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Two Types of Vertigo and How They're Treated

Two Types of Vertigo and How They're Treated

Vertigo affects millions of people across the globe, and if not treated, it can become a debilitating condition. It is characterized by a spinning sensation or a false sense of movement, often accompanied by dizziness, nausea, and imbalance. 

If you've experienced vertigo, you know how disruptive it can be to your daily life. Seeking an expert diagnosis is crucial to getting the best treatment and regaining control over your well-being. 

At Jacksonville ENT Surgery in Lake City and Jacksonville, Florida, our board-certified ENT providers, Charles Greene, MD, PhD, and Tara Condrey, PA-C, understand the different types of vertigo and how to treat them. Keep reading as we explore the two primary types of vertigo and the therapies that exist to help restore your quality of life.

Overview of vertigo

Vertigo isn’t actually a disease itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition. It develops when there’s a problem in your vestibular system, the system responsible for maintaining balance and spatial orientation. 

Common symptoms of vertigo include a spinning sensation, dizziness, unsteadiness, loss of balance, nausea, and vomiting. You may also feel like you’re tilting, floating, or have ringing in the ears. 

Symptoms can differ depending on the type of vertigo you have and may range from mild to severe. If you experience these symptoms, it's crucial to consult with a medical professional to determine the root cause of your vertigo and receive appropriate treatment. 

Peripheral vertigo and how it’s treated

Peripheral vertigo, the most common type of vertigo, develops because of a problem in your inner ear. The most common issue usually involves the vestibular labyrinth or vestibular nerve, which helps regulate movement, balance, and your sense of space.

Peripheral vertigo is often caused by conditions such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière's disease, or vestibular neuritis. Other underlying conditions that can lead to peripheral vertigo include neuritis (inflamed nerves), trauma, or recurrent ear infections.

Treatment for peripheral vertigo aims to ease your symptoms and restore normal vestibular function. Your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider creates a personalized vertigo treatment plan, which may include:

Canalith repositioning maneuvers

Canalith repositioning maneuvers, such as the Epley maneuver, are commonly used to treat BPPV. These maneuvers involve specific head and body movements to reposition displaced calcium crystals within the inner ear, alleviating vertigo symptoms.

Medications

Depending on the underlying cause of your peripheral vertigo, your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider may prescribe medications to manage your symptoms. These can include vestibular suppressants to alleviate dizziness, antiemetics to control nausea and vomiting, and diuretics for conditions like Ménière’s disease.

Balance or VRT therapy 

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is a special type of physical therapy. This treatment focuses on improving balance and minimizing the symptoms associated with your peripheral vertigo. 

This treatment involves exercises and maneuvers designed to retrain the brain and central nervous system to compensate for the vestibular dysfunction. VRT is tailored to your specific needs and may involve exercises to improve gaze stability, balance training, and habituation exercises.

Injections or surgeries

In some cases, when other treatment methods have not provided relief, injections of medication into the inner ear or surgical interventions may be considered. These options are typically reserved for severe cases or when conservative measures have been ineffective.

Central vertigo and how it’s treated

Central vertigo develops when there’s a problem in the central nervous system, particularly the brainstem or cerebellum. Centra vertigo is less common and is often associated with more serious underlying conditions, such as migraines, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, or strokes.

The symptoms associated with central vertigo tend to last longer and may include problems like speech issues, tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. Treatment for central vertigo primarily focuses on addressing the underlying cause. 

Depending on your unique situation, your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider may collaborate with other specialists to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Some common approaches include: 

Medications

Depending on the specific cause of your central vertigo, your provider may prescribe medications to manage symptoms and address the underlying condition. These can include antivertigo drugs, migraine medications, or medications to manage the triggering condition.

VRT therapy

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is also often helpful in treating central vertigo. Your VRT is customized to improve your balance, reduce dizziness, and enhance your brain's ability to adapt to abnormal signals from the vestibular system.

Lifestyle modifications

Lifestyle changes, such as stress management techniques, dietary changes, and adequate rest, can help manage central vertigo symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

If you’re struggling with vertigo, get the help you need by scheduling an appointment online or by calling Jacksonville ENT Surgery in Lake City and Jacksonville, Florida.

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