Treatments for Vertigo and Dizziness
What’s Causing Me to Feel Dizzy?
Is the room spinning on a regular basis? Dizziness is relatively common, but can also be a sign of something more serious.
A person suffering a balance disorder will feel dizzy, almost like they are floating even when not moving. Even though minor episodes of dizziness are no cause for concern, when the spinning sensation (often called vertigo) becomes intense, they need professional evaluation.
What Is Balance and How Does it Work?
We take our sense of balance for granted because it usually works well without our noticing. But when you think about it, maintaining your sense of balance is really impressive.
When you’re walking around, your body is able to sense its place in space and make corrections to keep your body upright…even with your eyes closed.
Your vestibular system—located in your inner ear—can sense any changes in position much like the motion sensors in your smartphone. They do this by measuring the movement of fluid through ducts in your ear. They then send signals to the brain that are combined with visual cues and other senses to help you adapt to your surroundings.
What Are Some Typical Balance Disorders?
Balance disorders result in a disruption of the vestibular system or with your brain’s ability to process information.
Balance disorders can be caused by anything that affects the ear, head, or even neck including injuries, tumors or obstructions, infections, low blood pressure, medicines ,or medical conditions.
There are a number of balance disorders including Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), Labyrinthitis, and Meniere’s Disease.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Essentially, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is that sensation you get when you stand up too quickly and feel a little light-headed. You might also get this feeling when you’ve slept in an unusual position.
This condition is usually benign, meaning it’s basically harmless (though you should still be careful that you don’t fall and injure yourself).
Usually affecting only one ear, this inner ear disorder can cause vertigo, tinnitus, and single-sided hearing loss that comes and goes. This chronic condition can be treated.
What Are Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis?
Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis are conditions that affect the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. Unlike swimmer’s ear, which is brought on by a bacterial infection, labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis are caused by a viral infection. People with these conditions usually experience vertigo and problems with their hearing.
Treatment of labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis depends on the root cause of the problem, which is why it’s important to see a specialist as soon as you notice you’re having trouble with your balance. In some cases, labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis often require therapy.
Dizziness Can Also be Caused by:
Medication Side Effects
Many medications list “dizziness” as a possible side effect. If you experience dizziness from a medication you’re taking, talk to your doctor about alternatives.
Overheating and Dehydration
A common cause of dizziness is dehydration. Take note of when and where you feel dizzy. If the room starts spinning when you’re overheated, try drinking water.
Cholesteatoma is a non-cancerous cyst that grows near your eardrum. However, if left untreated, these cysts can cause permanent hearing loss. Cholesteatoma symptoms include tinnitus, vertigo, fluid discharge, chronic ear infections, and difficulty hearing out of one ear. A cyst that’s left alone can grow and affect other parts of your ear, or even your brain, which is why it’s so important to get checked out if you have any of these symptoms.
The only option for removing cholesteatoma is surgery, though there are a couple of different methods we can use to remove the cyst. The first is a mastoidectomy, in which the surgeon opens up the mastoid bone behind the ear to remove the cyst. The second is a tympanoplasty, which fixes any damage to your eardrum with cartilage and muscle taken from other parts of your body.
These conditions can also cause dizziness:
- Ear infections
- Low blood pressure
- Acoustic neuroma
- Head injuries
How Are Vertigo and Balance Disorders Treated?
If you think you have a balance disorder or are experiencing dizziness for extended periods of time, you should come see us to get evaluated.
Don’t Search for the Epley Maneuver on YouTube – We Can Help
The Epley Maneuver is one of many possible treatments for balance issues. Depending on what we discover in our balance tests, we may go through this series of movements with you to “reset” your sense of balance. We’ll even provide instructions on how to do the Epley Maneuver at home. But if you’re having periodic dizziness, it’s important to get it checked out.