Dizziness, Vertigo, Imbalance, Labyrinthitis or Labyrinthopathy.
What is and what to do?
What is it?
Dizziness is an illusion of movement. It can be instability, imbalance, falling sensation, gait deviation or fluctuation. When “the world turns,” dizziness is called vertigo.
Like tinnitus, dizziness has several causes that may be present in the same individual. Therefore, the evaluation of a specialist is important to choose the most appropriate treatment for each case.
Dizziness is more frequent in adults, but may occur in children. In such cases, it comes different: the child isolates himself, avoids jokes that require balance (bicycle, rope jumping, hopscotch, etc.), is afraid of dark or tall, frequent belly pain with no apparent cause, difficulty in school, etc.
What are the causes?
Our balance is not controlled only by the labyrinth (vestibular system). It also depends on the information that comes from vision and proprioception (orientation on the position and location of the body in space). Any change or conflict of information between these three systems can cause a change in balance, that is, dizziness.
– Diseases that affect the whole organism (diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, atherosclerosis, rheumatism, etc.);
– Ear diseases (Ménière’s disease, medicines or toxic chemicals);
– Neurological diseases;
– Visual diseases;
– Cranial injuries;
– Abuse of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and others;
– Cervical spine problems;
– Hormonal changes (pre-menses, gestation, menopause, andropause);
– Deficiency of vitamins and minerals;
– Psychological or psychiatric problems.
How is it treated?
The treatment of labyrinth diseases should include:
– the causes (diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension, depression, etc.)
– the symptoms (eliminate dizziness and discomfort)
– the vestibular rehabilitation (specific exercises)
The investigation of the causes is fundamental. The specialized professional shall ask for tests to check hearing and balance. Additional tests (blood, CT or MRI, auditory potentials, otoacoustic emissions, auditory processing, etc.) may be required.
The treatment of the causes is variable. The symptomatic is to relieve dizziness with medication, but it can return if the causes are not treated. Vestibular rehabilitation consists of exercises to rehabilitate the labyrinth and restore balance, which can be done alone or with the medications.