Anytime I have a patient who complains of dizzy spells, my first step as a physician is to get more information. You see, many people put all types of dizzy sensations into one category! Determining the specific kind you are experiencing is critical to developing a natural course of treatment.
Vertigo Versus Lightheadedness
Lightheadedness has many causes, such as dehydration, hunger or illness. It is usually a temporary condition brought on by a specific event, like skipping breakfast. Many people will feel dizzy in such instances, but the feeling is often improved when you lie down. Vertigo, on the other hand, is the sensation that you or your surroundings are moving when that is not actually the case.
The source of this sensation is a conflict between signals sent to the brain by your body’s four balance-sensing systems—the sensory nerves in your joints, vision, the skin (which determines position by detecting pressure), and the inner ear. Though it is common to feel like you are spinning, you may also feel like you are falling or tilting. It may be difficult to walk or stand and you could lose your balance. Severe vertigo may cause nausea and vomiting.
Vertigo’s Underlying Causes
After I evaluate a patient’s symptoms, I begin to pinpoint the underlying cause of their vertigo. There are a wide variety of conditions with the potential to cause vertigo symptoms. Among them are head injury, inner ear disorders, decreased blood flow to the brain, migraine headaches, anemia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, spinal disorders, vision problems, drug overdose, and alcohol or drug interactions.
Vertigo may be a symptom of any of these underlying disorders. Therefore, treating an existing condition may take care of vertigo. If you currently experience vertigo regularly, see your doctor to explore some of the many natural treatment options available. There are plenty of things you can do right now to ease your symptoms and make them more manageable.
An Array of Natural Options
Several vitamins and herbs have exhibited promise in easing vertigo. One study showed that taking 160mg of Ginkgo Biloba every day can significantly reduce symptoms. Plus, nearly half of the study participants were symptom free after taking gingko for three months.
Vinpocetine, a derivative of the leaves of a plant related to periwinkle, may reduce the effects of vertigo. Try taking 15mg per day. Other natural remedies I’ve uncovered in my research are Vitamin B6 and ginger. Both are used to treat many common illnesses.
If your chronic vertigo is due to migraines, acupuncture may help. Many patients have had success reducing the recurrence of migraines with this treatment. Hypnosis is another proven alternative cure, especially for those whose vertigo is the result of head trauma. Sometimes, a spine disorder is responsible for chronic vertigo. In this case, chiropractic, deep tissue massage and physical therapy are all possible avenues to explore.
I have one final, yet important, tip for dealing with vertigo. Your first instinct may be to lie down, but this position will not relieve that irritating feeling of constant motion. Instead, prop yourself up slightly using pillows and take it slow. Moving too fast may cause falls. With vertigo, there is usually an underlying source of your dizziness, so work with your doctor to treat it. In the meantime, use the natural remedies above to avoid getting sidelined by this condition.