Vertigo and Dizziness Glossary: Every Important Term Defined

peripheral vertigo, central vertigo

Coping with symptoms like vertigo and dizziness can come with many ups and downs. It also becomes extra challenging when you can’t distinguish between the two. Recognizing this problem, we created a list of every essential term related to vertigo and dizziness. It includes familiar words such as peripheral vertigo, central vertigo, and otoconia. We also listed rarely talked about terms like orthostatic hypotension and endolymphatic hydrops. 

Balance system 

The balance system consists of several components: the vestibular organs (found in the inner ears), the eyes, and the sensors on the muscles and skin. Each part of the balance system plays a crucial role in detecting changes in your head and body’s orientation and movement. 


Twenty percent of reported cases of dizziness in medical offices stem from benign paroxysmal vertigo. It’s also the leading cause of peripheral vertigo in the USA. Studies explain that BPPV develops because of displaced otoconia or calcium crystals. It causes episodic spinning sensations that worsen with head movements. 

Canalith Repositioning

Canalith repositioning is a popular technique used to overcome vertigo attacks triggered by BPPV. It’s a guided activity that aims to replace the otoconia stones to stop interfering with proper signal transmission

Central Vertigo

Central vertigo is a type of vertigo episode that results from a nervous system malfunction. Some of the usual triggers of this symptom include brainstem tumors, stroke, brainstem lesions, brain trauma, and multiple sclerosis. Besides dizziness and spinning sensations, central vertigo can cause uncontrollable eye movement that can persist for a few minutes. 

Endolymphatic Hydrops

This refers to a vestibular malfunction that leads to abnormal fluid build-up in the inner ear chamber. It’s also the widely accepted explanation behind the onset of Meniere’s disease. Studies believe it stems from the over-reaction of the inner ear’s natural defense system and develops right after a neck or head trauma or during an inner ear infection. 


Vertigo episodes often come hand in hand with other sensory disruptions such as nystagmus or uncontrollable eye jerking. It’s also one of the main symptoms that doctors look at when diagnosing the root cause of an episode. Unfortunately, this specific eye problem further complicates a vertigo attack because it causes the eyes to send confusing and inaccurate visual stimuli to the brain. It can also impair your visual acuity and increase your risk of getting injured. 

peripheral vertigo, central vertigo







Octoconia or calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ears help you detect linear gravity and acceleration. They work hand in hand with the sensory hairs found in the inner ears. However, because of a severe neck or head trauma and aging, parts of these crystals break off and travel to other parts of the inner ear. The tiny bits of dislodged crystals cause the vestibular system to exaggerate every head movement, leaving you dizzy and disoriented. This leads to the onset of BPPV, one of the leading causes of peripheral vertigo.

Orthostatic Hypotension

Postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension causes a drastic drop in your blood pressure. It usually occurs when you switch from a sitting to a standing position, and your body fails to activate its innate ability to counter sudden blood pressure changes. Studies note that dehydration, hunger, heart valve defects, and low blood sugar trigger postural hypotension. Besides causing lightheadedness, the condition also causes blurry vision, confusion, and fainting. 

Peripheral Vertigo

The majority of reported cases of vertigo attacks stem from peripheral vertigo. Unlike the other type, peripheral vertigo originates from vestibular system defects. This means it can get triggered by conditions like Meniere’s disease, BPPV, acoustic neuromas, and inner ear infections. It can also develop when the vestibular nerve gets compressed by an abnormal fluid build-up of cervical subluxation.


Upper Cervical Chiropractic Adjustments

Upper cervical care is, without a doubt, one of the most sought-after remedies for vertigo attacks. It’s a natural remedy that specializes in fixing postural imbalances. Studies on vertigo reveal that cervical subluxation or upper neck bone shifting is a common problem among patients suffering from recurring vertigo episodes. This is because the misaligned bones can lead to vertigo-causing issues such as:

  • Poor fluid drainage and ear congestion
  • Interrupted communication between the brain and the vestibular system
  • Irritated nerve roots and brainstem tissue


New and Returning Chiropractic Patients Can Find Doctors Here!

Learning as much as you can about vertigo and dizziness may hold the key to improving how you cope. Hopefully, our list of terminologies related to vertigo and dizziness provided you with a better understanding of the two symptoms. We also hope you start seeking help from an upper cervical doctor. Whether you complain about dizziness or vertigo attacks, upper cervical care is an excellent remedy that works wonders.  

Essentially, this type of remedy looks at the C1 and C2 bones to determine if they follow proper alignment. It also checks if the head is off-centered or if the rest of the spinal column adjusted its curvature to keep the skull from tilting at an awkward angle. Its goal is simple – to eliminate signal transmission disruptions because of misaligned upper neck bones. 

Using advanced imaging techniques like 3D X-ray diagnostic tests, an upper cervical doctor can study the shape and structure of your neck bones and plan how to restore its neutral curvature through quick and precise chiropractic adjustments. 

Do you need help managing your dizziness, peripheral vertigo, or central vertigo symptoms? Whether you’re a new or returning patient, you can find a local upper cervical practitioner to help you figure out your best course of action.


Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation 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.