Vertigo is primarily concerned with our balance and equilibrium. It may seem quite simple but actually a considerable amount of work is required to attain an optimum state of balance and equilibrium in the body.
Firstly, the brain receives various inputs from the surroundings through sensory organs like ears, nose, eyes, skin etc and via the nervous system which involves signals to and fro the spinal cord, hence allowing the body move in an upright position and also performing other movements in a coordinated manner.
Vertigo – What is it?
Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness or spinning movement to be more specific. It differs from light-headedness and is accompanied by nausea, vomiting and blood pressure abnormalities.
What are the causes of vertigo?
There are several factors that may cause vertigo.Some of these are explained below:
Certain positions: It is a treatable form and occurs with moving the head in a particular direction or sudden head motion.
Inflammation of the inner ear: Viral or bacterial infection within the inner ear can cause sudden vertigo accompanied by hearing losses.
Meniere’s disease: This disease comes with constant ringing in the ears, frequent dizziness episodes and hearing loss.
Nerve tumor: Any abnormal cell growth in the nerve tissue can lead to one sided ringing of the ear and hearing impairment.
Decreased blood flow to the brain: With post head injuries, brain hemorrhage or internal bleeding can cause serious vertigo and walking disability.
Migraine: Severe headaches may often lead to vertigo but may not last for a long time.
True vertigo symptoms include disorientation, confusion in body movements, abnormal eye movements, sweating and nausea. There can also be visual or speech disturbances and all symptoms can be constant or episodic.
Medical treatment of vertigo
There are varying medical treatments for specific types of vertigo. These include oral medications, antibiotics for infection, low sodium diet, drugs to increase urinary output etc.
Rehabilitation of vertigo patient
There are specific maneuvers performed practically by a qualified therapist only. One of this includes making the patient sit on an edge of the bed and repeatedly making him lie down and sit again until the feeling of dizziness disappears. Another is a complicated manipulation which involves placement of head into lot of positions to clear the debris which caused infection.
Tips for self care
- Change positions slowly. Always sit first, take a deep breath, allow your circulation to adjust and then come out of the bed.
- Never walk in dark areas and remove all minor obstacles from home.
- Never look down while walking instead, focus on distant objects.
- Sit in the front seat of the car and look at fixed points out of the window.
- While riding in a car and going around the curves, look at the objects which are beyond the curves.
- Use eye glasses or hearing aid if needed.
- Use external aids like stick or walker.
- Avoid backward tilting of head for long time like dusting or cleaning overhead.
- Do not indulge in activities that require up and down movements of head.
People who are more prone to vertigo and have had previous vertigo episodes must be very careful while driving, climbing stairs, going for trekking, water sports and while operating machinery.