Healthy Living

What Is Central Vertigo?

What is Central Vertigo?

Key Takeaways

  • Central vertigo is a type of vertigo that originates from the central nervous system.
  • Central vertigo originates from an injury in the balance centers of the central nervous system. 
  • The cerebellum is responsible for the body's position in space. 

Types of Vertigo

When the world seems as though it is spinning, without cause, it is time to check with a doctor. There are two common forms of vertigo; central and peripheral.

  • Peripheral vertigo is one of the most common types of vertigo. It is usually caused by a problem in the inner ear, which is normally known to control the balance. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuronitis, and Meniere’s disease are known to cause trouble in the inner ear – leading to peripheral vertigo.
  • Central vertigo is known to be caused due to head injuries, migraines, brain tumors, etc. The treatment would usually involve finding the root cause of the problem and then managing the central vertigo.

Central vertigo is a type of vertigo that originates from the central nervous system (CNS). Though most forms of vertigo arise due to complications in the inner ear, this form of vertigo originates from injury in the balance centers of the CNS.

The cerebellum is responsible for interpreting messages sent from the inner ear’s semicircular canals about the body’s position in space. Any injury or damage to the cerebellum is bound to cause complications with the interpretation of these signals; thus, causing vertigo.

What Causes Central Vertigo?

The most common causes of central vertigo include:

  • Head injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Brain tumors
  • Strokes
  • Illness or infection affecting the cerebellum
  • Migraines
  • Transient ischemic attacks — small strokes that only occur for short periods and cause no permanent damage.

How Central Vertigo Occurs

Supply of blood to the brain is mainly done by two vertebral arteries, which originate from the neck and into the base of the brain where the medulla is present. It is at this point that these two vertebral arteries join to form a larger basilar artery, which then redistributes blood to the rest of the brain.

The cerebellum is supplied by blood from one of the vertebral arteries through the posterior inferior cerebellar artery, while the anterior inferior cerebellar artery and the superior cerebellar arteries branch from the basilar artery. The peripheral labyrinth, which includes all the organs in the inner ear, are also supplied blood by the vertebral arteries.

Because the cerebellum, brainstem, and peripheral labyrinth are all supplied by blood from the same source, any condition that affects one region can cause other regions to experience symptoms. For example, an arterial occlusion of one of the arteries supplying blood to the cerebellum can have consequences affecting the peripheral labyrinth. This interruption in blood supply can, as a result, cause an interruption in the way signals of balance are interpreted by the cerebellum, leading to symptoms of vertigo.

Signs and Symptoms of Central Vertigo

Central vertigo presents itself with similar symptoms to peripheral vertigo; however, the symptoms tend to be more intense and last for much longer.

  • Dizziness – a feeling that you are spinning or that objects around you are spinning when everything is still.
  • Nystagmus – these are uncontrollable eye movements after an episode of vertigo. With peripheral vertigo, these movements can be experienced for a minute afterwards. However, with central vertigo, this symptom can go on for hours. Nystagmus can even take longer, up to weeks or months during vertigo episodes, making it difficult to focus on a fixed point.

Other signs and symptoms 

symptoms such as hearing loss and tinnitus are rare with central vertigo. Other unique symptoms include headaches, trouble swallowing, and weakness.

Treatment of Central Vertigo

Since central vertigo is brought about by other causes, the only hope for treatment lies in identifying the root cause of vertigo. However, medications may be prescribed to help reduce the symptoms and make the vertigo episodes more tolerable.

When having a vertigo attack, lie down quietly on your back. If the room is dark, it will help to ease symptoms such as nausea and reduce the spinning sensation that occurs with vertigo. Take the medications as prescribed by the doctor. Completely avoid any kind of stressful activity as it can worsen the symptoms of vertigo.

Before going ahead with therapy, one should distinguish true vertigo from dizziness and other forms or disequilibrium. Once vertigo has been confirmed, then the central cause of it can be considered.

Home Remedies for Central Vertigo Treatment

  • Soak one tsp of amla or gooseberry powder along with one tsp of coriander seeds in water overnight. The next day, strain this mixture in a glass and drink it after adding a half tsp sugar.
  • One should try and relax the body as much as possible and get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can also aggravate vertigo, which would cause sudden instances of nausea and dizziness.
  • Increase intake of liquids, especially fresh fruit or vegetable juices. Water is also good to keep the body hydrated.
  • One should have a healthy diet loaded with vitamins and minerals. If you’re having salad, then sprinkle some lemon peel on it.
  • One should avoid sudden motions which could lead to imbalance while getting up from bed or while sitting.
  • If you’re having tea, ensure that you add a piece of raw ginger. You can also chew a piece of ginger instead. Ginger is known to be very good for controlling blood pressure and reduces symptoms such as nausea and headache.
  • Add some ripe strawberries in yogurt and mix them well. This would help to relieve some of the symptoms caused by vertigo.
  • When a person has a vertigo attack, the first symptoms he or she experience will be nausea and headache. As soon as these symptoms begin, immediately Combine a bit of salt, black pepper, and lemon juice in a glass of warm water. Drink this mixture to prevent the vertigo attack.
  • One of the most nutritious and readily available nuts are almonds. Grind some almonds and mix them in a glass of warm milk and consume the mixture. This drink tends to reduce the symptoms caused by vertigo.

Yoga Poses for Vertigo

Below are some yoga poses that can help patients with vertigo.

Child’s Pose

This very relaxing pose is meant to calm the mind. If a vertigo attack occurs, a restorative pose such as child’s pose would help to overcome dizziness. This pose helps to strengthen the nervous system with regular practice.

  1. Clear your focus.
  2. Bring the feet together as you widen the knees.
  3. Rest the abdomen on the thighs and buttocks on the feet.
  4. Slowly place the forehead on the ground.
  5. Hold feet with your palms.
  6. Hold this position for few minutes and then return to a normal position.

Viparita Karani

This is one of the beneficial asana for those suffering from vertigo. It tends to calm the mind and provide relief from headaches associated with vertigo.  

  1. It is recommended to close your eyes. Keeping your eyes closed can help regain the sense of balance.
  2. sit across from the wall and raise your legs up towards the wall.
  3. Gently lie down and stretch the arms to the sides, folding them at the elbows. This should resemble a cactus.
  4. Once you feel comfortable, close your eyes and start taking gradual long and deep breaths.
  5. Hold this position and release it after a few minutes.

Corpse pose 

This pose is known to completely relax the body.

  1. Lay on your back and let your arms and legs drop open, with the arms about 45 degrees from the sides of your body. Ensure that you are comfortable and warm. If you are cold, you may cover up with a blanket.
  2. Upon closing your eyes, take slow deep breaths through the nostrils. Allow the entire body to become heavy and soft, letting it completely relax on the floor. Once fully relaxed, turn your focus to the feeling of your body rising and falling with each inhale and exhale.
  3. Using your mind, do a scan of your body from fingers to toes, seeing areas of tension, contracted muscles, and tightness. Consciously relax and release these areas.
  4. Relinquish all control of your mind, body, and breath. Allow the body to go deeper into a completely relaxed state.
  5. Remain in this pose for 5-15 minutes.
  6. To release: slowly begin to take deeper breaths. Wiggle the toes and fingers. Reach your arms over your head and stretch out the entire body. Bend your knees into your chest and role onto your side into the fetal position. When ready, slowly inhale while returning to a seated position.

Before practicing any of the above poses, remember to:

  • Consult the doctor before starting any pose or asana. It is recommended that you start these poses under the guidance of a certified trainer to avoid any case of injury.
  • When practicing any of these poses, make sure you do it with the support of the wall to avoid any potential loss of balance.
  • Do not hold your breath at any point while practicing these poses. Doing so could cause other problems.
  • While doing any forward bend practice, stand up or sit down slowly without causing any jerk.
  • Avoid carrying out any exercise which would require forward bends.
  • Always be careful on how you place your neck.