A sensation of rotation or movement of one’s self or of one’s surroundings in any
plane is called vertigo. It is often used synonymously with dizziness.
What Is Vertigio?
A sensation of rotation or movement of one’s self or of one’s surroundings in any plane is called vertigo. It is often used synonymously with dizziness. Consequently there are a large number of conditions that can result in dizziness or vertigo and malfunction of the inner ears tends be a common cause.
Common Causes of Dizziness
- Malfunction of the ears (inner ear/semi-circular canal malfunction)
- Disturbances related to the eyes
- Joint problems (hip, knee and ankle joint etc)
- Heart problems
- And many others
This generally causes a sensation of intense rotation. This may be associated with altered hearing and noise in the ear. One may feel nauseous during the attack, however symptoms are variable. The common types are:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) lasts for few seconds to minutes. It comes on very suddenly. It can often triggered by looking upwards or sideways, and some cases, turning over in bed or any other head movement. Whiplash injury and head injury are known to be predisposing factors, but often no trigger is identified.
- Menière’s disease or endolymphatic hydrous This causes medium length episodes of dizziness lasting for a few hours to days. Severe vertigo combined with fluctuation in hearing with tinnitus (noise in the ear) are all classic symptoms.
- Infection of the inner ear (labyrinthitis) or an inflammation of the balance nerve (vestibular neuronitis) results in longer episodes of severe dizziness lasting for days to weeks, with slow return to normal balance over weeks or months.
- All these episodes may be associated with sensation nausea and often may confine you to bed for a variable period.
Specialist investigations that can help with the diagnosis include:
- Hearing tests
- Tests for balance also know as Vestibular function tests or Audio-Vestibular tests
- Blood tests
- MRI Scan or CT Scan
In general the treatment of vertigo is “symptomatic” to control nausea, and general support.
- The effects of inner ear malfunction may be “suppressed” by the use of drugs such as Stemetil or Stugeron. Theses drugs are not a long-term solution, and should be used sparingly, for as short a time as possible because they prolong the time taken for the body to readjust after the vertigo.
- Targeted exercises: (Cawthorne Cooksey or Brandt-Daroff) help to speed up the brain’s natural compensation process after inner ear disease. Recovery can be hastened by these exercises, and should be started as soon as possible when symptoms start settling.
- Surgery: surgical options have limited value and are based on accurate diagnosis. The procedures range from insertion of a grommet to instillation of drugs such as gentamicin (an antibiotic) can be delivered directly into the middle-ear through the ear drum and can selectively destroy the inner ear balance mechanisms without affecting hearing, although there is always a risk of damage to the hearing.
- Regular close follow-up appointments to monitor progress are very important
Vertigo/Dizziness Consultation Request
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PRACTICE MANAGER: Chelsea Fulton 07534 771264 MEDICAL SECRETARY: Karen Harris 07453 881588
CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESS: Enso House Crayfields Business Park, 3 New Mill Road, Orpington BR5 3TW | Tel: 01689 490119 | Fax: 01689 873221