Vertigo usually is described as a spinning sensation, whereas dizziness usually is described as “lightheadedness.” Often, they have different causes and different treatments.
If you have vertigo accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, immediately call 911 or emergency medical services (EMS) so that an ambulance can be sent for you:
- Double vision
- Difficulty speaking
- A change in alertness
- Arm or leg weakness
- Inability to walk
What Is Vertigo?
Vertigo is the sensation of spinning—even when you’re perfectly still, you might feel like you’re moving or that the room is moving around you. Most causes of vertigo involve the inner ear (“vestibular system”). A number of conditions can produce vertigo, such as:
- Inner ear infections or disorders
- Tumors, such as acoustic neuroma
- Surgery that removes or injures the inner ear or its nerves
- Head injury that results in injury to the inner ears
- A hole in the inner ear
You also might have:
- Abnormal eye movements
One of the most common forms of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, an inner-ear problem that causes short periods of a spinning sensation when your head is moved in certain positions.