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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini


When you have vertigo, you feel that you, or the world around you, is moving or spinning. It is different from feeling light-headed or fainting. It's not a disease, but a symptom of something else.

You may also feel sick or off balance when you get vertigo. If your vertigo doesn't get better, or it keeps coming back, you should see your doctor.

Causes of vertigo

Many things can cause vertigo. Inner-ear problems are a common cause. You can read an overview of these causes, and an explanation of the structures inside your ear, on this Dizziness page from The links at the bottom of this page explain the causes in more detail.

Less commonly, a problem with the nerves or brain, such as a stroke, can cause vertigo. So it's important to see your doctor if you get any other symptoms with vertigo, especially:

Vertigo can affect your ability to safely do some things, such as driving, operating machinery, or working at heights. You may have to stop doing these until you find out what is causing your symptoms and treat it.

Treatment for vertigo

Often vertigo gets better on its own, but otherwise treatment depends on what is causing it. People with certain types of vertigo, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (also called BPPV – see below) can benefit from a therapy called vestibular rehabilitation. This is an exercise-based programme that trains your central nervous system to compensate for any inner-ear problems. It is offered by physiotherapists who specialise in balance and dizziness. Talk to your GP about whether this would be a good option for you.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Otolaryngology, Canterbury DHB. Page created December 2015.

See also:

Funny turns or fainting



Page reference: 52904

Review key: HIVER-17706