What are the types of peripheral vertigo?

peripheral vertigo

Amusement park enthusiasts are well aware of the spinning, nauseous sensation that Vertigo patients often complain about. Vertigo is a disorder in which the patient always feels like their surroundings are moving or spinning, & that they are off-balance even when they are not.

There are two most common types of Vertigo: Central Vertigo & Peripheral Vertigo. Drugs & treatments are available for both the types of Vertigo. Based on your diagnosis, your doctor can form better treatment options for your condition.

Both the types of Vertigo; Central Vertigo & Peripheral Vertigo; are not illnesses in themselves, rather a symptom of some other underlying cause. Vertigo can sometimes also be described as motion sickness or general nausea, & a feeling of your entire body leaning to one side.

Causes of Peripheral Vertigo:-

Peripheral Vertigo, that includes the very well known BPPV Vertigo, is the most common type of vertigo known to doctors. Peripheral Vertigo is generally considered to be more severe than Central Vertigo.

It is usually caused by a problem in the inner ear, which controls the body’s balance system.

The most common causes of inner ear troubles that lead to peripheral vertigo are:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, also called BPPV Vertigo,
  • Vestibular Neuronitis
  • Meniere’s Disease

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV Vertigo):-

BPPV Vertigo is considered to be the most common type of vertigo patients suffer from. BPPV Vertigo tends to cause short but pretty frequent bouts of Vertigo, during which a patient might feel dizzy, nauseous, & spinning sensations. They can also have difficulty walking or standing up in a steady position. As BPPV Vertigo is caused by inner ear problems, it’s easy to understand that certain head movements can trigger episodes of BPPV Vertigo. Doctors believe it occurs due to tiny pieces of anatomical debris that usually lies in the semicircular canals of the inner ear, breaking off from their original position & floating into the inner ear. There they stimulate the small hairs that line the inner ear, thus causing discrepancies in the balance signals received from the brain.

This loss of coordination between the inner ear and the brain leads to BPPV Vertigo patients feeling dizzy, nauseous, & out of balance during an episode. BPPV Vertigo treatment usually involves various home remedies such as Vertigo exercises, Vertigo medicines, & other alternative Vertigo treatment approaches that usually work on a particular case basis.


Labyrinthitis causes patients to feel as if they are moving even when they aren’t, & are simply standing stationary. This type of Vertigo is caused by an inner ear infection, & consequently, happens with other symptoms such as fever & earache.

The place of the infection is Labyrinth, an organ in the inner ear that controls balance & hearing. Common viral illnesses like cold & flu, can cause the infection. Sometimes, a less common bacterial infection can also be the cause of the infection.

Vestibular neuronitis:-

Vestibular Neuronitis is also called Vestibular Neuritis, & is characterized as a type of Vertigo that has a sudden onset & may cause unsteadiness, earache, nausea, & unsteadiness.

Vestibular Neuritis occurs as a result of an infection that spreads up to the vestibular nerve, whose responsibility is to control balance in the body. Vestibular Neuritis often occurs following a viral infection, such as a cold or a flu.

Meniere’s Disease:-

Meniere’s Disease causes sudden bouts of Vertigo that usually last for upto 24 hours. The Vertigo thus experienced is often so severe that it oftentimes causes nausea & vomiting.

Meniere’s disease sometimes also leads to hearing loss, a sensation of ringing in your ears called Tinnitus, & a feeling of fullness in the ears.

Peripheral Vertigo diagnosis

There are several ways for your doctor to determine if you indeed have Peripheral Vertigo. They may examine your ears to find out if you have an infection, & run certain balance tests on your walk & posture to see if you can walk in a straight line or not. If your doctor suspects your dizziness & nausea spells, as well as your troubles with maintaining balance are arising from BPPV Vertigo, then they may perform a particular test on you called the Dix-Hallpike maneuver.

In the course of this test, your doctor will move you quickly from a sitting position into a lying-down position, keeping your head as the lowest part of your body.

You will be facing your doctor, such that they can track the movement of your eyes with each head position. This maneuver is specifically designed to bring about Vertigo symptoms in patients with BPPV Vertigo.  Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may also order specific balance & hearing tests, along with MRI scans of the head & neck to determine if the Vertigo arises from a neurological problem.

Peripheral Vertigo treatment

Drugs & Vertigo medicines:-

Multiple medications are used to treat Peripheral Vertigo, including:

  • Antibiotics, to treat any infections causing BPPV Vertigo,
  • Antihistamines, like meclizine(Antivert)
  • Prochlorperazine, to relieve Nausea,
  • Benzodiazepines, anxiety medications that are known to help in relieving peripheral vertigo symptoms

Patients suffering from Meniere’s disease are also prescribed a medication called betahistine (Betaserc, Serc), to help them relieve symptoms of the disease by reducing the pressure inside the ears.

Treatment of hearing loss

Patients suffering from Meniere’s Disease might also need treatment for hearing loss & ringing in the ears. These symptoms can be treated with medication & hearing aids.

Vertigo exercises:-

If you have been diagnosed with BPPV Vertigo, the most common of all types of Peripheral Vertigo, then your doctor might prescribe you the two most well known exercises for Vertigo treatment.

Epley Maneuver

The Epley Maneuver is another popular & commonly recommended exercise for Vertigo. Most patients with Vertigo get relief from their symptoms with the Epley Maneuver. Although the original Epley Maneuver can only be performed with the help of at least two other people, the modified Epley Maneuver can be easily performed by yourself at home.

Below is the procedure for performing the Epley Maneuver at home if you have left-ear BPPV. In case of right ear BPPV, just perform the steps in the opposite direction.

  • Sit on the bed in an upright position, while placing your legs straight ahead in front of you with a pillow behind you.
  • Next, turn your head 45 degrees to the left.
  • Lie on your back quickly until your shoulders are on the bed. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Next, turn your head 90 degrees to the left without lifting it up. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Now, turn your body & head another 90 degrees to the right & hold for 30 seconds.
  • Next, sit upright on the right edge of the bed.

For the best results in your BPPV treatment, perform the Epley Maneuver for at least three times a day, & repeat each day until you notice a reduction in your symptoms in full 24 hours.

Brandt-Daroff Exercises

Brandt-Daroff exercises utilise gravity to help dislodge crystals from the semicircular canal so that they no longer pose a problem in maintaining the body’s balance.

This exercise can be performed at home in a few simple steps as given below:

  • Sit in the bed with your feet on the floor, and then turn your head 45 degrees in the right direction.
  • Without changing the direction of your head, lie down on your left side on the bed. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, & take a 30-second pause.
  • Now, turn your head 45 degrees in the left side, & repeat the previous steps in the right direction.
  • Return to the starting position & pause for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this set of procedures for about five times in a single sitting.

This exercise, like almost every other exercise for Vertigo, can bring about dizziness. Hence it’s important to remember to give yourself a moment for the dizziness to pass before getting up to stand after performing the Brandt-Daroff exercise.

Considering you have been seeing a doctor & taking regular medications alongside this exercise for BPPV treatment, it should give tangible benefits to you in about three to four weeks.

Physical Therapy

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is another Vertigo treatment for Peripheral Vertigo. Patients work with a licensed physical therapist to help them manage their Vertigo better & train their body to compensate for the loss of coordination between the inner ear balance organs & the brain.

For certain severe, persistent cases of Vertigo, surgery might prove to be helpful, especially if the Vertigo symptoms are interfering with a patient’s daily life.

Looking for expert Vertigo specialists & dizziness doctors to help manage your own or a loved one’s case of Peripheral Vertigo? Visit your nearest Neuroequilibrium range of clinics today, for getting specialized diagnosis, treatment plans, & therapy for every particular case.



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