Vertigo is the medical term used to describe symptoms like a sensation of rocking or spinning. You might feel unbalanced even when you’re standing still. The causes of vertigo are diverse, from head injuries to migraines, adverse reactions to medications. Long-term cases may be caused by calcium particles stuck in the middle ear to chronic issues like Meniere’s disease. While vertigo can subside without treatment, you shouldn’t let it linger. Here’s how your ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor can treat it.

Medical treatments

Which treatment is best recommended depends on what is causing the vertigo in the first place. Following an examination, your ENT may prescribe from a range of medications, which may include oral medicines, IV drips, patches and suppositories. Vertigo caused by bacterial infections in the ear may require antibiotics while Meniere’s disease is treated with water pills known as diuretics as well as a diet that’s low in salt.

Vestibular rehabilitation

An exercise-based plan of treatment can help treat a variety of inner ear and balance issues. Your ear, nose and throat specialist may recommend a six-to-eight-week course of different exercises. These may include posture training, walking exercises, vision stability training, neck mobility and stretching exercises and more. These exercises are designed to address the vestibular system that communicates to the brain about differences in head and body movement, balance and gravity. Miscommunication issues with this system lead to inaccurate information going to the brain, which can make you feel unbalanced even when perfectly still. Which vestibular rehabilitation program works best depends on the person, from your medical history to physical issues like your gait, level of neck mobility and leg strength.

Canalith repositioning procedure

One of the long-term causes of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, also known as BPPV. This is when you have small calcium particles stuck in the middle ear, also known as otoconia. Your ENT may recommend the Canalith repositioning procedure, which is a range of head movements and exercises that are designed to shift the otoconia to different parts of the ear where they don’t interfere with the communication to the brain regarding balance and head movement. Though non-invasive and non-medical, it’s incredibly effective in cases of BPPV, with an 80 percent rate of success. However, otoconia can shift back to its original position over time, so repeated sessions with the ear, nose and throat specialist may be necessary.

Surgery

A hole in the inner ear leading to chronic infection, injuries to the brain and neck or tumors may necessitate a surgical approach. There is a range of different surgeries that fall under this category, so finding the best option is all about finding the underlying cause with the help of your ENT. For example, cases of vertigo related to chronic ear infections may be best treated with surgery to open the middle ear to drain the infection which is then followed by antibiotics.

Don’t hesitate to call your ENT if you’re having severe or recurring issues with vertigo. They are the best suited to help you find both the cause and solution.