Vertigo(Bhrama)
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Introduction

 

Vertigo is a very rampant disease condition, but unfortunately not much is known about the condition. When people talk about vertigo, most people think about dizziness. However, there is a thin symptomatic line of difference between normal dizziness and vertigo. Vertigo is a much serious and persistent condition. In Sanskrit, its symptoms can be equated with bhrama. In the US, vertigo is commonly known as head rush.

Alfred Hitchcock made the word vertigo famous with his movie of the same title. But in fact, vertigo does not actually mean ‘fear of heights’. This is a very general misconception. Fear of heights is medically termed as acrophobia. Hence, this discussion is about the real meaning of vertigo, i.e. bhrama, and not acrophobia.

Definition of Vertigo (Bhrama)

 

Vertigo or bhrama is a balance disorder, which is also commonly known as head rush or spinning sensation. A person suffering from vertigo will experience a sense of spinning of the entire surroundings and find that they are unable to stand in an upright position.

The onset of vertigo is created in different ways. In some people, vertigo comes on very suddenly. In such cases, the bout of vertigo is accompanied by feelings of nausea or vomiting. However, most people have vertigo without even knowing it. For such cases, vertigo attacks come on very gradually, so that there is a just a mild feeling of loss of balance. Such people may just describe their vertigo attack as poor balance.

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Causes of Vertigo (Bhrama)

Causes of Vertigo

Ayurveda has a very elaborate explanation for bhrama. It is explained as a disorder of the vata and the pitta doshas. When the vata and pitta doshas are excited – either one or both – then it causes an abnormal functioning of the balance mechanism within the inner part of the ear.

The main cause of vertigo is a vestibular imbalance, which means an imbalance in the inner part of the ear. This interferes with the coordination of the stimuli and response, i.e. the person is not able to provide proper reflex actions. On a general perspective, any defect in the flow of oxygen to the ear can cause vertigo attacks.

Such an imbalance can be brought on by any of the following factors:-

Viral illnesses such as common cold can cause vertigo.

Ear problems such as discharge, perforation of the eardrum or infection in the ear cavity can cause vertigo.

Cardiovascular disorders such as heart rhythms, valve diseases or low blood pressure can cause vertigo.

Anemia and migraine can trigger vertigo.

Serious neck ailments such as cervical spondylosis cause vertigo. Cervical spondylosis is the deficiency of the arteries in the neck to supply blood to the cerebellum.

Arthritic pains can precipitate vertigo.

Accidents on the head which create concussions can cause vertigo.

Brain tumors are also responsible for vertigo.

Ménière’s disease is a special condition that causes vertigo. People having Ménière’s disease have recurrent problems with the inner ear which is characterized by pressure differences within the ear and tinnitus (ringing of the ears). People with Ménière’s disease develop conditions of vertigo in some time.

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Types of Vertigo (Bhrama) with their Symptoms

There are two main types of vertigo depending on where the pitta or vata imbalance occurs. These types of vertigo are described below:-

(i) Peripheral Vertigo

Peripheral vertigo is the more severe of the two types of vertigo. It is the basic vestibular imbalance of the inner ear. Common symptoms of this type of vertigo are:-

  • There are intermittent bouts of dizziness and giddiness.
  • Decrease in the cognitive ability, i.e. the rational capacity of the brain is observed.
  • There is nausea and vomiting.
  • There is muscle ache in the neck and back region.
  • Tinnitus is common, i.e. ringing sensations in the internal ear.
  • There may be hearing loss during the bout of dizziness.
  • Nystagmus, or rapid eye movement is caused.

(ii) Central Vertigo

Central vertigo is caused due to lesions in the brainstem. This is milder than peripheral vertigo and is less recurrent in timing. The following symptoms are seen in this type of vertigo:-

  • Multidirectional pain is felt.
  • There are deficiencies in reflex actions.
  • Speech is incoherent and slurred, i.e. dysarthria is developed.
  • There is ataxia, i.e. problems in movement and coordination of the limbs.
  • The brain is not able to concentrate on things, i.e. the concentration ability is impaired.

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Symptoms of Vertigo (Bhrama)

In both the above types of vertigo, there are the following symptoms noticed:-

  • There is acute dizziness, which is also called as lightheadedness.
  • It seems as though the world is moving around the person; this is called as the spinning notion.
  • Nausea and vomiting is felt in almost all attacks of vertigo. These feelings are acuter if the attack has come on suddenly.
  • There is a palpitation of the heart.
  • The person is prone to excessive sweating and panting during the attack of vertigo.
  • There is a blurring of the vision and the person cannot focus on a single object.
  • People suffering from vertigo are incapable of concentrating whole-heartedly in any one thing.
  • Depression and feeling of malaise are common.

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Complications due to Vertigo (Bhrama)

There are many complications that can arise due to prolonged bouts of vertigo. The following are some of the complications:-

Long standing vertigo is called as chronic vertigo. In chronic vertigo, the brain gradually gets permanently impaired. As a result the memory of the person becomes weak, the concentration becomes faulty and the rational capacity of the person is greatly reduced.

Constant feelings of nausea and vomiting can cause anorexia nervosa, a condition in which the person begins to dislike food. As a result, the person can lose weight drastically and succumb to other diseases. Infections may turn out to be common.

Chronic vertigo can also bring on severe eye problems. There may be persistent conditions of diplopia, i.e. double vision.

The most common complication of vertigo is injury due to falls. During the bouts of vertigo, people lose their balance and fall. If this fall is steep, then the person may get critically injured and also lose his or her life.

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Transmission of Vertigo (Bhrama)

Vertigo is a non communicable disease since it is a neurological disorder. There is no way that the condition of vertigo can be spread from one person to another by means of any physical or spatial communication. However, there is a strong indication that vertigo may be hereditary. Hereditary vertigo is observed to a greater extent in men than in women.

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Prevention of Vertigo (Bhrama)

Simple cases of vertigo can be prevented just by adjusting the posture or taking care of changes in the body. The following are some tips:-

If you have a history of vertigo, do not stand all of a sudden. Come to the edge of your seat, recline a while, and then stand. This helps the blood to gradually fill into your legs which have to now support you better in standing position.

Even while getting up from a lying position, do not stand up directly. First sit on the bed for a while, and then gradually get up.

Have a hot water bath in the morning. This helps better circulation of blood in the body. Have a steam and sauna session done occasionally.

Do not wear tight clothing that can cramp up the blood vessels.

Smoking and alcoholism must be strictly avoided as they tamper with the blood circulation seriously. Drunkenness may lead to the death of a vertigo patient, as the person would have totally zero control over his or her own body in an inebriated state.

People with vertigo must avoid going in places which have short supply of air.

Also heights must be avoided as a giddy spell at a height could make the person plummet to death.

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Diet during Vertigo (Bhrama)

Vertigo is caused when there is a poor oxygen supply to the brain, leading to giddiness. Hence, the diet that is to be taken by vertigo patients must be a vata pacifying diet. The following dietary guidelines can be followed:-

Do not consume a dry diet. Let the diet be rich in water content, i.e. use gravies and curries. Begin your diet with a soup.

Eat all your meals when they are a little warm.

Avoid all kinds of snacks and fast foods. These just whet the appetite temporarily but do not provide any nourishment. Hence, burgers, French Fries, pizzas, colas, popcorn, etc. are out.

Have fluids regularly. Fruit juices must be preferably had.

Eat all your meals at fixed times every day so as not to confuse the body clock. Do not skip meals.

Do not consume vegetables in raw condition. Salads are an exception.

Fats must be present in the diet. Use a little ghee or other saturated fats while cooking. But do not deep fry any food.

Nuts and warm milk make for an excellent food before going to bed if you are suffering from vata. Almonds and cashew nuts are preferable. However, remember not to go overboard with the nuts, or they could increase pitta and raise the agni. This could result in constipation.

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Ayurvedic Treatment for Vertigo (Bhrama)

In Ayurveda, generally the treatment of vertigo is done by introducing herbs within the diet of the person. The following is a list of some of the best herbs that have been traditionally used since centuries for the treatment of vertigo:-

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action on the Human Body

Ashwagandha

Withania somnifera

Winter Cherry

Ashwagandha helps in improving the flow of oxygen in the body. It is used for respiratory problems that may follow bhrama.

Gingko

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo

Ginkgo is the most effective herb to treat any kind of circulatory maladies in the human system. It facilitates the better flow of oxygen and blood to all parts of the body. In this manner, it helps in reducing and finally eliminating the giddiness that is vertigo. Ginkgo also takes care of ringing in the ears, i.e. tinnitus, which is a common symptom of vertigo patients.

Vacha

Acorus calamus

Sweet Flag, Calamus

The roots of the vacha tree provide relief for people suffering from vertigo.

The following preparations have special benefits in solving vertigo problems:-

  • Triphala
  • Sarpagandha – must be taken if there is headache along with the vertigo attack
  • Muktabhasma
  • Sutasekhara rasa – must be taken with juice of amlaki and honey
  • Saraswatarishtha and Ashwagandharishtha­ – must be taken if the person has nervous breakdown with the attack
  • Yogendra rasa – must be taken twice daily with milk for better benefits.

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Post Your Comments

Comment Script

Comments

some really helpfull information!
#1 - alisha - 03/02/2008 - 07:30
Please note that people with multiple sclerosis, a cause of both central and peripheral vertigo, should avoid gingko and heat/steam, as these both worsen symptoms.
#2 - marilyn - 11/28/2008 - 20:14
Dizziness or light-headedness often not life threatening can lead to fatal injuries and accidents. Advances in natural vertigo treatments helps to alleviate your symptoms without depressing your nervous system or producing drowsiness. They are safe and do not cause dependence. The natural therapy kits (Biogetica) consist of time-tested resonance homeopathic, nutraceutical and biotechnology therapies. This integrated approach has shown wonderful results in most cases.
#3 - Lisa - 08/23/2010 - 04:48
This is horrible, I have been trying to figure out what is causing my dizziness, nausea, vomiting, motion sickness,,, thoughjt it was one of my meds ... is there a test for vertigo and i read somewhere lyme disease can be one of the cuases?? i cant even type without closing one eye... PLEASE HELP
#4 - Karen - 10/08/2010 - 01:39
Faulty sitting positions can cause spondilysis, which in turn results in a form of Vertigo. Long hours before computers are main reasons. Can be controlled by daily exercise of the neck and back-bone.
#5 - himanshu - 10/19/2010 - 01:11
im 38, female, hava lightheadedness the doc prescribed meds for hypertension maintenance my bp is 130/90
#6 - jen - 11/07/2010 - 19:58
Is Vertigo a permanent disease? If once cured can it happen again?
#7 - Yash - 02/25/2011 - 05:16
I have had Vertigo for 10 plus years, currently having problems again lately. Has anyone had any success, I have had some relief with some uniwue exercises.
#8 - John - 03/28/2011 - 10:38
thank you very much normally doctor diagnoses this as blood pressure and after that they p[@] this case to orthopedic for cervical disorder and then to nuro but this article is the best guidance to the patient
#9 - srikanthbhagi - 04/11/2011 - 09:29
This is the best, most informative article I've ever found on vertigo. Now I know how to help my mother, who has been suffering from vertigo attack the past few years. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! God! Amen :o)
#10 - Lisa M. Smith - 04/30/2011 - 09:50
Thanks for the info. Currently I'm on Betaserc 24mg. My attacks have been quite severe for the past 1 yr. I also have problems with my left shoulder. Can't lift my left arm fully. Is it a nerve problem [@]ociated with Meniere's ? Would Ayurvedic m[@]age and treatment really help/ Anybody?
#11 - Shanon - 05/09/2011 - 20:55
thanks for this information.....I had my vertigo attack for almost 5 yrs now,this is the only article I liked most because it gives info regarding bad food and good food for a vertigo patient...tnx alot! God bless you.
#12 - bing - 06/25/2011 - 21:25
Really this information gives 50% remedy to the patients without medecine. Thank u very much.
#13 - GK - 06/26/2011 - 11:46
I have had vertigo for a long time, due to loud attillery fire. But in 2001 i had a bad attack which put me out the work i was doing. I was about 57 years old and believe me. i have had therapy, madicine and you name it, it dont go away. good luck to you all. Phillip
#14 - phillip - 07/09/2011 - 19:20
I am so glad that I stumbled across this site. I have been a vertigo sufferer for 25 years due to domestic violence beatings in my first marriage. I take meclazine but that just puts me to sleep. Last night I had wine and am now convinced to quit alcohol all together and get more fresh air. I never put these things together. Still learning how to cope. Thanks again.
#15 - Lisa - 07/27/2011 - 19:26
Great information! I have suffered with vertigo for 8 years and this article has information I haven't heard about. I'll try the herbs ASAP.
#16 - Claire - 08/03/2011 - 11:06
any treatment for vertigo
#17 - senthil - 08/17/2011 - 04:38
I had a bad vertigo attacked last sunday...i took herbal it helps a little bit...balance still not quite back to normal...hoping there's a cure..i want to go back to work...God Bless us all..
#18 - flory - 08/17/2011 - 20:40
THE INFORMATION HERE HAS HELPED ME KNOW ABOUT THE SYMPTOMS CAUSING VERTIGO.
#19 - ABHILASH - 08/30/2011 - 11:38
How much Ginkgo should one take per day to help with vertigo & tinnitus
#20 - Steve Morrison - 09/17/2011 - 06:00
It was informd by Dr that i have severe Pheriparal Vertigo,No medicine is curing the problem for the last 45 days. Severe neck pain,Giddiness,vomitingsensation..Pl suggest
#21 - Madhu - 09/19/2011 - 05:55
There is a certain manipulation that is done to the head to change the places of the crystals in the ear which can get rid of vertigo.
#22 - ... - 09/26/2011 - 21:41
@Madhu> Visit http://paarijata.wordpress.com and take proper suggestion.
#23 - Rajat Kapoor - 09/30/2011 - 04:22
This is really great info!! I've had vertigo for the last year. It has not been fun, to say the least! I've had to stop working. I've tried drugs but they make me feel worse. So far, the only thing that helps a little is acupuncture. Gonna look for the herbs ASAP!!!
#24 - Isiris - 09/30/2011 - 21:36
Look uo BPPV. It is an inner ear disorder which I have had for 15+ years. THe Epley Maneuver fixes my dizziness in a couple of days.
#25 - Laurie - 10/05/2011 - 08:11
anything about heart palps?
#26 - rain - 10/15/2011 - 21:07
I have been recently diagonsed for vertigo. I have been on vertin tab for last 4 weeks, but it is not giving any relief. though I did not have any severe dizziness, but often I fell imbalance in walking and heavness in upper back, and ringing sould in one ear. Can any body suggest some medicinies which will give permanent relief
#27 - RAJESH - 10/16/2011 - 00:34
i I HAVE Meniere's disease is an inner ear disorder IN TWO YEAR YET DID''T SOLVE
#28 - karthikmuthukumar - 01/19/2012 - 07:47
very often i am suffering from vertigo. just before some time there is no any symptoms of vertigo, but suddenly i feels that i cant constraint on one thing, i cant see thing properly, means if i am watching TV i can watch only straight, i cant notice from left/right position, in my left or right there is something blurring. shall i undergo proper medication or there is some normal medicines for these. will this go any major dis-order of any part of body?
#29 - sangeeta - 03/12/2012 - 02:24
very nicely information having detail of causes
#30 - hps nagi - 03/30/2012 - 14:17
i have been dizzy for just over a month now. at first i was diagnosed with having a panic attack and was givin Lorazepam 1Mg. made me twice as dizzy. second diagnosis was Acute Labyrinthitis. Meclizene was recommended but i opted out. went to an ENT doc. my ears check out ok. which leads him to believe i have a blood flow issue in the back of my brain. Nortriptyline was prescribed. im about a week into this drug and no results. im constantly dizzy! i feel for the above people! any advise? i will use some of the info found here. thanks for the info & support!
#31 - dizz - 05/14/2012 - 23:21
today i knw my boy frnd is suffering from vertigo. Is vertigo a serious disease? Is it cause loss to life? Please tell me i m very sad. I dont want to lose him. . I love him alot
#32 - rolla - 05/28/2012 - 15:56
i am suffering from severe vertigo i cannot stand properly and see properly so how it is cure?
#33 - A.SHIVAPRASAD - 07/28/2012 - 11:13
I have read all the comments and I can feel the pain as I am also a vertigo attacks sufferer...I came to know about it recently ...I have neck ache and walking problems ..I lose balance while walking....I am just 32 years old and I have got to work...but I am really scared to go out of the house ...tried all medications ...is ther e a way I could get over it??
#34 - priya - 08/03/2012 - 00:30
Very good information with Ayurvedic medicines.Thanks alot.
#35 - Dhansukh Patwa - 12/17/2012 - 03:42
Thank you so much for this article. Very informative and helpful. As far myself is concerned, It seems that hot climate and hotter season does help tremendously. Almost to the point of just non existing. But unfortunately I live in the cold climate which agravates my problem and I have had to suffer from bouts of occasional dizziness and ringing in the ear. Isn't it ironic that local car plates say " the best place on Earth"?. Very biting sense of humour, indeed.! Regardless, I will try hot baths, sauna, and Gingko ...Thanks..
#36 - Steven - 01/29/2013 - 01:49
BILOVAS by ZYDUS CADILLA uses GINGKO herb
It appears to be a good medicine for vertigo.
#37 - basant - 02/17/2013 - 01:01
virtigo can be cured by weight loss
#38 - kitty - 03/18/2013 - 05:21
Dr. has prescribed meclizine, so I am going to try that. Also I used an over the counter topical solution call Divertigo (ingredients, Lavender Frankincense, Myrrh, peppermint, ylang-ylang and chamomile 1-2 drops on finger and rub behind earlobe. Relief in 3-5 mins. Relief not cure, but it works for me. also good info here on foods to avoid, will try that also. Keep all meds handy and carry in your bag or purse or pocket. Wish everyone the best with their respective ordeals.
#39 - Tina - 09/19/2013 - 16:31
I am suffering from back pain. please inform that sutable thailam
#40 - Jayan - 12/27/2013 - 11:19
Very useful tips!! I also found some more interesting and useful tips from the following website…I think this might also help you frnds… http://healthcarewell.com/home-remedies-for-dizziness-giddiness-and-vertigo/
#41 - hemashree - 09/08/2014 - 02:34
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