What is the difference between Dizziness and Vertigo? Are they the same thing?

“Dizziness” is an imprecise term to describe different types of imbalance that you may be experiencing. Various patients describe their dizziness as imbalance, unsteadiness, lightheadedness, presyncope (about to pass out), tilting, spinning or even a sense of rocking, swaying, floating or swimming. When someone experiences “true vertigo”, they perceive that either they are spinning or the world is spinning around them.

How does my balance system work?

Your balance system is made up of three types of sensory inputs that work together to let your body and brain know where you are in space. These three inputs are comprised of your vestibular system (within your inner ear), your sight and your sense of touch. Your vestibular system provides information to your brain about how your head is oriented in space. Your vision provides clues about where you are oriented relative to the objects around you. Your sense of touch comes from your feet, joints and muscles which provides your brain with more information such as the type of surface you are standing on, type of position you may be in or the movements you are making. If one or more of these systems are not working properly, you may feel a sense of unsteadiness or imbalance.

How will my dizziness and vertigo be evaluated at Midwest Dizzy and Balance Center?

Many different medical conditions (including, but not limited to, vestibular, neurological, cardiac, psychological or endocrine disorders) can cause a sense of dizziness and/or imbalance. At your visit at Midwest Dizzy and Balance Center, a thorough medical history, review of symptoms and physical examination will be performed to assess whether your condition may be a vestibular (inner ear) disorder or the result of another medical condition. Additionally, an audiogram (hearing test), tympanogram (checking movement of your ear drum) and Gans Sensory Output Performance (SOP) test will give us more information about how your inner ear may be functioning. Further tests including a CT, MRI or VNG (videonystagmography) may be considered if your provider finds this necessary.

What can be done about vertigo?

Many types of treatments may be initiated depending on what is causing your dizziness. Some disorders may improve with various types of medications and/or dietary changes, while other disorders may need vestibular therapy. If you have a disorder called BPPV , you will be treated at your initial consultation with “Canalith Repositioning Manuevers” which involve simple movements of the head and body. If no single cause can be identified, the highly skilled audiologists and providers at The Midwest Center for Dizziness and Balance Disorders will work with you to minimize your symptoms and maximize your functional abilities.