There are not many worse feelings than having the world spinning around you, feeling terribly unbalanced, and thinking you may faint at any second. Yet, this is what chronic vertigo sufferers have to deal with on a regular basis.
Vertigo is not an actual medical condition, rather a bunch of symptoms caused by other disorders. Research shows that 40 percent of all people over the age of 40 will experience vertigo at some point in their lifetime.
So how do you know if you have vertigo, what caused it, and how to remedy it? I’ll help answer all three of those questions.
Symptoms of vertigo
There are many symptoms associated with vertigo, with the following signs being strong indicators:
Feeling like you may faint (or actually fainting)
Feeling like you may fall over from being “pulled” a certain direction
Feeling off balanced when moving or walking
Feeling nauseous, with occasionally vomiting
Ringing in the ears, and/or loss of hearing
Abnormal eye movements
Weakness in extremities
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Depending on the severity of vertigo, these symptoms can be light or more intense. These symptoms can also come and go quickly, which makes it especially dangerous when doing things like driving or engaging in physical activity.
Causes of vertigo
The causes of vertigo can sometimes be difficult to pin down, due to the wide variety of things that can initiate it. However, the most common things to consider as a cause of vertigo include:
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) caused by dislodging of calcium crystals in the ear (often called otoconia or “ear rocks”)
Viral infection in ear
Damage to nerves involved in hearing
Fluid accumulation in the ears
Injuries to brain and brainstem
Sudden drop in blood pressure
Acute and chronic stress
It is estimated that up to 85% of vertigo sufferers have peripheral vertigo, which is an issue with the inner part of the ear that controls balance (vestibular labyrinth or semicircular canals) or with the vestibular nerve, which connects the inner ear to the brainstem. The other 15% who experience vertigo have a central nervous system disorder which causes problems to develop in the brain, particularly in the brainstem of cerebellum (back part of the brain).
Natural remedies for vertigo
Depending on the reason for the vertigo, there are a few different remedies you can consider, including:
Vestibular rehabilitation – Physical therapy that addresses the vestibular organs. It helps promote central nervous system compensation for inner ear problems that are causing loss of balance.
Head maneuvers or Canalith Repositioning Procedure (CRP) – Certain head adjustments can help move ear rocks out of the areas in the ears that are causing the problems. Recommended by the American Academy of Neurology, it offers a series of specific head and body movements for clearing the canals of the inner ear chambers. It has an approximate 80% success rate for those who suffer from BPPV-type vertigo.
Stress reduction – Chronic stress will ultimately lower immunity which will leave you susceptible to ear infections, swelling, and other problems related to the vestibular system. Look into yoga, meditation, exercise, controlled breathing, calming essential oils (lavender, chamomile), and adaptogenic herbs (like reishi).
Hydration – Even mild dehydration can create dizziness and changes in blood pressure that can cause you to feel off-balanced and nauseous. Make sure to drink half your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water (160 lbs = 80 ounces of water), and ensure it is properly filtered or pure. Use this guide to water to help.
Healthy diet – High cholesterol and high sugar foods can facilitate the development of vertigo (Prevention Magazine claims over 80% of people with vertigo had either high blood fats or sugars), so it is important to eliminate foods that can cause issues with either, including processed/fast foods with hydrogenated fats, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and foods with high sugar content. Focus on vegetables (leafy greens), low sugar fruit (berries, limes, lemons, green apples), healthy sources of fat (wild fish, coconut oil, avocados), and clean animal protein (grass-fed beef, cage free eggs, and pasture raised poultry).
Supplements – There also a few supplement one can consider for vertigo. Ginkgo biloba is believed to be helpful because it increases blood flow to the brain. You can also consider DHEA, and reishi mushroom.
Homeopathy – Homeopathic remedies you can consider include Apis, Baptisa, Belladonna, Bryonia, Cannabis, Cocculus, Digitalis, Gelsemium, Lycopodium, Phosphorus, and Silica.
Physical therapies – Other hands on therapies you can consider include acupuncture, cranial massage therapy, and chirotherapy.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure to narrow down the potential causes of your vertigo so you can hone in on some natural remedies that make the most sense for your particular situation.
Of course, a commitment to a healthy lifestyle is the best foundation for any protocol, so consider learning how to live the purest and highest quality of life as possible on a daily basis to ensure you overcome vertigo and prevent it from ever happening again.
Sources for this article include: