The sensation of vertigo has been described as disorientation or an illusion of movement. In addition, brain impairment due to certain diseases or injuries can cause vertigo, sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
A common cause of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), caused by debris in the inner ear that causes the head to roll in a circular motion. Vertigo can become more intense when people move their eyes or turn their heads, but it subsides again. Some people who experience BPPV will experience a second bout at some point.
Vertigo can also be caused by several neurological disorders, including stroke, brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, vertigo may be accompanied by other symptoms such as hearing loss, ear ringing, and loss of balance. Vertigo can also be caused by an imbalance between the fluid pressure and size of inner ear structures that control equilibrium or by problems with the nerves that send information from the brain to these structures.
That said, let us look at more causes of vertigo.
Migraines are a neurological disorder characterized by severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. A person with a migraine experiences an intense surge of activity in the brain’s neurons that process pain, touch, and other sensations. Though it can be difficult to diagnose, it is believed that genetic, environmental, and biochemical factors cause migraine attacks.
Migraines can also cause vertigo or dizziness. Some patients may feel like they are spinning or rocking back and forth, while others may feel like they are moving up or down. Brain cells that process balance play a role in vertigo: when cells become over-active during an attack of migraine, patients may feel ill. It is possible to experience vertigo without a headache or other symptoms associated with migraine; this phenomenon is “vestibular migraine.”
Vertigo caused by migraines tends to be temporary—it usually resolves quickly once the migraine attack has subsided. However, if you experience regular or frequent migraines, you may want to see your physician for a diagnosis and treatment plan.