The term VERTIGO is a symptom and not a disease.
Many a time I come across people who enquire if Homoeopathy has any treatment for certain illnesses like vertigo – tinnitus – trichotillomania, etc. Often, these fancy med terms are used by doctors for commonly occurring symptoms of giddiness (चक्कर आना), noises in the ear (कान में आवाज़ें आना), pulling of hair (बाल खींचना). These in themselves are not diseases. They are just symptoms and can be present in many disease conditions.
Vertigo can have its cause in your head, sinuses, brain, spine, ear or mind due to any inflammation, injury, circulation or nerve issue, tumor or cancer, or could be simply out of weakness. Likewise, while the term tinnitus has its cause majorly in local ear issues or hypertension, it could simply be age-related too. Broadly used term trichotillomania is not always a mental disorder or an OCD out of stress or suppressed emotions. There could actually be other causes behind a desire to pull your hair, viz. – itchy dandruff, some other scalp disease or an infestation on the scalp.
I shall keep tinnitus and trichotillomania for perhaps another instance and discuss vertigo in this post.
Vertigo is a sense of spinning, whirling, or loss of balance.
We as physicians, in our practices, are frequently confronted with the symptom – vertigo, which often requires extensive investigation to determine its origin. In fact, a study suggests dizziness as the ninth most common symptom present at initial evaluation in the outpatient setting.
Vertigo is the feeling that either you or the world around you is moving or spinning, when it is not so in reality. It differs from dizziness in that vertigo describes an illusion of movement. It is akin to something like you whirl around rapidly and then stop.
When you feel as if you yourself are moving, it’s called subjective vertigo, and the perception that your surroundings are moving is called objective vertigo.
Often, vertigo is accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting, blurring of vision, a loss of balance and altered consciousness in some. It may pass quickly, or last for hours or even days.
It can have significant adverse effects on a patient’s quality of life.
Homeopathy provides several remedies to treat Vertigo. Made of natural substances with zero side effects, these remedies can be of immense help.
What causes it?
Unlike nonspecific lightheadedness or dizziness, vertigo has few causes including motion sickness, infection in the inner ear, visual disorders, head injury, insufficient blood supply to the brain, and brain tumors.
A condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) involves attacks of vertigo triggered by certain head positions; its cause is believed to be deposits of calcium in the inner ear.
Another condition, Meniere’s disease, is characterized by sudden, intense attacks of vertigo often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, along with ringing in the ears and progressive deafness. Its cause is unknown.
Note: Because of a wide variety of causes, persistent episodes of vertigo should always be investigated by a physician.
Homoeopathic Medicines for Vertigo
- Belladonna: Vertigo accompanied by headache, better by pressure. Person may tend to fall to the left or backward.
- Gelsemium: Extreme dizziness with dim vision and heaviness of eyelids. There is difficulty in walking with a loss of balance.
- Cocculus: Vertigo with nausea and vomiting especially resulting from motion sickness.
- Conium: Usually suited to elderly people suffering from vertigo. Vertigo while lying down, turning sidewise or during movement of eyes. Excellent for BPPV.
- Bryonia: Vertigo with the movement of the head or changing position and it improves when the head is in absolute rest. It can also be associated with nausea and vomiting. Excellent for BPPV again.
- Pulsatilla: Effective remedy for women suffering from vertigo. Vertigo aggravated by suppressed or delayed menses. Vertigo is better in open fresh air.
- China: For vertigo after loss of blood or fluids as in diarrhea. Vertigo due to anemia is best treated with the use of this medicine especially if you feel very weak, dizzy and taking even a few steps is proving to be very difficult.
- Ambra grisea: For elderly due to general weakness, or weakness, coldness and numbness of fingers/arms due to spinal irritation.
Bryonia Alba and Conium are excellent medicines for BPPV.
Belladonna, Gelsemium, Phosphoricum Acid are infallible in vertigo resulting from Cervical Spondylosis.
Chenopodium, ChininumSulph, Phosphorus efficiently bring relief if vertigo is due to Meniere’s Disease — a condition in which hearing loss, sounds or noises in the ear (tinnitus) and Vertigo occur concurrently. Chenopodium rescues if the noises are mostly buzzing in character, accompanied by decreased hearing power for sounds of low pitch. Chininum Sulph is of great help if vertigo comes along with horrible noises in the ear — buzzing, ringing or roaring, with difficulty in standing, causing you to frequently fall. Phosphorus is of help if your vertigo gets worse upon rising from a sitting/stooping position or getting up from the bed. You may also experience a re-echo of voices in the ear along with difficulty in hearing.
Silicea, Pulsatilla and Cocculus Indicus are best for vertigo accompanying ear troubles like a middle ear infection.
Cyclamen and Gelsemium for vertigo accompanying visual disturbances like double vision, dim/blurred vision or loss of vision, or flashes of light before eyes.
China, Arnica and Phosphorus are very efficient and safe for vertigo consequent upon loss of blood due to any trauma.
Gelsemium ranks at the top for vertigo with staggering and loss of balance while walking.
Bryonia alba, Cyclamen, and Pulsatilla stand efficient for vertigo with the sensation of objects revolving in a circle [objective vertigo].
Few tips to aid during an acute attack of vertigo
- Prevent a fall consequent upon vertigo by sitting or lying down as soon as you feel dizzy. Try and find a comfortable position to sit or lie down and relax for some time.
- If driving, pull over aside as soon as you feel giddy.
- Opening all windows to breathe-in some fresh air helps.
- Avoid bright lights.
- Loosen up tight clothing.
- Try drinking sips of water if there is no nausea. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
- Do not quickly change position. Turn to your side and gradually get up from lying down position.
- Consult your doctor to find out the cause of your attack to prevent further occurrences.
Tips to avoid further attacks
The arising imbalance or instability in vertigo can have negative consequences on the social lives of the patients and can be truly disabling. Once you know you have vertigo, follow these to minimize the negative effects:
- A sudden jerk can precipitate an attack of vertigo so always make a conscious effort of getting up from the bed slowly and cautiously without a jerk.
- Do not indulge in strenuous exercises involving neck extension or rotation.
- Avoid sudden postural changes.
- An ear infection can precipitate an attack of vertigo too, so better get yourself checked up and treated in case you suspect having one.
- Have lots of fluids at regular interval.
Do consult your Homoeopathic physician in case vertigo is becoming a habit you desperately need to part with.