While many people think of vertigo as a condition, it is always a symptom of something else, usually in the inner ear. Vertigo is a very common symptom for people experiencing inner ear infections, vestibular migraines and a few other conditions.

Vertigo is often described as dizziness, but you may also experience sickness, the sensation that the world is tilting or that you are being pulled in one direction. If you experience vertigo for more than a day or you are having regular bouts that are affecting your daily life, you should go and see your ENT to get help alleviating the symptoms and to find out what the cause could be.

Treating the symptoms

For many people experiencing vertigo and its related symptoms, the cause is a viral infection and the best course of action is to wait for the virus to go, just as you would with any other. This is because most viruses don’t last much longer than a few weeks, and once they are gone, the vertigo symptoms will also disappear. In the vast majority of cases, people who have vertigo will make a full recovery.

While you are waiting for the virus to burn itself out, you can take travel sickness pills to mitigate the vertigo symptoms. These work by suppressing information passed from the inner ear to the brain making you feel less sick and dizzy as a result. You may also wish to do some exercises to help relieve the symptoms and your ENT will be able to demonstrate them for you to do at home.

Treating the underlying condition

If your vertigo is caused by a migraine, your ENT will begin by suggesting ways to minimize the number of migraines you have and their severity. This treatment might include working out what your triggers are and avoiding them, exercises to relieve tension in your neck and preventative medication to reduce the number of attacks you have.

Your diet is also a factor and people with Meniere’s disease may be advised to reduce their salt intake as well as minimizing alcohol and caffeine. As blood flow to the inner ear is thought to be important, your ENT may also prescribe a medication to reduce the pressure in your inner ear.

Performing surgery on the inner ear

In extreme cases where the severity of vertigo symptoms means that the patient is unable to live an ordinary life, an ENT may recommend that surgery is the last option. As surgery to the inner ear often results in partial or total hearing loss in that ear, patients who choose this option have usually tried all other means of treatment first.

There are always new lines of research for vertigo treatment and as researchers begin to understand more about vertigo and the underlying causes, more sophisticated methods of treatment are constantly in development. Ask your ENT for more information to help you make a fully informed decision about how to treat your own set of vertigo symptoms.