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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2014-07-24 (EDT)

Vertigo is a type of dizziness that is characterized by the sensation of spinning or swaying while the body is stationary with respect to the surroundings. It is recognized as a major symptom of a balance disorder. Although the effects of vertigo may be slight, it can cause nausea and vomiting, and in severe cases, it can lead to difficulties in standing and walking.


Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal, the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With vertigo, the causes are variable and include lifestyle and environmental factors. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to vertigo.


  • Foods such as chocolate, peanuts, and red wine can cause migraines and migraine-associated vertigo.
  • In some individuals, alcohol can cause temporary vertigo, even in small amounts.


  • Stress can cause migraines and related vision problems that cause vertigo.


  • Certain environmental chemicals such as lead, mercury, and tin have the potential to cause ototoxicity or ear poisoning. This may result in damage to the inner ear or 8th cranial nerve, which in turn can cause vertigo.
  • Vertigo can also be caused by chemical insults that result in ototoxicity, such as that caused by aminoglycosides.


  • There is an increase risk of vertigo in those that smoke.
  • Trauma
  • Physical trauma such as skull fracture, head injuries and whiplash can also be a possible cause of vertigo.

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Medications that can cause dizziness or vertigo include antibiotics, blood pressure medications, medications used to treat depression or anxiety, pain medicines, and certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy.[2].

Common Questions

Common questions that may be asked and to consider include:[3]:

  • What symptoms are you experiencing, and how long has each symptom lasted?
  • Can you describe the dizziness or vertigo that you have been experiencing?
  • Have you had the sensation of pressure or fullness in one ear?
  • Have you had trauma to the head or ear recently?
  • Have you experienced gradually worsening problems with balance and hearing?

Diagnostic Testing

The evaluation of vertigo includes[3]:

  • Medical history and physical exam, which includes a neurologic exam.
  • Tests may include a CT scan, if brain injury is suspected as the cause of vertigo.
  • Dix-hallpike maneuver may be performed to rule out benign positional vertigo.
  • Electronystagmography (ENG)
  • Electrocochleography
  • Audiometry
  • Blood test may also be performed in order to look at the blood sugar levels.

Related Symptoms and Conditions

Vertigo can be associated with a number of conditions such as [4]:

  • Meniere's disease
  • Migraine
  • Head trauma
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Vertigo can be caused by problems with the inner ear or the vestibular system, which includes the semicircular canals, the otolith, and the vestibular nerve.[1]


Vertigo is typically classified into one of two categories[1]:

  • Peripheral vertigo
  • Central vertigo

This classification is dependent on the location of the damaged vestibular pathway. Episodes may last from one hour up to a day.

Common Symptoms

Symptoms of vertigo include:[5]:

  • Sensation of disorientation or motion
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sweating and pallor
  • Abnormal eye movements and/or visual disturbances
  • Hearing loss or ringing sensation in the ears
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Decreased level of consciousness
  • Difficulty walking

Naturopathic Treatment

Home Care

Vertigo can be managed with the following strategies:

  • Changing your position slowly, particularly when going from a lying to sitting position, to standing.
  • Make sure that eye glass and hearing aid prescriptions are current.
  • Use a cane, walker, or walking stick for support when necessary.
  • Avoid activities that move the head up and down repetitively.
  • Avoid keeping the head tilted back for long periods of time.
  • Be cautious when using medications that may cause balance problems as a side effect.


Lifestyle modifications for the treatment and management of vertigo include:

  • Avoid foods such as chocolate, peanuts, and alcohol, that may trigger migraines and associated vertigo.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for Vertigo include.[4]:

  • Acupuncture can help relieve the symptoms of vertigo and can be effective in resolving vertigo more quickly.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Vertigo Overview, Retrieved on July 1, 2013, from
  2. Rascol, O., Hain, T.C., Brefel, C., Benazet, M., Clanet, M., Montastruc, J.L. (1995)Antivertigo medications and drug-induced vertigo.Drugs; 50(5):777-791
  3. 3.0 3.1 Meniere's Disease, Retrieved on July 2, 2013, from
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gaby Alan (2011) Nutritional Medicine, Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH.
  5. Hanley K, and Dowd TO. (2002) Symptoms of vertigo in general practice: A prospective study of diagnosis, The British Journal of General Practice;52(483):809-812.
  6. Lu Henry (1986) Chinese System of Food Cures, prevention and remedies Sterling Publishing Co. New York.
  7. Hoffman D (2003) Medical Herbalism: The Science Principles and Practices Of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press.
  8. Hershoff Asa 2000 Homeopathic Remedies, A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and their Homeopathic Treatments, Avery Publishing Group, New York