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Different Types of Vertigo

Photo of a young woman reading a book at her desk while wearing glassesDo you ever feel as if the room is spinning around you even when you’re perfectly still? This sensation, known as vertigo, can make you feel as if you’ve just gotten off an amusement park ride even if all you did was get up off your couch. Below we provide an overview of the different types of vertigo, what causes this symptom and how to find relief.

What Are the Different Types of Vertigo?

There are two types of vertigo: peripheral and central.

Peripheral Vertigo

Peripheral vertigo is caused by issues related to the inner ear. Below are some of the causes:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) occurs when calcium crystals collect in the inner ear, sending incorrect signals to your brain about where your body is oriented in space.
  • Ménière’s disease is an inner ear disorder that causes episodes of vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Vestibular neuritis is a term for inflammation of the nerves of the inner ear.
  • Certain medications like diuretics, aminoglycoside antibiotics, cisplatin and salicylates can trigger vertigo.
  • Head injuries can cause trauma to the balance system.

Central Vertigo

Central vertigo is caused by a problem with the brain, typically the brain stem or cerebellum. Common causes of central vertigo include:

  • Blood vessel diseases
  • Drugs such as alcohol, aspirin and anticonvulsants
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Tumors, both cancerous and noncancerous
  • Vestibular migraines, which may or may not involve a headache

How Can Vertigo Be Relieved?

While there is no cure for vertigo, there are many options for managing symptoms.

Stress Management

People who experience vertigo, especially those with Ménière’s disease, tend to have worse symptoms when stress levels are high. Eliminating stressors and finding ways to manage stress can help reduce the frequency of severity of vertigo.

Everyone manages stress differently, but many people find going for a walk, meditating, exercising or listening to calming music to be helpful.

Getting Sufficient Sleep

Lack of sleep can trigger a bad mood, headaches and vertigo. Practice good sleep hygiene by sticking to a consistent sleep schedule even on weekends, avoiding screens before bedtime and not drinking caffeine late in the afternoon.


This information is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.