If you're reading this, chances are you or someone you know has been diagnosed with vertigo.
Vertigo can be a really frustrating and scary condition that can make you feel dizzy or like the room is spinning.
I have had many clients start their journey of dizziness and vertigo with a trip to the emergency room, with tests and tests, and hours and hours wasted with the final words being the dreaded.
"You have vertigo. Here is some meclizine"
I am here to tell you..
VERTIGO IS NOT A DIAGNOSIS.
(and meclizine is just a bandaid).
There is always an underlying reason for vertigo.
A diagnosis of vertigo would be like going to the orthopedist with a shoulder injury and the diagnosis being "Shoulder Pain".
You wouldn't take that as an acceptable answer, and the same should be applied to your dizziness and vertigo.
There are many different causes of vertigo. And please don't get me wrong here, vertigo can be really scary and can sometimes, although more rare, can be serious.
Check out my blog: how to know if my dizziness is serious?
Therefore, being an advocate to getting yourself to the right help is critical to ensure you get the right diagnosis and treatment plan fast.
So what can actually cause vertigo?
1. Poor Hydration
2. Poor Nutrition
3. Poor Sleep
5. Unmanaged Stress and Anxiety
6. Inner- Ear Disorders such as BPPV, Meniere's disease, or vestibular neuritis.
7. A blow to the head like with a concussion such as after a car accident or a fall
8. A bacterial or viral infection to the inner ear such as vestibular neuritis and labrynthitis which has been noted after COVID-19.
9. Migraines (with or without a headache)
10. Neurologic Disorders
So what do you do if you have a diagnosis of vertigo but you don't know the cause.
1. Remain calm!
Symptoms of dizziness and vertigo can stimulate your fight and flight response and can trigger anxiety. So first, don't panic. The fact that you are reading this is already a great sign that you are on the right track to getting help for resolving your symptoms.
2. Connect with a healthcare provider who understands dizziness and the vestibular system, such as a vestibular therapist.
It's important to note here that there is no standardization of clinicians who claim to treat dizziness disorders. That means that someone who has just graduated school and someone with years and hundreds of hours of coursework can claim to treat vestibular disorders. Which leads me to my next point.
3. Do your research
When you connect with a healthcare provider, do your research on them. Ask them questions like...
Where did you go to school?
What is your level of experience?
How often do you treat people like me?
What extra courses did you take to learn about conditions like mine?
On a scale of 0-10 how confident do you feel that you can help resolve my problem?
If you don't feel confident in their answers, that's okay! You two just may not be the best fit for each other and you may need to do a bit more research.
For a great list of vestibular clinicians, check out this directory by VeDA: https://vestibular.org/healthcare-directory/
If you are experiencing vertigo, it's important to see a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and get proper treatment. Since each individual is different, you will need a treatment option tailored specifically for you. Depending on the cause, treatment may include vestibular therapy, lifestyle changes, and/or supplements and medications.