Dealing with dizziness and vertigo

Balance is controlled in the labyrinth inside the ear canalCredit: Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Dizziness can have many causes and if you are finding that it is interfering with the quality of your life, seek professional help. Some causes can be serious, but some are not. And many are treatable if not curable.

You can become dizzy easily simply from a fall in blood pressure that can be caused from hunger or dehydration. Constant emotional pressure can unbalance your systems and create anxiety disturbances. TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) problems can cause stresses in the bones of the skull around the ear canal impacting your balance mechanism. This area is also vulnerable to infection. If anything alters the delicate hairs inside labyrinth of the ear canal, dizziness or even vertigo can result.

Vertigo can be absolutely frightening when it first hits. Usually there is little or no warning when suddenly your entire perception of the world flip-flops. It can seem as if you've fallen of a cliff and are somersaulting in free fall as the world spins around you. It is impossible to stand or even sit since you lose all sense of what is up and what is down.

This is usually called BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. Milder cases can sometimes manifest with a sense of continual motion or drifting to one side, especially after head motion has stopped.

As we age, it isn't all that rare that little flakes or crystals will form colonies inside the inner ear. An injury or simply aging can sometimes cause these tiny pieces detach and float free in the liquid that controls balance. This can be a single event or can happen repetitively, sometimes becoming chronic. A disease of the balance organ of the inner ear, Ménière's disease, can effect people of any age, making the symptoms chronic. At present there is no known cure for Ménière's disease.

There are tests that will help determine the cause of dizziness. There are drugs for more acute symptoms and adjustments that can sometime alleviate symptoms with simple manual manipulations of the head. There are also exercise that can be done at home to help relieve the problem and aid with preventing recurrence.

It is unlikely that you will be able to know if dizziness is caused from anxiety, TMJ or BPPV without medical tests. So don't be afraid of consulting a doctor if you suffer from balance disturbances or vertigo. There may be relief available that is easier than you think.