Etiology of Vertigo and How to Cope

Vertigo causes and how to cope

At times the room may seem to be spinning. Sometimes you feel like you are in motion. These spells are signs of vertigo and can strike with little or no warning. Millions each year experience vertigo and as a person ages, it becomes more common. Individuals who suffer from these dizzying bouts may feel hopeless in their pursuit of relief. How can you cope? What is behind this common ailment? We will consider a few main causes of vertigo and then take a closer look at a method that is giving many a renewed sense of hope.

Conditions Commonly Known to Cause Vertigo


Viruses that cause things like the common cold or the flu can create conditions that make vertigo possible. Here are two examples.

During a viral infection, it is possible for the vestibular nerve to become inflamed (this is called vestibular neuritis). This nerve is the communication pathway where information is passed back and forth between the ear and the brain. The inflamed nerve can trigger bouts of vertigo. Once the inflammation has resolved, vertigo normally will as well.

The other condition that can also cause spinning sensation is called labyrinthitis. It is also an infection-induced condition where the labyrinth or inner ear becomes inflamed. Again, the result can be the type of dizziness described at the outset. Once the infection clears, normally in just a few days, inflammation goes down and so does the risk of vertigo.

Trauma to the Head or Neck

Many sufferers have somewhere in their history experienced a form of head or neck trauma. Injuries in this category include things like whiplash and concussions. The existence of such an injury can be tricky to determine as vertigo, and other symptoms may take years to present after such an event. It is important to be thorough when giving or taking patient history so as to get a diagnosis and appropriate help or treatment.

Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease is a condition that affects the vestibular nerve. Often it begins in one ear, and some find that if no care is given both ears will experience symptoms. While a small percentage of the population is diagnosed with Meniere's, the disease is on the rise. Though it is not well understood, some attribute the condition to the previous head or neck trauma. Whatever the cause, one of the premier symptoms is vertigo. Vertigo can be severe and last for mere minutes to an entire day. Other conditions that arise include tinnitus and in some cases hearing loss.


Migraines are normally associated with headaches and spinning sensation, but up to 40% of vertigo sufferers have migraines as a cause. Why is this the case? A vestibular migraine is one that carries with it symptoms like vertigo. Seeing as they are a neurological condition, migraines can initiate vertigo episodes that are generated through the central nervous system, as opposed to the ear.  For those who experience vertigo, but not headaches, migraines should not be ruled out as a possible etiology.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV

This is a condition where spells of vertigo occur following head movements or positioning. The dizziness it brings is usually short-lived – up to a few minutes until the person resumes a normal position. While on paper, it may not seem to be much of an issue, BPPV can be particularly dangerous as it can leave a person prone to falling. We can't always predict what movements will trigger attacks or always be able to avoid them. If something falls out of your hand and you bend to pick it up, it could trigger vertigo and compromise your ability to make yourself upright again. Many elderly ones who suffer from BPPV find this to be the case.

Other Causes

Neurological conditions like migraines mentioned above can be a catalyst for vertigo. Seizures, tumors, strokes, and other diseases can manifest symptoms like vertigo. There are also other circumstances that could produce temporary bouts of vertigo. One of those includes pharmaceutical side effects. There is an exhaustive list of medications, and more than a few carry vertigo as a side effect. People dealing with vertigo are not normally in a position to just quit taking the medications their doctors have prescribed. For many, the medication is treating something that is more dangerous to the person than vertigo. Take as an example blood pressure medication. High blood pressure carries a greater risk to life than episodes of vertigo. So this can put you in a tough spot when it comes to alleviating vertigo. Working with your healthcare provider to adjust or change medications can help to minimize vertigo and other side effects.

Natural Relief from Vertigo Is Possible!

As we have seen, there are many reasons for the onset of vertigo. So how does one cope with the condition? Much of the traditional approach goes along with treating the symptoms rather than a root cause. Medications can relieve conditions in the ear, and surgery can help some inner ear issues as well. However, there are those who would prefer a gentler, more natural approach.

Upper cervical chiropractic techniques aim to target vertigo at the source rather than just trying to manage symptoms. This form of therapy aims at re-establishing the correct alignment in the upper vertebrae of the neck. You may have noticed that a few conditions mentioned above are due to head and neck injuries. These traumas can cause shifts in alignment and throw off important neurological and vascular systems. Upper cervical chiropractic care carefully readjusts the vertebrae with small movements. Many experience vertigo relief. You may feel better too!

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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.