Dizziness is a symptom but not a disease. The causes of it are manifold.
A tiny floating stone (crystal) in the inner ear can cause positional vertigo, which is the most common vertigo. Typically, the symptoms are triggered by a lateral position on the affected ear or a backward movement of the head.
In general the positional vertigo occurs briefly and usually disappears within five to ten seconds. The maximum duration is one minute. It can also be accompanied by nausea. The positional vertigo has the special property to become weaker when the triggering action is repeated. The specially trained physiotherapist can use a method to shake the crystals back in their original place, which allows a quick healing. In the majoritiy of cases the positional vertigo disappears within some weeks.
Migraines, abnormality of the carotid arteries or epilepsy can result in vertigo. A rotary vertigo attack takes a few seconds or minutes and is accompanied by nystagmus (involuntary eye movements when lying horizontally) as well as a tendency to fall. Nausea may also occur.
Acute inner ear injuries , inflammation of the vestibular nerve, cerebellum tumor, brain stem injuries and other diseases in the head can cause persistent rotary vertigo over hours or days, followed by nystagmus, inclination to fall and frequent nausea and vomiting.
Damage to the cerebellum, epilepsy, cronic inner ear defects , poisoning, neurological and psychological diseases as well as disorders of the peripheral nervous system (polyneuropathy) can be the cause of dizziness and postural vertigo.
This dizziness or vertigo often goes along with unsteadiness, with or without nystagmus; usually without nausea. There is also an inclination to fall in different directions, depending on the cause.
“Functionally induced vertigo of unknown cause” is caused by various disorders in different areas of the head, ear, neck and partly of the upper thoracic spine such as
- circulatory problems, abnormalities, surgery, inflammations in the inner ear etc.
- congenital damage to the cervical spine (rheumatoid arthritis, instability in Down’s syndrome)
- accidents such as whiplash, fractures of the upper cervical vertebrae, chronic muscle tension, limited mobility of the upper cervical spine
- operations and scars in the area of the neck and head
- brain tumor or various vascular malformations
- damages to the upper thoracic spine
- migraine attacks
- side effects of medicines
- high blood pressure
- arteriosclerosis (calcification of the arteries)
- vision problems