What to Do When Vertigo Strikes?
I have never had vertigo before. So, I cannot personally tell you how it feels like. My patients who suffered from it describe it as an experience of motion where they could not tell if they were moving up, down, or round and round. This experience is felt despite being safe and sound lying on their bed. What to do when this feeling of disorientation strikes you?
What is it?
Vertigo is not actually a condition. It is a symptom which describes the sensation of motion that I described above. Conditions that can cause it include:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) – this a condition that is due to a crystal in your ear being dislodged, causing your sense of balance to be compromised
- Other peripheral causes like migraines or inflammation in the ear.
- Problems in your central nerous system – this is a more serious cause of vertigo that needs to be ruled out. A disturbance in the central nervous system (brain) due to a loss of blood supply or tumour can present as vertigo, but can be fatal if ignored.
- Medication induced
What can you do when you have vertigo?
The first thing to do is to get yourself diagnosed. You need to find out the cause as the treatment and outcome for a condition like BPPV or ear infection is very different from a centrally caused vertigo.
If you have been diagnosed with BPPV, then there is a simple home exercise that you can do which may help to reduce the symptoms. We have posted a short video for it below.
Will my vertigo come back?
If the vertigo is caused by BPPV, then there is a chance that it will recur in the future. Should it return, do the exercise shown above for a few days. If it doesn’t resolve, then see a doctor.
Winsen graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2011. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes in various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.
In his spare time, he enjoys singing and playing chess.