Vestibular Migraine

Vestibular migraine is a form of a migraine that affects the vestibular nerve. Learn more about the symptoms, causes & most effective treatment for migraine.

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About the Disease

A migraine is a common problem affecting nearly 10% of the population. It is seen more in females and more common between the ages of 20 and 40. A vestibular migraine is a common cause of vertigo in young and middle-aged people alike. The literature states that around 10% of the population is suffering from a migraine. A vestibular migraine occurs in 10% of migraine patients. Women are more prone to vestibular migraines than men which are similar to traditional migraine patterns. Vestibular migraines can also occur in children. This disorder affects the day to day life of patients and may lead to anxiety. (learn more)

Symptoms

Vestibular migraine patients usually complain of headaches before, during or after the dizzy spells. However, headaches are not seen in all patients. Sometimes, headaches occur more frequently before and the vertigo symptoms are predominant.

The chief symptom of a vestibular migraine is recurrent spells of dizziness that may last for a few seconds to days.

Other symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Motion sensitivity – a sensation of dizziness when one moves the body, head or eyes.
  • Disorientation
  • Increased sensitivity to sound or light
  • Motion sickness

Diagnosis

The following recommendation has been proposed by the International Headache Society to help doctors diagnose Vestibular migraine:

  • Frequent migraine headaches – either at present or in the past.
  • Experiencing a minimum of five vertigo episodes. This feeling is different from feelings of fainting or uneasiness as experienced during motion sickness.
  • A vertigo episode lasts for a few minutes to 72 hours.
  • You experience moderate to severe symptoms that hinder your everyday activities.

At least half of the episodes happen with one of the following migraine symptoms:

  • A headache that has any of the two of these characteristics: one-sided, pulsating, moderate to severe, gets worse with activity.
  • Sensitivity to light or sound.
  • Seeing flashing lights before your eyes (a migraine aura) at the beginning of a vertigo spell.

Treatment

Neurologists and Neuro-otologists are specialised in diagnosing and treating vestibular migraine. Patients with a vestibular migraine require lifestyle modifications like eating and sleeping on time, reducing caffeine, salt and alcohol intake. For patients having more than three episodes in a month, migraine prophylaxis must be started with medicines like beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, SSRI’s and antiepileptic medications. Terminating the headaches and controlling vertigo with vestibular suppressants may be necessary.

Dr. Anita Bhandari

Dr.Anita Bhandari is MS(ENT) and a consultant Neurotologist practising in Jaipur, India. She has done a fellowship in Otology and Neurotology from Singapore. She has set up a state-of-art Vertigo and Ear Clinic in Jaipur (www.vertigoandearclinic.com) which is amongst the most advanced vertigo clinics in India. Dr. Bhandari is actively involved in the development of diagnostic equipment in the field of diagnosis and rehabilitation of vertigo and balance disorders. She has contributed to the development of Computerised Dynamic Visual Acuity, Cranio-Corpography, Subjective Visual Vertical, Video Nystagmography and Posturography diagnostic equipment and has two in this field. She has also been involved in the development of Virtual reality for vestibular rehabilitation. She is Scientific advisor to NeuroEquilibrium™, a unique project to set up 500 super-specialised vertigo and dizziness clinics in India, Asia & Africa leveraging cloud technology. She has authored chapters on ‘Vestibular Physiology’, ‘Dynamic Visual Acuity’, ‘Surgical treatment of vertigo’, ‘Difficult cases in vertigo’ in various Neurotology textbooks. She is an invited speaker in various Vertigo & Neurotology conferences across the world. Dr.Anita Bhandari is MS(ENT) and a consultant Neurotologist practising in Jaipur, India. She has done a fellowship in Otology and Neurotology from Singapore. She has set up a state-of-art Vertigo and Ear Clinic in Jaipur (www.vertigoandearclinic.com) which is amongst the most advanced vertigo clinics in India. Dr. Bhandari is actively involved in the development of diagnostic equipment in the field of diagnosis and rehabilitation of vertigo and balance disorders. She has contributed to the development of Computerised Dynamic Visual Acuity, Cranio-Corpography, Subjective Visual Vertical, Video Nystagmography and Posturography diagnostic equipment and has two in this field. She has also been involved in the development of Virtual reality for vestibular rehabilitation. She is Scientific advisor to NeuroEquilibrium™, a unique project to set up 500 super-specialised vertigo and dizziness clinics in India, Asia & Africa leveraging cloud technology. She has authored chapters on ‘Vestibular Physiology’, ‘Dynamic Visual Acuity’, ‘Surgical treatment of vertigo’, ‘Difficult cases in vertigo’ in various Neurotology textbooks. She is an invited speaker in various Vertigo & Neurotology conferences across the world.

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You need not suffer in silence now. You need not accept vertigo as ‘something you have to live with’. There is a way to cure vertigo, dizziness and any other balancing issues you are facing. Live a stable and vibrant life.

A Vertigo Free Life!

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