Is Your Dizziness a Result of Vestibular Migraine?


Up to 3% of the population are thought to suffer from a vestibular migraine. Half of these people are undiagnosed or are not being treated with the appropriate pain management because a vestibular migraine is hard to diagnose. There is no set test, but if a patient’s symptoms fit several statements about this particular migraine type, then they may be a candidate for diagnosis.

Let’s discuss some of the signs that indicate you could be suffering from a vestibular migraine.

What is a Vestibular Migraine?

First, it might be helpful to understand the definition of Vestibular Migraine. The official name is ‘migrainous vertigo’ and it is so much more than just a headache. In fact, you may not suffer headache pain at all. Some debilitating symptoms can affect your ears, vision, and balance. The most common symptom is vertigo, accompanied by dizziness and neck pain. It can be almost intolerable for sufferers to bend down or turn their head and it is not unusual to experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or blurred vision. These symptoms mean that finding the right pain management plan can be a challenge.

5 Signs That You May Be Suffering from Vestibular Migraine

If you find yourself agreeing with all the statements below, then you could be a likely candidate for a vestibular migraine diagnosis. Seek advice from an ENT or neurologist to discuss treatment and an effective pain management plan.

1.     You or Your Family Have a History of Migraines
Vestibular Migraines have a strong genetic component. If a relative has a history of migraines or if you already suffer from migraines, then the chance of vestibular migraine increases.

2.     You Suffer from the Symptoms of Vertigo
One of the key indicators of vestibular migraine is that you suffer from vertigo during a migraine headache. You may not necessarily have pain, which is why pain management can be tricky. Symptoms include vertigo, dizziness, motion sensitivity, poor balance, spatial disorientation, spinning and rocking. These symptoms can last from 5 minutes up to several days.

3.     Your Symptoms Can Vary in Severity
Another hallmark of a vestibular migraine is that the severity of your symptoms will change over time and worsen with exposure to migraine triggers. Some triggers (including behavioral factors, hormonal triggers, environmental factors and dietary/chemical triggers) can cause migraines. If your symptoms are steady, without fluctuation, then it is unlikely to be a vestibular migraine. If they worsen after exposure to a known trigger, then vestibular migraine is more likely.

4.     You Also Suffer Classic Migraine Symptoms

If you are suffering from a vestibular migraine, it is also common to have classic migraine symptoms simultaneously. These might include a headache, sensory sensitivity, nausea, aura and tinnitus.

5.     These Symptoms Are Negatively Impacting Your Life
If your symptoms are severe enough that they begin to reduce your quality of life, this is another strong indication that you could be suffering from a vestibular migraine. Your ability to do everyday tasks like driving, going out with friends or even walking becomes difficult. Some patients who have vestibular migraines find it difficult to even get out of bed without appropriate pain management and treatment.

Treating the Pain

A vestibular migraine is often treated similarly to a classic migraine. However, sometimes finding the correct pain management plan can be difficult since pain is not always present. Medication can be given to treat the most common symptoms and making lifestyle changes to eliminate triggers can also help.

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Is Your Dizziness a Result of Vestibular Migraine?