BPPV is the suspected cause of vertigo.  Maneuvers such as Epley's, when done properly, might help to reposition loose calcium crystals so that they can be reabsorbed by the body.

Eliminate Vertigo, Dizziness, and Drowsiness with Upper Cervical Care 

Whether you have vertigo, dizziness, or drowsiness, you might find relief by seeking an upper cervical doctor. This is because neck alignment plays a critical role in maintaining optimal health. If your uppermost neck bones shift even by the slightest bit, your entire body can suffer unpleasant consequences. For starters, the brainstem gets compressed and fails to function correctly. 

Signal transmission between the brain and several parts of the body, such as your vestibular system, can also be disrupted. This can result in confusion, and eventually to problems like dizziness or vertigo. Drowsiness or grogginess can also follow, especially when your cervical subluxation persists. 

Thankfully, you can fix the possible root cause of your symptoms with the help of upper cervical care. It’s a chiropractic procedure that specializes in restoring postural balance in the C1 and C2 bones. The procedure involves making minor adjustments by applying minimal pressure on the displaced neck bones. 

Thousands of patients seek this specific approach to improve their symptoms. Case studies show remarkable results, suggesting that upper cervical care indeed works for revitalizing the body and fixing signal transmission between the nervous system and other organs or tissues. 

If you can’t seem to find relief from other remedies for dizziness, vertigo, or drowsiness, we suggest trying upper cervical chiropractic. Talk to a neck chiropractor and get your C1 and C2 bones assessed. Feel free to request an appointment with a local upper cervical doctor today!

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.