Vestibular Migraines | Atlanta ENT Institute | Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in Georiga

Vestibular Migraines

By: Phillip B. Flexon MD, FACS.

Do you suffer from vertigo?

You may actually be suffering from vestibular migraines.

Vestibular migraines constitutes the second most common cause of vertigo in the United States.

Here is the clinical breakdown:

The main feature of a vestibular migraine is true vertigo. Vertigo is a hallucination of motion, a false sensation of spinning. You may feel as though the room is spinning or rocking, or that you, yourself is spinning or rocking. At times, the sensation could be compared to rocking on a boat. This is in contrast to feeling light-headed (like you might pass out), which is not vertigo and has different causes.

The quality of the vertigo with vestibular migraine is a vertigo attack, which lasts more than five minutes, but no longer than 72 hours. The vertigo is not associated with hearing changes, ear pressure or noise in the ears.  

The second important symptom in vestibular migraines is headache. At least half of every vertigo attack occurs with a headache.  The headaches must involve at least two of the following: they have a severity enough to interfere with daily activity, involve only one side of the head, or be pulsating in nature.  

In addition, the condition of vestibular migraines is often associated with sensitivity to sound or light. It may also be noted that vertigo at times may be brought on by changes in head position.

In order to properly diagnose vestibular migraine, your otolaryngologist will likely include a hearing test and a balance test, called a VNG with posturography, as part of your workup. In the case of vestibular migraine, these tests are usually normal.  

Once diagnosed, vestibular migraine can be treated with migraine diet, medication, and most importantly, vestibular physical therapy.  

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