Dizzy & Can’t Walk? Signs You May Have Vertigo
Vertigo is caused by a few potential issues in your inner ear and is described as a sense that you or your environment is spinning. Vertigo may come on very suddenly and cause great concern as symptoms can be completely debilitating. Due to the dizziness provoked by the disorder, it may be difficult or even impossible to walk. Vertigo impacts your physical body but it is directly related to the brain and inner ear.
What Does Vertigo Feel Like?
Vertigo may last for a few minutes, a few hours, or even a few weeks. It may also come and go without warning. People describe vertigo as feeling like they are tilting, swaying, unbalanced, spinning or being pulled off to one direction by some un-seeable force.
Symptoms of vertigo include:
- Feeling dizzy
- Inability to walk
- Decreased consciousness
- Abnormal eye movements
- Difficulty speaking
- Ringing in the ears
- Hearing loss
What Causes Vertigo?
Vertigo is generally caused by one of a few different inner ear infections, including:
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): This occurs when tiny calcium particles build up in the inner ear canals. Since the inner ear is responsible for sending the brain messages about head and body movements, these calcium deposits interfere with your balance and center of gravity.
Meniere’s Disease: When fluids regularly build up in the inner ear and change pressure. Ringing in the ear, hearing loss and vertigo are all possible signs of Meniere’s disease.
Vestibular Neuritis (labyrinthitis): This rare inner ear issue usually relates to a viral infection that creates inflammation of the inner ear. This inflammation impacts the nerves that help your body balance.
Vertigo is not always caused by an inner ear infection. Other causes of vertigo include:
- Stroke or tumor
- Certain medications
- Injury to the neck or head
- Migraine headaches
- Multiple sclerosis
Vertigo is diagnosed through physical examination, reviewing your medical history, and undergoing a CT scan, blood test, MRI, or electrocardiogram. Multiple tests are often conducted to ensure vertigo is not caused by something more serious than an inner ear infection, say for instance a stroke or heart attack.
Treatment For Vertigo
If you are experiencing symptoms associated with vertigo you should go to the doctor as soon as possible to ensure that’s what you are dealing with. Symptoms of vertigo may actually indicate far more serious conditions that require emergency treatment.
The actual treatment will depend on what is causing your vertigo. In most cases, vertigo is treated with anti-dizzy medication and plenty of rest. Vertigo should correct itself in a few days or weeks as the body works to adapt and find new ways to maintain balance regardless of changes in your inner ear.
In more serious cases you may require further treatment, such as:
Vestibular Rehabilitation: If you have reoccurring vertigo you may require this form of physical therapy. Therapy sessions are focused on strengthening the vestibular system, which is responsible for sending signals to the brain in regards to body movements.
Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers: According to the American Academy of Neurology, there are certain head and body movements you can practice to reduce vertigo. These movements are specially designed to help redistribute a build up of calcium in your inner ear, allowing them to be properly absorbed by the body. During the process you may have more symptoms, but they should reduce with time. As the saying goes, sometimes it has to get worse in order to get better.
Medicine: There are different medications that may be prescribed to help relieve symptoms of vertigo. There are medications available to treat severe dizziness and nausea associated with vertigo. If your vertigo is caused by an ear infection, an antibiotic or steroid will likely be prescribed to treat the infection. If your vertigo relates to Meniere’s disease, some form of water pill may be recommended to help decrease the pressure of fluids in your ears.
Surgery: If vertigo is related to serious issues such as a head or neck injury you may require surgery.
How To Treat Vertigo At Home
In order to help prevent vertigo you should remain properly hydrated and avoid sudden movements of the head.
If you develop vertigo self-treatment is vital to staying safe and recovering quickly. Important self-treatment tips include:
- Get plenty of rest and lie down with your head slightly elevated. Get up as little as possible and get help when you do to prevent the chance of falling.
- Stay hydrated by drinking more than enough fluids.
- Do not drive or operate machinery when experiencing vertigo or else risk loss of balance and serious injury to yourself or others.