Overview

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is defined as an abnormal sensation of motion. It can occur in the absence of motion or when motion is detected incorrectly. It is dizziness that makes your feel off balance, and creates a false sense that you or your surroundings are spinning. There are a number of different types of vertigo, each with varying symptoms explained below.

Types of Vertigo

Peripheral Vertigo

Peripheral vertigo is the most common type of vertigo. It is due to a dysfunction of the inner ear that is responsible for providing information to the brain. This dysfunction results in the information being transmitted and processed by the brain being inconsistent with other forms of information input from the body resulting in an abnormal sense of where you are in space. The most common cause of peripheral vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which refers to the sudden onset of symptoms triggered by certain postures or movements of your head.

Central Vertigo

Central vertigo is less common compared to peripheral vertigo and is due to a dysfunction of the central nervous system. As mentioned previously, peripheral vertigo is due to a dysfunction in the sensory system that provides information to the brain. Therefore in central vertigo, the dysfunction lies in the inability of the brain to actually process correct sensory information coming in. Causes of central vertigo can include head injuries, strokes, migraines and tumours.

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Vertigo Symptoms

The symptoms of vertigo can be wide ranging and vary from person to person.

The most common symptom of vertigo is the sensation that the world is spinning around you or that you are spinning. Listed below are other common symptoms and associated symptoms of vertigo.

  • Spinning
  • Tilting
  • Swaying
  • Unbalanced
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Nystagmus
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in the ears or auditory changes

Vertigo Causes

As mentioned above vertigo can be broken into two main causes, that being central and peripheral. The causes of these are outlined below:

Central

  • Head injuries
  • Illness or infection
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Migraines
  • Brain tumors
  • Strokes
  • Transient ischemic attacks

Peripheral

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Vestibular neuronitis
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Perilymph fistula
  • Superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome (SSCDS)

How To Tell If You Have BPPV

BPPV can be diagnosed with an accurate history and physical examination from a Doctor or Physiotherapist. The most important part of the diagnostic process is the subjective exam whereby your Physiotherapist will ask you questions to determine if the cause is most likely central or peripheral. If it is more likely a central cause, your Physiotherapist will look to refer you onto a Doctor or to the hospital. For a peripheral cause, there are a few physical examination techniques that can rule in or out BPPV along with a detailed history.

Vertigo Treatment

Physio For Vertigo

Physiotherapists are well equipped to treat BPPV as the most common cause of peripheral vertigo. They are able to perform a physical maneuver known as the Epley to help reset some on the sensory organs in the inner ear. This allows for more accurate information to be transmitted to the brain.

Vertigo In Pregnancy

Dizziness during pregnancy is a common symptom that can occur throughout all three trimesters. The causes for this type of dizziness and vertigo varies from changes in hormones and blood pressure to pressure on the uterus and anaemia. Speak to your doctor or Women’s Health Physiotherapist if you are experiencing symptoms.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Depending on the cause of the vertigo it can last from seconds to days.

In some cases strong stress responses and an increase in adrenaline can cause vertigo.

It can vary from person to person, however the most common symptoms can be described as spinning, dizziness, tilting, feeling unsteady.

Not directly. However high blood pressure can result in an increased risk of stroke that can cause vertigo.

There have been some known cases of familial vertigo that do have a genetic link. These cases are usually in people with recurrent episodes.

Tinnitus is a perception of ringing in the ear. Vertigo is an abnormal sensation of motion.

Your risk for BPPV returning can shift from low risk (few experiences in your lifetime) to a higher risk which is often caused by some other factor such as trauma (physical injury), other inner ear or medical conditions, or aging.

Our locations

Hawthorne

PEAK Hawthorne opened in 2012 and was extended and renovated in 2020. You see the same team whether we see you at Hawthorne or one of our other clinics.  Hawthorne offers private treatment rooms and a spacious exercise area incorporating the latest equipment and technology, unrestricted single level access and off-street parking. We also provide HICAPS for real-time private health claiming.

Our locations

New Farm

PEAK New Farm opened in August 2019. You see the same team whether we see you at New Farm or one of our other clinics. New Farm offers private treatment rooms and a spacious exercise area incorporating the latest equipment and technology, unrestricted single level access and off-street parking. We also provide HICAPS for real-time private health claiming.

Hawthorne

Address
5/171 Riding Road,
Hawthorne, QLD, 4171
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Opening Hours -
6 days per week
  • Monday - Friday: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Saturday: 7:00 am - 1:00 pm

To make a booking outside of business hours, please use our form by clicking here.

New Farm

Address
1/15 Lamington Street,
New Farm, QLD, 4005
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Opening Hours -
6 days per week
  • Monday - Thursday: 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Friday - Saturday: 7:00 am - 1:00 pm

To make a booking outside of business hours, please use our form by clicking here.