Vertigo - Major causes & Management with Home Remedies
Vertigo - Overview
Vertigo refers to a sensation of feeling 'off balance' or spinning dizziness, commonly resulting from problems with the inner ear, the brain, or the sensory nerve pathway.
Vertigo is a symptom associated with a number of conditions. Severe or persistent Vertigo is related to mental health issues and can lead to depression/anxiety as it can affect a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day functions.
Vertigo can happen at any age, though it commonly occurs in people aged more than 65 years. Vertigo attacks are generally triggered by a change in the position of the head. Temporary attacks of Vertigo happen suddenly and last for a few seconds. However, in severe cases, Vertigo attacks last for a long period, with the feeling of dizziness remaining constant for several days.
People suffering from Vertigo typically describe the feeling as that of dizzy spells, spinning, swaying, or a sense of being unbalanced or pulled to one direction. Some of the symptoms accompanying Vertigo are vomiting, feeling sick or nauseated,headache, sweating, abnormal involuntary eye movements (nystagmus), ringing in the ears(tinnitus), or loss of hearing.
Vertigo - Ayurvedic Perspective
According to Ayurveda, Vertigo is a result of some underlying health condition, especially the disorder of the nervous system.
In Ayurveda, Vertigo is referred to as 'Brahma'. The spinning sensation linked to Vertigo is believed to be caused by vitiated Pitta and Vata doshas. The vitiated doshas combine with the attributes of rajas, because of which the balance mechanism that occurs due to the inner part of the ear attains equilibrium. This imbalanced mechanism -- called vestibular imbalance -- is considered the main cause of Vertigo attacks because the flow of oxygen to the ear is hampered.
Ayurvedic management of Vertigo focuses on remedies for efficiently balancing the Pitta and Vata doshas.
Vertigo - Major Causes
Vertigo is usually caused by a problem in the inner ear which is responsible for sending signals to the brain about head and body movements relative to gravity. More specifically, some of the major causes include:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): This is the most common cause of Vertigo because of which the affected individuals briefly feel that they are spinning or moving. The condition occurs because of the clumping up of small calcium particles (canaliths) in canals of the inner ear.
- Meniere's Disease: This is an inner ear disorder which causes a build-up of fluid and changing the pressure in the ear. Meniere's disease can lead to Vertigo attacks which are accompanied by ringing in the ears and hearing loss.
- Vestibular Neuritis or Labyrinthitis:This is also an inner ear condition, commonly linked to a viral infection. Due to the infection, there is an inflammation in the inner ear around the nerves which help the body to maintain
- Migraine:People who commonly suffer from severe headaches like migraine can also experience Vertigo attacks. Such attacks can last for a few minutes or for hours and are linked to light and noise sensitivity, besides a headache.
Along with the above-mentioned causes, Vertigo is also associated with a few other problems, such as head/neck injury, certain medications that lead to ear damage, drop in blood pressure, sleep deprivation, poor blood circulation, dehydration, anxiety disorders, and neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.
Vertigo - Management
Mild cases of Vertigo improve on their own over a period of time, without treatment. However, for severe cases, doctors mostly prescribe medications to treat the underlying condition that triggers Vertigo in the early stages. Most patients affected by Vertigo also benefit from Vestibular Rehabilitation Training (VRT), which comprises certain exercises to help treat dizziness and balance problems.
Vertigo can be managed with the help of some time-tested home remedies discussed below.
1. Epley Maneuver Technique
The Epley Maneuver technique is often advised by physical therapists for managing Vertigo at home. This technique involves a series of head-tilting exercises which Vertigo patients are required to do before they go to bed at night. The exercises involve head movements for repositioning loose calcium carbonate crystals inside the inner ear.
2. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is an excellent remedy for Vertigo as it can reduce the impact of the condition. To prepare Ginger tea, a piece of Ginger (rhizome)should be steeped in one cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Regular intake of two cups of ginger tea every day can provide relief from Vertigo symptoms.
3. Sufficient intake of water
Since dehydration is one of the causes of Vertigo, it is important for people affected by the problem to consume sufficient amounts of water and other liquids to stay hydrated and minimize balance issues. The optimum daily water intake to keep the body adequately hydrated is 8-10 glasses.
4. Essential Oils
Essential oils can also be useful in managing Vertigo symptoms like headache, nausea, and dizziness. These oils can either be inhaled or applied topically to relieve the condition. Some beneficial essential oils for treating Vertigo include peppermint, lavender, lemon, and ginger essential oils.
5. Stress Management
Stress management -- with the help of Yoga, meditation and deep-breathing techniques -- can reduce the occurrence of Vertigo attacks and improve balance. Stress management can control the causes of Vertigo, including Meniere’s disease, which are often triggered by nervous tension.
6. Adequate Amount of Sleep
Sleep deprivation or lack of sleep can be one of the causes of Vertigo attacks. A short nap during a Vertigo attack can help in managing the condition in a natural way because the feelings of dizziness and spinning get resolved themselves.
7. Cutting Back on Alcohol Consumption
Avoiding alcohol completely or cutting back on its consumption can be helpful in managing Vertigo symptoms. Alcohol can aggravate the feeling of dizziness, affect the balance of the body, and have a dehydrating effect on the body.
Use of herbs
The use of some well-known herbs can also be beneficial in managing Vertigo. These herbs include Brahmi (Bacopamonnieri), Vacha (Acoruscalamus), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), Amla (Emblica officianalis), and Licorice (Glycyrrhizaglabra).
Though the management of Vertigo is possible at home, continuous occurrence of Vertigo attacks require immediate medical attention because it can be an indication of a serious health problem. Hence, people suffering from severe Vertigo attacks should consult a doctor for proper and expert management of the condition in a timely manner.