Vertigo is a sensation of spinning, rotation or rocking when the individual is at still position. It is a kind of dizziness experienced in the absence of actual physical movement. It is generally caused due to underlying pathology in the inner ear and sometimes the brain or the nervous system. Vertigo is not a true medical condition; it is a symptom which may be associated with other conditions. Vertigo may be associated with other symptoms such as hearing deficiency, tinnitus, vomiting, nausea and fullness in ears.
Vertigo is mainly caused by one or both of the following causes:
- Imbalance of organs and equilibrium in the inner ear
- Disturbances in certain parts of the brain or in the sensory nerves.
How Long Does Vertigo Last?
The time period for which vertigo lasts depends on the type of vertigo and cause of vertigo. In case vertigo is caused while getting off a ship or a cruise (Mal de Debarquement), the symptoms last for about 24 hours.
In case of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, the symptoms resolve within a week. Symptoms caused by Labyrinthitis/vestibular neuritis (inflammation of the inner ear) may last for a few days.
Vertigo in Meniere's disease may last from 20 minutes to 24 hours. In some cases, there may be vertigo during early stages of tumors such as acoustic neuroma; in these cases, the symptoms improve as the tumor grows in size.
When vertigo is associated with stroke or due to damage in blood vessels of the brain, there may be permanent damage with permanent symptoms of vertigo. Symptoms caused due to head and neck injury secondary to concussion, whiplash or other physical injury may last for several years.
What Helps Vertigo Go Away?
- Physical Therapy to Help Vertigo Go Away: Vestibular rehabilitation, which is a form of physical therapy helps in management of vertigo. It promotes central nervous system compensation for inner ear issues and loss of balance.
- Head Maneuvres for Vertigo: There are certain exercises which involves head adjustments which lead to realignment of calcium crystals in the inner ear. These are known as Epley's maneuver or canaliths repositioning procedure (CRP). This may be done at the physician's office or at home as instructed by an experienced physician.
- Stress Reduction: Stress in association with inflammation increases the risk of developing vertigo. Natural stress reliever such as meditation, exercising, yoga, warm bath etc. helps in controlling stress and helps in management of vertigo.
- Healthy Diet and Adequate Hydration: Following a healthy diet with consumption of adequate amount of water helps not only in preventing vertigo but it can also help vertigo go away. Limiting alcohol and caffeine intake is also beneficial in view of the same.
- Adequate Rest: Adequate rest and sufficient sleep is recommended in individuals who have a tendency of developing vertigo.
- Physician Consultation: It is advised to visit an experienced physician on noting the earliest sign of vertigo for early treatment. It is also necessary to rule out other causes of dizziness and other medical conditions which may mimic vertigo.
While experiencing vertigo, the following tips may be beneficial:
- Avoid activities such as driving, handling machinery, exercising etc. to prevent accidents.
- Sit down or lie down immediately for getting rest.
- Advised to use good lighting while getting up at night for using the restroom.
Vertigo is not a serious condition in itself; however, one may suffer injuries if the symptoms start while performing any task which could be dangerous. Hence, one must consult a physician as soon as the symptoms of vertigo are noticed. This must also be done to evaluate if any other health condition is causing the vertigo symptoms and thus the treatment must be done accordingly.