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. They do differ subtly with dizziness a potential symptom of someone suffering vertigo.

People often use the word "dizziness" when they are talking about a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Vertigo (a feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not actually moving).
  • Unsteadiness (a sense of imbalance or staggering when standing or walking).
  • Lightheadedness or feeling as if you are about to faint (presyncope). This may mean there is a heart problem or low blood pressure.
  • Dizziness caused by breathing too rapidly (hyperventilation) or anxiety. 

What Causes Vertigo?

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). 

The good news is that most vertigo symptoms will be eased by vertigo exercises.

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

What Causes Dizziness?

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, cervicogenic dizziness, 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

What is Vestibular Physiotherapy?

Vertigo & Dizziness

Common Causes 


Due to the complex diagnostic skills required to accurately diagnose the cause of your vertigo or dizziness, we highly recommend seeking the professional opinion of a health practitioner with expertise in the assessment and managment of vestibular disorders.

Call PhysioWorks

Book Online

Book Online Now!

Ashgrove Bulimba Clayfield Loganholme Mansfield Rochedale Salisbury Sandgate

Share this page

Last updated 17-Jun-2017 12:19 PM

Receive Special Offers and the Latest Injury Information

Enter Details Below to Signup:

Receive Special Offers and the Latest Injury Information

Enter Details Below to Signup:

PhysioWorks does not endorse companies or products who choose to advertise on this website. Advertising revenue supports the free access to our educational content and its updates. Check out the links below for more specific health information from your trusted PhysioWorks team.

Share this page