12 Common Causes and Triggers of Vertigo

Vertigo can occur due to a variety of reasons, and it affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by a false sense of movement or spinning, leading to discomfort, imbalance, and sometimes nausea. By identifying the causes and triggers of vertigo, healthcare professionals can provide effective treatment options and improve the quality of life for individuals experiencing this condition.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is the most common type of vertigo, typically caused by small calcium crystals dislodging within the inner ear. These crystals can disrupt the normal fluid movement, triggering vertigo episodes. Certain head movements or changes in position can worsen the symptoms. BPPV can be successfully treated through repositioning maneuvers or vestibular rehabilitation exercises.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition affecting the inner ear. It is characterized by recurring episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear. The exact cause of Ménière’s disease is still unknown, but it is believed to result from a combination of factors such as fluid buildup in the inner ear, immune system abnormalities, and genetic predisposition.

Vestibular Migraine

Vestibular migraine is a type of migraine that causes vertigo as one of its primary symptoms. People experiencing vestibular migraines may also have headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances. The exact mechanism behind vestibular migraines is not fully understood, but it is thought to involve abnormal brain activity affecting the vestibular system.


Labyrinthitis refers to the inflammation of the inner ear, often caused by a viral or bacterial infection. This inflammation can disrupt the normal functioning of the vestibular system, leading to vertigo, hearing loss, and imbalance. Labyrinthitis is typically treated with medications to alleviate symptoms and antibiotics if the cause is bacterial.


Certain medications can have side effects that include dizziness and vertigo. These may include antibiotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and drugs used to treat high blood pressure. If you experience vertigo after starting a new medication, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider to discuss possible alternatives or adjustments to your dosage.

Head Injuries

Head injuries, such as concussions or trauma to the inner ear, can damage the vestibular system and result in vertigo. It is crucial to seek medical attention after a head injury, as prompt diagnosis and treatment can minimize the risk of long-term complications.

Inner Ear Disorders

Several inner ear disorders, apart from BPPV and labyrinthitis, can contribute to vertigo. These include vestibular neuritis, which involves inflammation of the vestibular nerve, and acoustic neuroma, a noncancerous tumor that affects the balance and hearing nerves. Proper diagnosis by an otolaryngologist is essential to determine the specific condition and guide appropriate treatment.

Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress can have a significant impact on the body and may manifest as physical symptoms, including vertigo. The exact mechanisms linking anxiety and vertigo are complex and multifaceted, but it is believed that increased muscle tension, altered breathing patterns, and heightened sensitivity to sensory inputs can contribute to vertigo episodes.

Cervical Vertigo

Cervical vertigo is a type of vertigo caused by neck problems, such as cervical spondylosis or whiplash injuries. The neck is intricately connected to the vestibular system, and any abnormalities or injuries in this area can affect balance and trigger vertigo. Physical therapy, pain management, and neck exercises are often employed to alleviate symptoms.

Cardiovascular Conditions

Certain cardiovascular conditions, such as atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) or high blood pressure, can disrupt blood flow to the inner ear and affect its function. Insufficient blood supply to the vestibular system can lead to vertigo. Managing underlying cardiovascular conditions through medication, lifestyle modifications, and regular monitoring can help reduce vertigo episodes.

Aging and Decreased Balance

As individuals age, their balance and coordination may decline. This age-related decline, combined with changes in the inner ear structures and decreased sensory perception, can make older adults more susceptible to vertigo. Engaging in regular physical activity, practicing balance exercises, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can promote better balance and reduce the frequency and severity of vertigo.


Vertigo is a complex condition influenced by various causes and triggers. By identifying these underlying factors, healthcare professionals can provide targeted treatment approaches that address the root cause of the problem. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider if you experience persistent or recurrent vertigo to receive an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate management plan.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can stress alone cause vertigo? Stress can contribute to vertigo, but it is usually a combination of factors that lead to vertigo episodes. Stress may exacerbate existing inner ear problems or trigger other physiological responses that result in vertigo.
  2. Is vertigo a symptom of a serious medical condition? While vertigo itself is not a serious condition, it can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the cause of vertigo and rule out any serious issues.
  3. Are there any natural remedies for vertigo? Certain lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet, managing stress levels, practicing relaxation techniques, and engaging in regular physical activity, may help alleviate vertigo symptoms. However, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and guidance.
  4. Can vertigo be cured completely? The treatment and management of vertigo depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, vertigo can be resolved or significantly reduced with appropriate medical interventions, lifestyle modifications, and rehabilitation exercises. However, the outcome may vary for each individual.
  5. When should I seek medical attention for vertigo? It is advisable to seek medical attention if you experience recurrent or prolonged vertigo episodes, vertigo accompanied by severe headache or other neurological symptoms, or if vertigo significantly impacts your daily activities and quality of life.
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