Vertigo is a sensation that you are moving when you are not. It is often a symptom of an underlying problem with our balance system.
People with vertigo typically describe it as feeling like they are spinning. It may also be felt as a rocking, tilting, or swaying movement.
Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, jerking eye movements, headache, sweating, ringing ears or hearing loss. Anxiety and loss of balance very commonly occur as a result of the vertigo.
A wide range of conditions and diseases can cause vertigo, and according to neurologist Dr Michael Katekar from Newcastle Neurodiagnostics, it is important to determine which, in order to get the appropriate treatment.
“Anxiety disorders, brain disorders, underlying medical conditions like low blood pressure, infection, heart problems and low blood sugar can play a role,” he said. “It is important to see your doctor if you have unexplained dizziness or balance issues, and seek specialised help if necessary.”
Disorders of the inner ear account for about half of all cases of ongoing dizziness. Those disorders include Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV occurs when tiny calcium particles (otoliths) find their way into the semicircular canals of the inner ear.
“BPPV can occur at any age,” Dr Katekar said. “It’s rare in children and young adults but gets more common with age. It can follow a head injury, like coming off a bike or a car accident. Basically, it feels like you are moving when you not. You get an intense spinning sensation, provoked by head movement, especially looking up or bending forward.”
The condition can make people anxious, upset and limit their day-to-day activities, thereby impairing their quality of life. But depending on the cause of the vertigo, relief is available.
Newcastle Neurodiagnostics offers testing to facilitate diagnosis of a wide range of neurological conditions, with a particular interest and expertise in dizziness, and balance disorders. New investigation techniques, many developed in Australia in the last few years, allow very detailed evaluation of the functioning of the inner ear. Accurate diagnosis often leads to effective treatment.
“Our practice is unique in that we have a physiotherapist working on site as part of our team,” Dr Katekar said. “If you have got BPPV there are techniques and manoeuvres - particle repositionings - that can fix it up very quickly. We’re all about getting people fixed up in a timely fashion.
“If the problem is more serious we can recommend and administer appropriate treatments.”
If you would like more information, visit www.newcastleneurodiagnostics.com.au or call 02 49423 944.