General | June 20, 2021

Feeling A Little Dizzy?

Dr Peta Antonello-OSTEOPATH-B.Sc.(Clinical), M.H.Sc.(Osteo)

Is the room spinning around you? Are you spinning within the room?

Dizziness is a commonly reported symptom within the health field and is unfortunately associated with a multitude of conditions. So, what constitutes the feeling of dizziness? What conditions can cause it?

Dizziness is described by Oxford Dictionary of English as, ‘a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height’. Dizziness can be caused by infection, head injury, migraines, and can be a side effect of some medications.

Vertigo is described by The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery as, ‘the sensation of motion when no motion is occurring relative to the earth’s gravity, in contrast to motion intolerance, which is a feeling of disequilibrium, spatial disorientation, or malaise during active or passive movement’. Vertigo is usually associated with conditions affecting the vestibular apparatus of the ear.

Disequilibrium is described as, ‘a sensation of impending fall or of the need to obtain external assistance for proper locomotion. It is sometimes described as a feeling of improper tilt of the floor, or as a sense of floating. This sensation can originate in the inner ear or other motion sensors, or in the central nervous system’.

Presyncope is described as a sensation that one is going to pass out. It is commonly accompanied by feeling dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous and unsteady. This is often associated with hypoperfusion of the brain or an episode of low blood pressure.

Let’s break it down!

Vertigo = feeling of spinning or whirling. Dizziness = altered sense of spatial orientation, a distortion of where we are within a space. Disequilibrium = unsteadiness/imbalance. Presyncope = feeling faint/lightheaded.

How osteopathy may assist

On presentation to an osteopath with a complaint of dizziness, your treatment and management will be determined by what other symptoms you may be experiencing and in what context. For example, if you presented with a headache and the only other symptom was dizziness, we would treat you for headaches. If you presented with dizziness associated with loss of balance, nausea, vomiting and/or fever, we would likely suspect a more sinister cause for your presentation and refer you to the relevant health professional to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Dizziness can be scary, but you should take comfort in knowing that the majority of the time it is benign, and can be well managed. If you would like any further clarity on dizziness and how it may be affecting you, any of our osteopaths would be happy to chat to you about your condition.