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HealthInfo Canterbury

Overview of vertigo

Man experiencing vertigo Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness. It's a symptom rather than a condition itself. You feel as though you or your surroundings are moving when there's no actual movement. Some people describe it as the room spinning around or a feeling of falling or tilting. You may be unsteady; it may be hard to walk or stand and you may lose your balance.

Different people experience different intensities of vertigo:

Vertigo could be a sign of a more serious medical condition such as stroke, circulation problems or infection.


If you're unsure what to do call your GP.

Causes of vertigo

For some people, the cause of vertigo is unknown. These are the most common causes of vertigo.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuronitis

Ménière's disease


Other causes

Diagnosing vertigo

Your doctor may ask you:

Your doctor will also examine your ears, examine your eyes and check your balance. Because vertigo could be a symptom of another medical condition, your doctor may also do several different tests.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Treating vertigo

Content shared between HealthInfo Canterbury, KidsHealth and Health Navigator NZ as part of a National Health Content Hub collaborative. Last reviewed May 2020.

See also:

Funny turns or fainting


Page reference: 721816

Review key: HIVER-17706