Vertigo is a feeling of spinning movement, and at times accompanied by nausea and vomiting occur. Vertigo is most often associated with an inner ear problem. The treatment for vertigo can be lifestyle changes and medication if necessary.
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Balance is defined as a state of equilibrium. It takes significant amount of
work for this to occur in the body. The brain uses inputs from many sources to
understand where the body is located in relationship to the world and to allow
it to function. Sensory information from the eyes, ears, and position receptors
in the rest of the body help keep the body upright and allow it to move in a
Information comes to cerebellar lobes located in the base of the brain from
the vestibular system in the inner ear, vision from the eyes, and proprioception
(position) receptors located throughout the body that send signals through the
spinal cord. The cerebellum uses that information to maintain posture,
coordinate body motions like walking and also coordinate fine motor skills like
using a pen to write.
Vertigo, a feeling of spinning movement and sometimes accompanied by nausea
and vomiting, occurs when any part of the system breaks down. However,
tend not to use that word to describe their symptoms but instead use the word
dizziness or lightheadedness. It is up to the health care practitioner to understand the
person's symptoms and define vertigo as the cause of the their situation.
Dizziness is a difficult word to understand and needs to be divided into two
categories, either lightheadedness or vertigo. Lightheadedness is the feeling
that a person might faint while vertigo is most often described as a spinning
sensation with loss of balance. The direction of care is markedly different
since lightheadedness may suggest to the health care practitioner to investigate
decreased oxygen or nutrient supply to the brain due a variety of causes
including heart rhythm disturbances or
dehydration, while vertigo sends the
health care practitioner looking for a neurologic or inner ear cause.
The most important initial step in helping a person with vertigo is to take
a history and understand that the person is complaining of spinning symptoms
that may be associated with nausea and vomiting
and loss of balance among other symptoms.