Treatments and drugs

Doctors base treatment of dizziness on the cause and your symptoms.

  • BPPV. Treatment of BPPV is with canalith repositioning, a simple procedure that involves your doctor or physical therapist maneuvering the position of your head. The goal is to move the loose particles in your ear to a place within your ear where they won't cause dizziness and will be reabsorbed into your body's fluids. The success rate of this procedure may be as high as 90 percent. You may need to have the procedure repeated.
  • Inner ear conditions. Balance retraining exercises (vestibular rehabilitation) are used to treat acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis. These are exercises you learn from a physical therapist or occupational therapist and then do at home. This rehabilitation involves movements of your head and body to correct loss of balance. To provide immediate relief of nausea and dizziness, your doctor may prescribe medications such as meclizine (Antivert), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) and diazepam (Valium). A short course of corticosteroids may improve your vestibular function.
  • Meniere's disease. Treatment of Meniere's disease involves reducing your body's retention of fluids through diuretic use and often dietary changes, such as a low-salt diet. Occasionally, surgery is an option.
  • Vestibular migraine. To combat vertigo associated with a vestibular migraine, your doctor will likely try to help you determine and avoid the triggers for your attacks. He or she may suggest that you avoid certain foods, reduce stress in your life, develop a regular sleep pattern and practice aerobic exercise. You may also be taught specific exercises to help make your balance system less sensitive to motion (vestibular rehabilitation). Certain medicines may help prevent attacks of migrainous vertigo or make them less uncomfortable by providing relief for nausea and vomiting.
  • Anxiety disorders. Your doctor may suggest medications and psychotherapy, either alone or in combination, to help you deal with your anxiety and manage your dizziness.
  • Other contributing health conditions. Your doctor will recommend treatment of an existing disease or disorder that may be causing or contributing to your dizziness, such as ear infection, stroke, heart problems or multiple sclerosis.

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