Ask an Expert Q&A's
Some of BC Balance and Dizziness's most popular meetings include question and answer sessions facilitated by health professionals who are particularly knowledgeable about balance and dizziness issues. On this page, browse a selection of our questions and answers. Want to submit a question to our experts? Click here! (Please make sure you check this Q&A page for answers before submitting a question. We might have already covered your question!)
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Motion sickness and an overall reduced tolerance to movement is often reported in patients who suffer from migraines. The recommendation is to treat the migraine first. When migrainous episodes are under control, patients benefit greatly from vestibular rehabilitation aimed at increasing motion tolerance. Identifying and avoiding triggers is one way to keep migraines under control as well reduce the number of episodes. Triggers include stress, foods (e.g., cheese), alcohol (e.g., red wine), smells. Preventative medications can also be used to avoid migraine episodes from happening.
My vestibular neuritis symptoms of imbalance and nausea get worse with weather changes. Is this due to atmospheric pressure changes?
The relationship between changes in barometric pressure and dizziness have been described in medical literature, particularly in patients suffering from migraine related vertigo and Ménière’s Disease. Both of these vestibular disorders are characterized by an episodic nature. This means that the symptoms come and go, in spells.
For some people, these episodes can be triggered by changes in atmospheric pressure, such as weather changes before a storm or travelling from sea level to higher altitude. Read our recent post on Facebook about this topic.
You mention the recurrent nature of your dizziness – vestibular neuritis is not classically recurrent like you describe. It is usually caused by a single viral or bacterial attack on the vestibular nerve. Symptoms typically start quite suddenly and may include severe vertigo and vomiting lasting for several hours. This is due to a loss in function of the vestibular nerve that can be temporary or permanent. During the recovery stage, which can last for several weeks, symptoms gradually improve and plateau.
We recommend speaking to your family doctor and/or your ENT doctor about the episodic/recurrent nature of your dizziness and vasovagal spells. Further investigation may be warranted into their cause.
Complex vestibular disorders are challenging to treat. For example, it can be very difficult to tease out the symptoms that distinguish Ménière’s disease or migrainous vertigo; they have very similar symptoms, but are treated very differently.
More complex cases are very individual and cannot always be pigeon-holed as Ménière’s or migrainous vertigo or some other particular disorder. Patients may have some but not all of the characteristics of Ménière’s disease, for example, and that is frustrating for doctors.