Exploring 18 Possible Causes of Dizziness

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Dizziness is an unpleasant sensation that can be challenging to overcome.

When experiencing the first bout of vertigo, numerous questions may flood your mind, and anxiety can take hold.

In this article, we’ll explore these pressing questions and provide guidance on how to navigate life after a vertigo episode

Determining the causes of dizziness involves a comprehensive assessment, considering factors such as inner ear disorders, medication side effects, and neurological conditions. Accurate diagnosis through medical evaluations is key to effective treatment and symptom management.

Understanding the causes of vertigo

The main causes of vertigo are essentially related to:

– inner ear disorders
– vision problems
– motion sickness
– certain medications
– use of drugs or alcohol

The role of the inner ear in balance

The labyrinth, a complex structure in the inner ear, plays a crucial role in maintaining balance.

It comprises three semicircular canals, which detect motion, and the vestibule housing the utricle and saccule, responsible for registering movements and ensuring equilibrium.

Unraveling rotary vertigo

Rotary vertigo is a brief and disorienting balance disorder, lasting less than 60 seconds.

It leads to a sensation of spinning triggered by head movements, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

This is a hallmark symptom of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

rotatory-vertigo definition

The connection between anxiety and dizziness

Anxiety and balance issues frequently go hand in hand.

Studies suggest that anxiety disorders are not directly related to vestibular problems but instead stem from difficulty in managing sensory conflicts.

This can manifest as spinning sensations, loss of balance, impending faintness, or visual disturbances, particularly in individuals with agoraphobia (phobia of crowds or large spaces) or acrophobia (fear of heights).

Addressing cervical spine-induced dizziness

The cervical spine is the vertebrae that connect the skull and the dorsal vertebrae.

It is traversed by the vertebral arteries on each side which go up towards the posterior part of the neck.

Certain positions can cause compression of this artery and trigger balance disorders.

Pinched nerves and dizziness

Arnold’s nerve, originating from the first two cervical vertebrae, ensures neck mobility and scalp sensitivity.

When compressed, known as occipital neuralgia, it can cause severe headaches, neck pain, tingling, burning, numbness, and even dizziness.

arnold's neuralgia causes

The liver’s role in dizziness

While dizziness is often associated with a feeling of “hangover” following a rich meal, it’s usually not the liver’s fault.

Indigestion affecting the gallbladder, which contracts suddenly to aid fat digestion, is more likely the culprit.

However, a sluggish or congested liver can contribute to dizziness.

Vision problems and their link to dizziness

It may actually be a vestibular migraine.

It results in eye pain that causes violent headaches with sensitivity to light.

A feeling of vertigo is felt, changing between the perception of the person’s own movements that do not exist or of their environment that seems to be spinning.

Why does closing your eyes trigger vertigo?

The vestibular syndrome causes the dizziness that tends to get worse when you close your eyes.

It shows the involvement of the vestibular system.

There are two specific vestibular syndromes:

– the peripheral vestibular syndrome is found in benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis, etc

– the central vestibular syndrome is linked to a dysfunction of the central nervous system which causes a loss of balance

Glasses and dizziness

Wearing glasses with progressive lenses can actually cause dizziness.

Adjustment time is necessary due to the particular curvature of the lenses.

The only way not to perceive this sensation of pitching is to look in front of you in the precise centering of the glass and to have a perfectly adjusted frame.

Neurological factors behind dizziness

It has been proven that a third of vertigo is of neurological origin.

They are usually related to head trauma, migraine, damage to the brain or cerebellum, tumor, or multiple sclerosis.

They are also different from inner ear vertigo and manifest more as a balance disorder than rotational vertigo.

Identifying inner ear imbalance

An imbalance of the inner ear results in rotary dizziness, a feeling of pitching, or light inebriation.

It can also be more sneaky and present as a heavy-headed feeling accompanied by constant nausea.

It is confirmed by an ENT examination.

The specialist performs visual tests, a subjective visual vertical (VVS) test to assess the sense of verticality, and caloric tests to put to the test the canal apparatus which plays the role of a motion sensor.

Diseases associated with dizziness

Dizziness can have multiple causes.

However, the three major ones are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière’s disease, and vestibular neuritis.

They are then peripheral vertigo that can be found in chronic otitis, trauma to the inner ear, inflammation of a nerve, or a blood supply problem.

When they are of central origin, they are often closer to a gait disorder and postural instability.

They are manifested by the presence of a tumor or a disorder of the vascularization of the areas of the brain in charge of the movement.


Understanding vestibular neuritis

Vestibular neuritis is an inflammation of the nerve of the inner ear which suddenly results in intense dizziness accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

The episode can last three to ten days and does not require treatment.

It is however relieved by the prescription of anti-vertigo medication and the implementation of vestibular rehabilitation.

vestibular neuronitis

Tanganil and its role in treating vertigo

Widely prescribed to treat Ménière’s disease, Tanganil is indicated to counter vertigo attacks but is not effective for balance disorders.

This anti-dizziness reserved for adults does not require a medical prescription.

Note that its effectiveness is uncertain, some patients do not obtain a favorable response to the substance of which it is composed, the acetylleucine.

Vestibular rehabilitation: Restoring balance

Vestibular rehabilitation is the intervention of a physiotherapist to restore balance and eliminate vertigo.

He performs liberatory maneuvers, particularly when benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is diagnosed, performs a vestibular examination using videonystagmoscopy and /or the head shaking test which consists of performing rapid horizontal and vertical movements of the head to determine peripheral vestibular dysfunction.

The goal is to get the central nervous system to develop new abilities to restore balance despite damage to the vestibular system.

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Is vertigo dangerous?

As a rule, dizziness does not pose a great danger to health, it is even mild.

The complications it can cause are more related to the risk of falling.

On the other hand, sudden dizziness with violent headaches, nausea and vomiting, high fever, difficulty in coordination, and speaking difficulties are an emergency and require prompt medical attention.

Download our Vertigo Management Journal – 15 days to assess your symptoms

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"The content of this article is not intended to replace medical advice or any treatment."

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