What Are Physical Causes of Vertigo Attacks?

Possible physical causes of vertigo attacks include a disturbance of the balance organs in the inner ear, a disturbance in the part of the brain that controls the interaction between balance and sight, and a disruption of sensory messages to and from the brain, according to Medical News Today. Peripheral vertigo refers to vertigo caused by inner ear problems. Central vertigo refers to vertigo caused by brain and nervous system problems.

Inflammation of the inner ear labyrinth, which is responsible for keeping balance, is a common cause of peripheral vertigo, according to Medical News Today. Bacterial and viral infections both cause inner ear problems. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a condition in which particles in the inner ear keep moving after the body stops moving, also causes peripheral vertigo. Although benign paroxysmal positional vertigo sometimes has no obvious cause, head injuries, ear surgery and long periods of bed rest are all possible triggers for the condition.

A common cause of central vertigo is migraine headaches, states Medical News Today. Vertigo attacks that are caused by migraines tend to end when the migraine passes. Other causes include strokes, brain tumors and multiple sclerosis. These causes disrupt the signals sent to the brain about balance or the portion of the brain that interprets these signals.