What is vertigo?

What is vertigo?

For a child, spinning on a merry-go-round is exhilarating. For an adult, when that sensation occurs for no apparent reason, it can be downright alarming.

The feeling of whirling while stationary is called vertigo, and most often is caused by a disturbance in the inner ear.

“When a person has vertigo, he or she feels as if the room around them is moving or their body is moving when that’s actually not the case,” says Dr. Arkadiush Byskosh, an otolaryngologist (ear nose and throat doctor) at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “As a result of this feeling, a person may become unsteady, lose their balance and may fall. It can be quite disorienting.”

The most common type of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which isn’t serious but can be bothersome. It happens when the crystals in the ear become dislodged. When these crystals of calcium carbonate, also known as canaliths, become loose, it affects a person’s sense of balance and results in dizziness.

How do you treat vertigo?

The best treatment is to move the crystals to some place in the ear where they can’t cause trouble. The procedure can be performed in a doctor’s office. It’s called canalith repositioning, or the Epley maneuver, which involves turning and tilting the head.

“It makes the crystals go to another part of the ear so the dizziness goes away,” Dr. Byskosh says. “It doesn’t take very long, and it’s usually quite effective.”

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  1. What does it mean if you vomit with vertigo? What should you do?

  2. I’ve had this and used the (Dr.) Foster maneuver on myself. Works great.

  3. Matthew W Seniff August 11, 2020 at 7:46 pm · Reply

    I’ve had positional vertigo a couple of times that needed to be manipulated. The last time I was able to move myself to clear the crystals.
    I’ve also had the organ of balance vertigo. My ear on one side is down to 20%. This only cured by doing the balance lab training. It works very well.

  4. Vertigo and dizziness caused me broken bones and head injuries. I tried everything but nothing worked. Then I gained perfect balance in 15 minutes with these simple head exercises: http://www.healthwise101.com/vertigo-dizziness

  5. Gary J Vandervest August 16, 2021 at 12:53 pm · Reply

    I had vertigo so bad I had to crawl on my stomach the first day, crawl on my hands and knees the next day and on the third day I was able to walk with a cane. It lasted five days.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.