Does your vertigo just seem to come out of no where??!
Maybe you are out with friends, maybe you are home working from your laptop, or driving as the passenger in the car and feeling like the room is spinning, your super light-headed and nauseous...
If you're someone who experiences symptoms like dizziness or vertigo you may be suffering from a vestibular migraine.
I know this may sound crazy, but stick with me.
Migraine is among the world’s most debilitating disorders.
It is estimated that over 28 million Americans suffer from migraines and over
50% go undiagnosed.
It is the most common, non-otologic (that is, non-inner ear) cause of vertigo.
These types of migraines can be confusing and overwhelming, but by understanding some basic information about the condition, you can start getting the right help to manage your symptom.
What are the symptoms of vestibular migraine?
Vestibular migraines are a type of migraine that can cause dizziness, vertigo, and other balance-related symptoms.
These types of migraines are caused by a disruption in the vestibular system, which is responsible for maintaining balance and spatial orientation.
Symptoms can include:
Vertigo (room-spinning sensation)
Dizziness and Light-headedness
Sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells
Head pain, headache, eye pain, or neck pain
It's important to note here that you can have a migraine WITHOUT having a headache!
What can trigger a vestibular migraine?
There are a number of things that can trigger vestibular migraines, including:
Lack of sleep or changes in sleep patterns
Certain foods or food additives, such as caffeine or MSG
Changes in weather or barometric pressure
I know my biggest triggers are food, specifically artificial sweetness and nuts., the weather, lack of sleep, and not being diligent with my own proper hydration....hey, I'm only human too! :)
Journaling and tracking your symptoms can be a great first step to figuring out your triggers and to getting the right kind of help.
How are vestibular migraines treated?
There are several treatment options that can help manage vestibular migraines, including:
1. Medications to prevent migraines or relieve symptoms
Each migraine, and ever individual with migraine, is so unique. So, what has worked for one person, may not be what you need.
This can be super frustrating as it can seem like it's taking forever to find the right medication and help to help stabilize your symptoms. But connecting with a good neurologist, functional medicine practitioner, or other healthcare provider to help navigate your medications and supplements can be vital to stabilize some of your symptoms.
So keep advocating for yourself, if you don't feel like you are making a good connection with one provider, it's okay to get a second opinion from another.
I know for myself, it took about 4 different vestibular migraine medications for me to start feeling better from my migraines. There were some medications that even made me feel more dizzy! Now, I am able to manage my migraines with supplements, diet, lifestyle, and exercise.
2. Lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and avoiding trigger foods
This is a hard one!
Taking small steps each day to help manage stress and focus on your wellness can have huge long term gains to rewiring your brain and helping calm down your symptoms.
For more on this, check out my blog: Is my dizziness making me anxious? or is my anxiety making me dizzy?
3. Vestibular rehabilitation
Vestibular therapy is type of physical therapy that focuses on improving balance and reducing dizziness and vertigo.
This is really all about working on your balance systems: eyes, inner ear (vestibular), and joint sense (proprioception) and improving how they are communicating to your brain.
When we have dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, and even pain, these signals can get abnormal input which leads to input. Vestibular therapy is a holistic approach that helps to rewire your brain and teach it about what is healthy and normal motion and activity.
4. Cognitive-behavioral therapy:
This type of therapy is performed by a mental health professional to help manage stress and improve coping strategies.
Dizziness and anxiety go hand and hand. This is actually really normal.
There is no one I treat for dizziness and vertigo that isn't also dealing with some level of anxiety. These symptoms are scary! And they are even harder to make sense of when you can't touch or feel them like you could if you hurt your shoulder or your knee.
Getting a little extra help to help strengthen the muscle of our mind is never a bad idea in helping manage your physical symptoms!
What should I do if I think I have vestibular migraines?
If you are experiencing symptoms of vestibular migraines, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider. They can help you determine if your symptoms are caused by migraines or another condition and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Want more information?
Check out my e-book on the topic:
The "Dizzy Migraine": what you didn't know could actually be causing your dizziness.