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What is vertigo treatment?

If you have vertigo, you may experience dizziness and moderate to severe false spinning sensations that can cause loss of balance, disorientation (which may cause falls), vomiting, sweating and severe nausea. It’s important to identify the cause of your vertigo symptoms to be certain it’s not a symptom of a more serious underlying disorder in the ear or nervous system, as well as to determine the best course of treatment.

Types of treatment

After evaluation to determine the cause of your vertigo, your doctor will recommend an individualized treatment plan, which may include:

  • Medications, including muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety drugs
  • Balance retraining, utilizing both static and dynamic balance exercises
  • Sensory organization training
  • Gaze stabilization exercises
  • Habituation exercises
  • Compensatory strategies (behavioral strategies to achieve rehabilitation goals)
  • Aerobic conditioning
  • Canalith repositioning treatment (CRT), also known as the Epley maneuver (used to treat the most common type of vertigo, called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which is caused by calcium carbonate crystals (ear rocks) falling or being dislodged in the inner ear)

What to expect

What to expect will depend on which type of treatment your doctor recommends. For instance, Canalith repositioning treatment involves a series of maneuvers performed in order to cause the calcium crystals to be repositioned back into their normal location. This is a safe and effective treatment and does not carry significant risk. It is important to note that CRT is not always successful on the first try and sometimes requires multiple visits.

Recovery

Recovery will depend on your treatment type. For instance, upon completion of the Canalith repositioning treatment, your doctor may ask you to wear a cervical collar to limit your head movement for 24 hours, and/or to keep your head elevated (including during sleep) for the following few days and nights. Meanwhile, physical therapy-based vestibular rehabilitation would extend over a period of weeks or even months depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Possible side effects

If you are being treated with medications for your vertigo, always check with your doctor to determine the individual risks and side effects associated with the specific medications being prescribed for your condition.

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