What Is Vertigo?


Quick Answer

Vertigo refers to a feeling of whirling in which a person senses that either his own body or the environment is spinning, according to WebMD. Changing the position of the head usually triggers vertigo. Symptoms include twirling, tilting, swaying, losing balance and getting pulled to a single direction.

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What Is Vertigo?
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Full Answer

A problem with the inner ear typically leads to vertigo because the inner ear is responsible for sending motion signals to the brain to maintain the body’s balance, explains WebMD. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, causes vertigo when small calcium particles accumulate in the inner ear canals and interfere with the inner ear’s motion signals.

Another inner ear condition that leads to vertigo is Meniere’s disease, which occurs due to fluid and pressure build-up in the ear, states WebMD. Vestibular neuritis is an infection that inflames the nerves in the inner ear that help the body maintain balance. Other possible causes of vertigo include head or neck injuries, migraine headaches, brain conditions, and medications that damage the ear.

Vertigo often resolves without medical treatment as the brain learns to adapt to inner ear changes, notes WebMD. In some cases, doctors recommend a type of physical therapy called vestibular rehabilitation to improve the vestibular system, which is responsible for sending signals on head and body movements in relation to gravity. Other treatment options include canalith repositioning maneuvers, medication and surgery.

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