“Spin me right round” is a fine 80s song, but not great when its your own body messing with you. Dizziness is a common complaint heard by doctors; this is because it can be a symptom of many, many physical illnesses and experiences (like aging). If you’re feeling dizzy, it’s important that you take careful stock of simultaneous symptoms, your surroundings and circumstances (are you moving quickly? drinking a lot of alcohol? did you purposefully spin around with your children?), and possible causes (are taking a lot of medication or eating poorly?). This will help you get rid of your dizziness faster, and, if necessary, help a doctor diagnose the root cause of your dizziness.
Here we’ve explained simple steps you can take to stop feeling dizzy as soon as possible, as well as outlined common symptoms and causes of dizziness, to help you better understand why you’re feeling dizzy. Dizziness is not a pleasant sensation, and can do much disrupt your daily life, so we hope this information helps you get rid of dizziness in the best and most efficient way possible.
- the feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning
- difficulty balancing
- feeling weak, faint, fatigued, or unsteady
- blurred vision after sudden movement
- difficulty concentrating
Causes of Dizziness
Your sense of balance is determined by three things, collectively known as the vestibular system: visual signals (your eyes), sensory signals (your nerves), and the sensors in your inner ear that detect gravity and back-and-forth movement. Dizziness occurs when two or more of these signals are disrupted. Below are brief explanations of some of the more common causes of dizziness…if yours isn’t on the list, checking with a doctor is pretty important.
The false sense of motion or spinning. Vertigo is one of the most common causes (and symptoms) of dizziness. It can be brought on by inflammation of the inner ear, build-up of fluid in the inner ear, vestibular migraines, acoustic neuroma (a benign growth on the acoustic nerve), rapid motion (think roller coasters) and, in extreme cases, neurological problems.
Loss of Balance
Caused by inner ear disorders, sensory problems, joint and muscle problems, and certain medications.
Most commonly caused by a drop in blood pressure or lowered output of blood from the heart (because of heart disease, blocked arteries, etc.).
Inner ear disorders, anxiety disorders, and problems breathing can also cause dizziness or “light-headedness.”
Best Ways to Get Rid of Dizziness
Move slowly and find a focal point as soon as you start to feel dizzy. If you’re feeling dizzy, sit down, lie down, or stand still and focus on an inanimate object like a wall or a piece of furniture. Not moving will help your body regain equilibrium, and forcing yourself to focus on something still can counteract other symptoms of dizziness like blurred vision and nausea. Rapid motion can cause a drop in blood pressure that causes dizziness, so after an episode of dizziness continue to move slowly until you feel steady on your feet.
Inspect Your Medications
Take a look at your medications if you’re feeling dizzy every day or almost every day. Dizziness can be a side-effect of certain medications, including anti-seizure drugs, sedatives, tranquilizers, antihistamines, and blood-pressure medication. If you think your feelings of dizziness are caused by your medication, talk to your doctor about side-effects, alternative medications, and the possibility of changing your dosage.
Modify Your Diet
Modifying your diet can reduce dizziness. Caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can all contribute to feelings of dizziness, or even cause dizziness in people prone to vertigo, problems balancing, and light-headedness. Artificial sweeteners and highly sweet or salty foods can also affect your body’s ability to balance if you’re prone to dizziness (aspartame can inhibit the central nervous system, and sweet/salty snacks can affect your inner ear fluid). Eliminating or reducing these elements in your diet can also reduce your dizziness, and certainly won’t hurt your overall health.
Stay hydrated to keep from feeling dizzy. Dehydration is a very common cause of dizziness, especially during exercise and hot weather. Make an effort to drink the recommended 8 glasses (64 ounces) of water a day or more — more especially if you’re working outside and/or athletically active. Be aware of situations where you may become dehydrated quickly (sweating, consuming alcohol, losing bodily fluids from illness) and try to keep a bottle of water with you at all times. We love tea to help with this, and we suggest Tazo Green Ginger tea, sold here at Amazon.
See a Doctor
See a doctor as soon as possible if you experience frequent or long-term dizziness, or if you experience dizziness along with any of the following symptoms: loss of consciousness, difficulty walking, weakness in your legs or arms, difficulty speaking, difficulty hearing, difficulty seeing, numbness, severe headache, dehydration, severe ear pain, high fever (100.5 degrees Farenheit or higher), slowed heart rate, or chest pain. See the information below, for more information on possible medical treatments of dizziness.
Natural Dizziness Treatments
Practice deliberate movement to recover from a dizzy spell. Stand up and walk slowly in straight lines, using a cane or similar object to steady yourself if necessary. If you experience chronic dizziness or dizziness as a medical side-effect, practicing slow and focused motion for a short period every day may help lessen the effects of your dizziness.
You can also practice exercises designed to build focal strength.Strengthen your visual focus by tracking moving objects (like your hand, or passing traffic) with your eyes while sitting or standing still. Or, conversely, you can focus on a still object while surrounding by moving objects. Try sitting and standing with your eyes closed. Practice tandem walking (placing one foot directly in front of the other), or walking on uneven surfaces (like up and down a hill).
Avoidance of Certain Activities
Avoid dizziness-inducing activities, like heavy exercise in hot weather, rapidly-moving rides or roller coasters, or heavy drinking. If you know what makes you dizzy, and the misery of dizziness outweighs the enjoyment of the activity, take the common sense route and avoid the cause of your dizziness.
Medical Treatments for Dizziness
If you’re experiencing severe or chronic dizziness, especially dizziness accompanied by any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it’s time to see your doctor for medical treatment. Because dizziness is a common medical complaint that can be symptomatic of a myriad of medical conditions (see the information on causes to the left), your doctor will base your treatment on your accompanying symptoms.
If your doctor diagnoses vertigo (officially known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV) as the cause of your dizziness, you will likely undergo simple physical therapy to move particles of calcium carbonate crystals loose within your inner ear. When these particles break loose and fall into the wrong parts of the ear canal, you experience vertigo; by manuevering your head in a delibarate manner, you may be able to move the offending particles to a different location, where they can be reabsorbed into the inner ear fluid. BPPV is a common result of aging, or trauma to the head.
Your doctor will likely treat dizziness caused by other inner ear conditions, vestibular migraines, and anxiety by treating the source of these conditions; diet modification, counseling, and coaching to avoid triggers are common approaches. Other physical ailments, such as ear infection or heart problems, can cause dizziness and will need to be treated on an individual basis.
Medications specifically designed to combat symptoms of dizziness are another treatment option. These medications include Meclizine (Antivert), Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), a Scopolamine patch, Prochlorperazine (Compazine), and Promethazine (Phenergan). Be sure to talk to your doctor about all your treatment option before beginning medical regimine to get rid of your dizziness.