Common Causes of Dizziness

Dizziness is an altered sense of spatial orientation, a distortion of where we are within a space and your balance just feels off. Vertigo, on the other hand, is truly the sensation of self-movement or the movement of your surroundings – it's a spinning sensation.

Dizziness, including vertigo, can happen at any age, but it is common in people aged 65 years and over

Here we describe some of the most common causes of feeling dizzy to help

Also known as orthostatic hypotension, this is the temporary dizziness that occurs as a result of a sudden drop in blood pressure with sitting or standing quickly.

Conditions that affect general blood supply through the body can create symptoms of dizziness. Common causes include anaemia (decreased red blood cell numbers), hormonal changes (as with menstrual cycles and menopause), and dehydration.

Recent evidence supports heart disease as one the leading causes of symptoms of dizziness.

Often more serious causes of dizziness, conditions that affect our brain can include multiple sclerosis (nerves lose the ability to communicate with each other), cerebral vascular accidents (loss of blood flow to a part of your brain), and Parkinson’s Disease (a neuro-degenerative disease due to the loss of local dopamine).

Dizziness is often associated with a decrease in coping ability with respect to psychological disorders such as with anxiety and depression. These “thoughts” can exacerbate into true physical signs and symptoms, dizziness being one of the most common.

Dysfunctions of your cervical spine (neck) including chronic sprains/strains, acute injuries, and degenerative disc disease can result in a disruption to the mechanics of the joint, muscles and nerves. This can potentially send abnormal messages to the balance centres of your brain about positioning, which can create dizziness.

Looking for help?- DOWNLOAD our GUIDE on Managing Neck Pain

Migraines are the severe headaches and sensitivity to light and sound that is thought to be related to unusual nerve and blood flow activity of the head and brain. The majority of migraine sufferers report having dizziness with their attacks. There are also vertigo migraines where the main presenting Symptom is vertigo without the headache.

Medications that treat seizures, that are given for anxiety/depression and sleeplessness, and even antibiotics that treat inner ear infections have been shown to increase the risks for dizziness. Common drugs such as aspirin and diuretics can also cause temporary symptoms of dizziness.

Drops in blood sugar levels can certainly cause dizziness. This can be temporary as in diabetics that miss a meal, those who exercise excessively, or consume too much alcohol. Or can be a result of more serious conditions of kidney failure, liver disease and severe infections.

Individuals who have various forms of respiratory disease or are in respiratory failure can suffer from dizziness due to the lack of appropriate oxygen distribution throughout the body. However in some cases it can simply be related to hyperventilation that is commonly related to certain psychological disorders.

Problems with our inner ear (vestibular system) appears to be an extremely common source of dizziness. Conditions such as BPPV, vestibular neuritis/Labyrinthitis, Meniere’s, can confuse the way the balance centres of our head sense position and movement. It’s this inner ear “confusion” that creates sensations of dizziness.

Luckily, these vestibular conditions are highly treatable. In our clinics we see many patients every year with vestibular problems and they walk away feeling better than ever. Vestibular rehabilitation can absolutely change symptoms of dizziness.

Contact us to find out if we can help you but be sure to mention you need to see one of our Physiotherapists skilled in this area.

Click here to learn more about our Ear Crystals or BPPV - the most common cause of VERTIGO

BPPV Explained