Vertigo & Dizziness

Article by Shane Armfield

Vertigo versus Dizziness


What is the difference between Vertigo and Dizziness?

Vertigo and dizziness, are symptoms rather than a disease. 

Vertigo refers to the sensation of spinning or whirling that occurs as a result of a disturbance in your balance (vestibular) system. Vertigo may be used to describe feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, faintness, and unsteadiness. 

The sensation of movement is called subjective vertigo and the perception of movement in surrounding objects is called objective vertigo

Vertigo usually occurs as a result of a disorder in the vestibular system (structures of the inner ear, the vestibular nerve, brainstem, and cerebellum). Your vestibular system is responsible for integrating sensory stimuli and movement and for keeping objects in visual focus as the body moves. 

When your head moves, signals are transmitted to the labyrinth, which is an apparatus in the inner ear that is made up of three semicircular canals surrounded by fluid. The labyrinth then transmits movement information to the vestibular nerve and the vestibular nerve carries the information to the brainstem and cerebellum (areas of the brain that control balance, posture, and motor coordination). 

One of the most common causes of dizziness is BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). 

Others common causes can include: inflammation in the inner ear, Meniere's disease, neck joint dysfunction, vestibular neuritis, vestibular migraine and acoustic neuroma. Rarely, vertigo can be a symptom of a more serious neurological problem such as a stroke or brain haemorrhage, which is why you should investigate what is causing your vertigo or dizziness. 

We urge you to seek the advice of your health professional.

For more information, please ask one of our vestibular physiotherapists.

Vestibular Physiotherapy

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FAQs about Vertigo & Dizziness

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    Vertigo & Dizziness Related Conditions 

  • BPPV - Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
  • Migraine
  • Muscle Strain (Muscle Pain)
  • Neck Headache
  • Spondylosis (Spine Arthritis)
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    Last updated 17-Jan-2017 05:48 PM

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