Just imagine, you wake up one morning and the entire room is spinning around you.
You have no idea why this is happening or how to make it stop. You notice that if you remain still the spinning will stop, but whenever you move again, the spinning sensation starts again. Because the world appears to be spinning around, you become nauseous, sweaty, and perhaps even vomit. Now let’s imagine that this scenario could recur when you move for up to months in duration. This would be a terrifying scenario for anyone experiencing it, and for many these symptoms can lead to a sense of hopelessness.
The scenario described to you in the previous paragraph would be enough to frighten even the most unshakable individual and is more common than one might think. The false sensation of the world spinning or moving, even while remaining still, is a sensation known as vertigo. The term vertigo is one that most individuals have heard of, but all too often is misused to describe any dizziness symptom, often times leading to an incorrect diagnosis or no diagnosis at all. A sensation of vertigo falls under the more general term of dizziness. The term dizziness can be used to describe many sensations including: vertigo, lightheadedness, imbalance, disorientation, blurred vision, as well as intolerance to visual or physical motion. A more specific description of dizziness can dictate what assessment and treatments are implemented. In order to better understand what vertigo is, as well as ultimately what is causing it and how to treat it, using the correct terminology is essential.