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Vertigo Treatment, Types, and Causes

Medically reviewed by Diana Rose G. Tolentino, MD, MBA · Ear Nose and Throat · HMICare Clinic & Diagnostic Center

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated May 26, 2021

Vertigo Treatment, Types, and Causes

Know the Basics

Vertigo is a condition that is scary to many people, and that’s because it’s such a foreign concept. With vertigo your perception of the world is affected, and this could adversely affect your life. In this article, we’ll be discussing vertigo treatment and causes as well as everything you need to know about this condition.

Definition of Vertigo

Vertigo is the sensation of losing balance or having dizzy spells. When someone has vertigo, it is likely that they could be in situations wherein they feel as though they are spinning. Other times, it may seem like the world surrounding them is spinning.

These episodes are often spontaneous. Neither are they prompted by any prior motion or caused by underlying disorders that could devolve into more serious conditions later on.

What Are the Types of Vertigo?

There are two types of vertigo: peripheral vertigo and central vertigo. These types are delineated by the location of the irregularity that is causing this sensation of being off-balance.

Peripheral vertigo is indicative of problems in certain parts of the inner ear like the semicircular canals or the vestibular labyrinth. It could also involve the nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain stem, which is called the vestibular nerve.

Central vertigo, on the other hand, is indicative of problems in the brain. More often than not, this involves irregularities in the brain stem or the cerebellum, found on the back part of the brain, or even both of these parts.

What Causes Vertigo?

Most cases of vertigo have no identifiable causes. In a large survey, no causes were identified in 48% of the cases. However, the most common cause was closed head injury followed by vestibular neuritis. Other cited predisposing events include infections and surgery. Meanwhile, prolonged bed rest and Meniere disease were predisposing factors.

For peripheral vertigo, one of the most common forms being benign positional vertigo (BPPV), the causes could include the following:

  • Head injuries are one of the most common causes. This is because injuries cause damage to the inner ear.
  • Meniere’s disease could also cause fluid buildup that would affect the inner ear and cause vertigo.
  • Labyrinthitis, or the swelling of this inner ear, could cause vertigo in the same way.
  • Medication that is toxic to structures in the inner ear could also cause vertigo. These include aminoglycoside antibiotics, cisplatin, diuretics, and salicylates.
  • The inflammation of the vestibular nerve, known as neuronitis, could also be a reason for vertigo along with anything that could cause pressure on it like a benign tumor such as meningioma or schwannoma. 
  • Other Causes

    Substances that affect the viscosity of the blood are common causes of central vertigo. These include:

    • Medicine like anticonvulsants, aspirin, and alcohol.
    • Diseases that affect blood vessels could cause central vertigo in the same way.
    • Diseases that affect the brain stem or are also caused by a damaged brain stem or cerebellum could be linked to central vertigo. These include multiple sclerosis, seizures, strokes, tumors, and vestibular migraines.


    The symptoms of vertigo are straightforward since the sensation is hard to miss. A bout of vertigo can cause nausea and vomiting. These can also come with other commons symptoms like difficulty focusing the eyes, hearing, or keeping balance. Hearing loss, hearing impairment, and tinnitus could also come with vertigo.

    For symptoms particular to central vertigo, one could experience double vision or difficulty swallowing and moving eyes or the face as well as slurred speech and weakened limbs.

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    Risk Factors

    Certain people are more at risk for vertigo than most. In particular, this affects women above the age of 50 who:

    • have suffered head injuries,
    • are undergoing high levels of stress
    • are on drugs like antidepressants or antipsychotics or alcohol,
    • have medical conditions that affect their ears like inner ear infections.

    Having a history of vertigo or a family member who has suffered from vertigo is also a risk factor.


    There is no way to prevent vertigo besides simple precautions. These include:

    1. Prevent trauma in the head and ear area.
    2. Avoid ear infections.
    3. Keep salt intake at a low level.

    Vertigo Treatment

    Vertigo treatment plans vary greatly from case to case. This is because there are so many different things that could possibly cause vertigo. More often than not, vertigo can go away without treatment. However, there are still methods to correct it for good or even manage the condition.

    Vestibular Rehabilitation

    Vestibular rehabilitation is one of the possible methods of treatment, and it involves physical therapy. As the name suggests, this procedure aims to strengthen and rehabilitate the vestibular system. The vestibular system is the system responsible for sending signals to the brain with regards to movement of the head or body relative to gravity. Healthcare professionals often recommend this method for people who suffer recurring vertigo. It can help to train your other senses and your brain to compensate for the effects of vertigo.

    Canalith Repositioning Maneuver

    Another method of treatment is the Canalith repositioning maneuver. This is a tailored series of particular movements of the head and body that help deal with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, better known as BPPV. This movement aims to move calcium deposits towards the inner ear chamber and away from the ear canal. During this treatment, vertigo symptoms may be present, but overall, it is a safe and effective method.


    Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help manage vertigo. Medicine for nausea or motion sickness symptoms work to deter certain spells of vertigo in the same way that infection or inflammation is addressed by antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, or steroids.

    Diuretics or Water Pills

    If vertigo is caused by Meniere’s disease, diuretics or water pills can help reduce pressure from fluid buildup. But make sure that this is in tune with your treatment plan for Meniere’s under strict professional monitoring.


    In some rare cases, underlying problems such as tumors or brain injuries could require surgery that would help vertigo disappear completely or become more manageable.

    Key Takeaways

    There is much to learn about vertigo treatment, symptoms and prevention. Always consult your doctor if you experience vertigo symptoms. There is a possibility that vertigo treatment could be a sign of more serious diseases like stroke. We hope this article helped you along in learning more about vertigo.

    Learn more about Ear Conditions here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Diana Rose G. Tolentino, MD, MBA

    Ear Nose and Throat · HMICare Clinic & Diagnostic Center

    Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated May 26, 2021

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