What Can You Do to Prevent Vertigo?

Up to 40% of people may experience vertigo at one time or another in their lives. There are several conditions that may cause vertigo, a sudden sensation that you are spinning when you are actually standing still, or that the room around you is spinning.

While that might not sound too bad, imagine that sensation lasting for hours or days. Vertigo attacks can be mild, lasting only moments, or so severe and persistent that you have difficulty doing everyday tasks. A common misconception is that vertigo is a fear of heights. Another misconception is that vertigo is mere dizziness, which is generally caused by a temporary change in blood pressure. Only someone who has experienced vertigo can tell you how annoying, frustrating, and even frightening an attack can be. Several other symptoms such as nausea can occur along with vertigo. Vertigo itself is only a symptom, caused by conditions usually affecting the inner ear. It may not be possible to prevent vertigo, unless you can avoid the underlying causes. The most common causes of vertigo can resolve on their own, however, and in the meantime there are things you can do to reduce vertigo’s effect on your quality of life.  

Common Causes of Vertigo

Most commonly, vertigo is caused by infection in your inner ear. Labyrinthitis—when the labyrinth, a fluid-filled maze of channels inside your ear, becomes infected—may cause vertigo. The inflamed labyrinth sends inaccurate information to your brain, which conflicts with signals received from your uninfected ear. Labyrinthitis is usually viral. If it is bacterial, an antibiotic will clear it up. The vestibular nerve, which enters the inner ear, also may become virally inflamed and cause vertigo. This condition will usually resolve without any treatment. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo results when movements of your head sweep debris dislodged from an ear channel along a fluid-filled ear canal, sending incorrect signals to your brain about your balance. In this case, you may experience vertigo, nausea, and nystagmus: brief, uncontrollable movement of your eyes. Sit up in bed slowly in the morning, and wait before you stand up. The Epley maneuver, which uses specific head movements to shift the debris from the canal, can be learned from your doctor, or by watching instructional videos available on YouTube.

A Few Questions and Answers:

Q: Should I see my doctor for vertigo?

A: See your doctor if the attacks do not resolve, or if your vertigo is severe and accompanied by ringing in the ears and ear pressure. A rare condition called Mèniére’s disease may cause this kind of vertigo. A low-salt diet and medication can reduce symptoms.

Q: Is there prescription medicine for vertigo?

A: Certain antihistamines may reduce the effects of vertigo. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-nausea medication if needed.

Q: Are there natural remedies for vertigo?

A: Natural remedies that some people have found effective include Ginkgo biloba, and ginger root. These can be found in the natural supplements section of your drugstore, or ordered online. Always ask your doctor how to take natural remedies safely.