Vestibular Migraines

Nearly 13% of the adult population of the United States has migraines. Of those who suffer from migraines, 25% will experience some type of dizziness during a migraine.  Researches think migraines may be due to rapid blood flow to the brain which causes a change in nerve activity in that region.  If this occurs in the area of the brain called the vestibular system dizziness may result.  Migraine is not a headache but rather a problem where the brain is more sensitive to what is going on around it.

Common symptoms you may experience are vertigo, dizziness, and motion sickness.  Migraines also cause sensitivity to light, sound, and movement around a person.  The vertigo or dizziness may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days and is not provoked with any specific movement.  The vertigo can occur before, during, or can be separate from the migraine.

Causes of migraines can be brought on by various triggers including foods, smoking, hormonal changes, and stress.  Keeping a log is often helpful when trying to figure out what is causing a migraine.

Treatment for Vestibular Migraines is similar to all other migraines.  Medical treatment involves lifestyle changes initially including dietary changes and maintaining a steady sleep cycle.  If this does not work your doctor may try a medication to prevent migraines or stop migraines when they occur.

Research has recently found that Vestibular Therapy, a specialized type of Physical Therapy, has been shown to help with decreasing headaches with patients with Vestibular Migraines.   Vestibular Therapy will also improve balance and dizziness associated with the migraine.  At NDBC, exercises will be individualized based on each person’s complaints.  The physical therapist will provide education on which foods typically cause migraines and will help track those potential triggers  with the goal of reducing migraines.

At the National Dizzy & Balance Center, we specialize in diagnosing and treating vestibular disorders. If you are having balance problems or dizziness, talk to your doctor. They can refer you to NDBC for a comprehensive evaluation with our medical team, audiologists and physical therapists. Call to schedule your visit today!