Dizziness can occur for a number of reasons, not all of them worrying. If you’re feeling dizzy and you decide to go to the doctor then you will be physically examined and asked various questions, including how your dizziness arose and any medications that you might be taking. Dizziness is often nothing to worry about but especially if you’re older, you’ve had a stroke or you’ve been hit on the head it’s always worth getting this checked out.
What can you expect during a diagnosis?
The doctor will first ask you to talk about the symptoms you’ve been having, how long they have persisted and whether you’re taking medication that could be causing this. There are also a number of physical exams that doctors can do to look at how well you’re able to balance and whether the major nerves in your central nervous system are functioning correctly. These tests can include eye movement testing – this looks at the way your eyes track a moving object – and the Dix-Hallpike manoeuvre, which is a head movement test designed to establish if you have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Tests such as posturography can provide more information about balance and you may need to have tests that focus on the health of your heart.
How is dizziness treated?
It depends on the reason for the dizziness. In many cases this may simply clear up on its own – if it doesn’t then there are a number of other options that your doctor may recommend:
- Treatments. This could include a diuretic pill (water pill) or medications that are designed to help your body deal with anxiety. If the cause is a migraine then there are specific medications that can help to prevent this from happening. There are also some drugs that are specifically for the purpose of dealing with vertigo or nausea.
- Therapy. Some therapies can also be incredibly useful when it comes to treating dizziness. For example, balance therapy is a process of learning specific exercises that help your body to adjust so that you are less sensitive to motion. If your dizziness is being caused by anxiety then psychotherapy may be an option. Canalith repositioning can also be useful – this is the repositioning of your head over one or two treatments.
- Surgical options. If treatments and therapy don’t work – or if the cause of the dizziness requires it – surgical options may be the best way forward. This may include injections into a damaged ear so that the other ear takes over the balance function and dizziness disappears or a labyrinthectomy to achieve the same results.
If you regularly experience dizziness there are also things that you can do for yourself, including avoiding caffeine, salt and smoking, which can all make symptoms like this worse, and ensuring that you’re drinking enough water and getting plenty of rest. Make sure that when you feel dizzy you allow yourself to sit or lie down and don’t put yourself in a position where you have to drive or operate heavy machinery.