Vertigo is the feeling that you or your environment is moving or spinning. It differs from dizziness in that vertigo describes an illusion of movement. When you feel as if you yourself are moving, it’s called subjective vertigo, and the perception that your surroundings are moving is called objective vertigo.
Peripheral vertigo usually occurs when there is a disturbance in the balance organs of the inner ear.
Central vertigo occurs as the result of a disturbance in one or more parts of the brain, known as sensory nerve pathways.
Vertigo can be a symptom of other conditions, and it can also have its own set of related symptoms. These include:
- balance problems and lightheadedness
- a sense of motion sickness
- nausea and vomiting
- a feeling of fullness in the ear
- Vertigo is not just a general feeling of faintness. It is a rotational dizziness.
Vertigo can also be caused by or related to:
- migraine headaches
- head injuries or trauma
- taking certain medication
- ear surgery
- prolonged bed rest
- perilymphatic fistula, a tear in one or both of the membranes separating the middle and inner ear causing leakage of inner ear fluid into the middle ear
- herpes zoster oticus, acute viral infection of shingles close to the ear affecting the facial nerve, also known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome
- otosclerosis, a middle ear bone problem that causes hearing loss
- side effects of medication or drug toxicity
- transient ischemic attack
- cerebellar or brainstem disease, such as a tumor or stroke
- acoustic neuroma, a benign growth on the vestibular nerve that traverses between the inner ear to the brain
- multiple sclerosis