Chronic Vertigo, An Illustrated Guide


In severe cases, people with Chronic Vertigo may have to lie down until the sensation that they, or their surroundings, are moving has passed.

What Is Chronic Vertigo?

Chronic Vertigo

Chronic Vertigo is a type of dizziness. In contrast to simple dizziness or light-headedness (heaviness of limbs and loss of visual clarity indicating you might faint), vertigo is an illusion of motion: a feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning.

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What causes Chronic Vertigo?

Most causes of Chronic Vertigo are due to a disorder of the vestibular system (part of the nervous system controlling the senses of balance and position).

What causes Chronic Vertigo?
It may be triggered by problems affecting the inner ear (the organ of balance), such as travel sickness, labyrinthitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled chambers in the inner ear), Meniere’s disease (a rise in the fluid pressure in the inner ear), allergies, colds, certain drugs, or injury.

It may also stem from a tumor, injury involving the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, vascular disease, or multiple sclerosis (a disease of the nervous system).

In each of these instances, treatment of the underlying disorder should alleviate Chronic Vertigo.

Another possible cause is vestibular neuritis, a disorder characterized primarily by vertigo, as well as by nausea and vomiting that often accompany the spinning sensation.

chronic vertigo disability

It occurs when the nerve cells in the vestibular system become inflamed, resulting in a sudden failure of the balance mechanism in the semi-circular canals of one ear. The underlying cause of vestibular neuritis is unknown.

However, because the disorder often occurs in epidemics, particularly among teenagers and young adults, some doctors believe a virus may be involved.

Another theory is that it may be caused by a tiny blood clot in a small artery leading to the inner ear.


A sensation that you are spinning, or that the room is spinning around you.

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Oscillation of the eyeballs from side to sidechronic vertigo icd 9 code

How is Chronic Vertigo investigated and treated?

In addition to the vestibular system, various sensory messages, including vision, touch, hearing, and proprioception (the brain’s interpretation of information on body position) may contribute to the sensation of dizziness.

Your own description of dizziness will help your doctor pinpoint its cause. The doctor will ask questions about the frequency and duration of attacks, as well as any associated symptoms or activities.
A variety of neurological tests, such as hearing and balance tests, plus a CT scan or MRI scan of the brain, may be needed to rule out the possibility of some underlying disease.

What Can I Do To Avoid Chronic Vertigo?

chronic vertigo icd 10

If you are prone to travel sickness, ask your doctor whether you can take preventive medication before a car, plane or boat trip.

Get prompt treatment for any ear infection.

When should I see my doctor?

If severe, or even mild but recurrent, vertigo has experienced a doctor should be consulted promptly.

If Chronic Vertigo or some other type of dizziness occurs simultaneously with arm or leg weakness, blurred vision, difficulty in speaking, or numbness or tingling in any part of your body, a doctor should be called immediately.

This may indicate a stroke. Urgent medical attention is warranted if vertigo is accompanied by recurrent headaches. These symptoms may indicate bleeding inside the brain.

chronic vertigo meniere's disease

What will the doctor do?

Treatment of vestibular neuritis is primarily aimed at easing the symptoms. Treatment for most forms of vertigo is with antihistamines.

These drugs are most commonly used in the treatment of allergy symptoms, but they also, dampen down activity in the vestibular system.

Anticholinergic drugs (which block the action of a certain chemical produced by the nerve endings) can help alleviate nausea and vomiting. If the vertigo is unbearably severe, a sedative may be prescribed to enable you to sleep for a few hours until the attack wears off.

Further treatment of vestibular neuritis will depend on your doctor’s view of current theories. If your doctor believes a small embolism is involved, you may be given anticoagulant and vasodilator drugs to prevent further clotting and widen the arteries.
If your doctor thinks a virus may be involved, you may be prescribed anti-inflammatory corticosteroids.

If your nausea is so severe that you cannot take drugs by mouth, medication may at first be given by injection or suppository.

Prolonged vomiting may mean hospitalization is necessary, during which you will probably receive intravenous nourishment and fluids.

What is the outlook for sufferers?

chronic vertigo treatment

Most Chronic Vertigo disappears when the underlying disorder is treated. However, in vestibular neuritis, the outlook is variable.

The initial attack of vertigo may be totally disabling and the last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

If it is severe, you may be completely unable to walk around. Your eyeballs may oscillate rapidly from side to side (nystagmus). Some vertigo sufferers never have recurrences; others experience repeated attacks for a year or more, although each subsequent attack usually lessens in severity and duration until the condition eventually disappears.

Is chronic vertigo dangerous?

Vertigo and vestibular neuritis are not dangerous, although they can be disabling. However, some of the possible causes of vertigo (such as a stroke or brain tumor) are indeed dangerous and require prompt treatment.