A migraine is a complex neurological disorder that can manifest in different ways. One not-so-well-known manifestation but still very common is the vestibular migraine.
What is a Vestibular Migraine?
A vestibular migraine is a form of migraine characterized by vestibular symptoms. These symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, aura, vomiting, and vertigo. Vestibular migraines typically last for less than 72 hours, although some people may experience symptoms for longer periods.
Vestibular migraine migraines are common in people with a history of migraine attacks but often happen without the headache pain that is commonly associated with migraines. Nevertheless, these symptoms can still be debilitating and interfere with daily activities.
Statistics show vestibular migraines affect about 1 percent of the world population. However, the condition is often underdiagnosed because the symptoms tend to mimic other conditions like Meniere’s disease or labyrinthitis – meaning the figure could be even higher.
Symptoms of Vestibular Migraines
The most common symptom of vestibular migraine is vertigo – a disorienting and unsettling feeling or sensation that everything around you is whirling and spinning. It is also often accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Loss of balance
- Motion sickness (triggered by sudden movements or tilting your head)
- Blurred vision
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities
- Ringing or buzzing in your ears
What Causes Vestibular Migraines?
The exact cause of vestibular migraines is unknown. However, there are several possible triggers outlined below:
Genetic predisposition: As with any other form of migraine, vestibular migraines have a genetic component. If you have a family history of migraines, you are more likely to develop the condition as well.
Stress: Stress is a common trigger for all types of migraines. If you’re experiencing a lot of stress in your life, it may be one of the factors contributing to your vestibular migraines.
Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes can also trigger migraines in some people. This is especially true for women who experience migraines around the time of their period.
Sensory overload: If you’re frequently exposed to loud noises or bright lights, this could be one of the factors that are causing your vestibular migraines.
Poor sleep: Not getting enough sleep can also trigger migraines in some people. If you find that you often experience vestibular migraines after a night of poor sleep, sleep deprivation may be the trigger.
A history of migraine attacks: If you have a history of migraine attacks, you’re more likely to develop vestibular migraines.
Trigger foods: Certain foods can trigger migraines in some people. Common trigger foods include chocolate, caffeine, cheese, and red wine.
How Are Vestibular Migraines Treated?
There is no cure for migraines, but there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms. Most medical interventions used for traditional migraines can also be applied to vestibular migraines. These include:
There are a number of medications that can help relieve the symptoms of migraines, including vestibular migraines. These include over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin, as well as prescription medications like triptans and anti-nausea drugs. Medications used to manage vertigo/vertigo-related disorders may also prove effective.
If you experience migraines frequently, your doctor may recommend preventive treatments to help reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. These treatments can include medications like beta blockers and anticonvulsants, as well as lifestyle changes like stress reduction, getting enough sleep, and avoiding trigger foods.
Often mistaken for other conditions, vestibular migraines are a type of migraine that can cause debilitating symptoms like vertigo and dizziness. While there is no cure for migraines, there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms and improve quality of life.
If you think you may be suffering from vestibular migraines in Newark NJ or Chatham NJ, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you.