Skip to Content

Migraine Related Vertigo & Dizziness

Vestibular migraine is now the internationally accepted term for a type of migraine that mainly presents with dizziness symptoms. We aim to improve the symptoms of dizziness associated with vestibular migraines and get to the root cause of the problem.

When you suffer from migraine-related dizziness, the duration of attacks is very variable, from seconds in some patients to days in others, but usually last minutes to hours. They mostly occur without headaches, although in around half of patients are followed by or occur with a headache or visual changes.

Vestibular migraine is the most common cause of recurrent spontaneous vertigo and the second most common vestibular disorder after benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

Common symptoms associated with a vestibular migraine are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Flushing
  • Diarrhoea
  • Visual changes such as blurring, flashing lights and difficulty focusing.

Patients also report difficulty concentrating, finding bright lights and loud sounds uncomfortable and, most commonly, feel extreme tiredness and fatigue, needing to sleep.

There is a strong association with Ménière’s disease, with approximately half of people with Ménière’s experiencing at least one migraine symptom during a Ménière’s attack.

The presence of visual symptoms during attacks is not expected in Ménière’s disease and this is often the key to making the correct diagnosis.

Who does it affect?

It affects about 10% of all migraineurs. Vestibular migraine may start at any age and affects females more than males with a 3:1 ratio. There are also signs to suggest it may have a link to genetics.

Migraine in general has been shown to be closely related to anxiety and depression and the most common cause is stress!  Most patients have one or more specific triggers and treatment therefore centres on identifying and managing these triggers in individual patients.

The top 5 most common triggers for vestibular migraine are;

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Poor sleep – both too little, and too much!
  • Hunger and dehydration – missing meals and not taking enough water
  • Dietary triggers – many common foods, especially caffeine and sodium (salt)
  • Hormonal changes – i.e. menstruation, menopause and in teenagers.

Other external triggers can include certain forms of lighting and ventilation, weather changes, smoking and strong odours.


How is it managed?

Treatment typically revolves around education and lifestyle and dietary changes/management. This has been shown to be successful in 80-90% of patients, with medication only needed in a minimal number of patients. Vestibular rehabilitation is also useful alongside this, to help with restoring and improving the balance systems in the body.

Our specialist clinicians are experienced and knowledgeable in vestibular conditions. They will conduct a thorough assessment to understand what it is that is affecting you, before aiming to provide you with a diagnosis alongside education and vestibular rehabilitation to reduce and resolve your symptoms.

Call us on 0114 267 1223 to book an appointment with one of our specialist vestibular clinicians.

magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram