What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a medical condition that causes a person to feel as if they are spinning or whirling, even when they are standing still. This sensation is known as “dizziness” and can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, and ringing in the ears. Vertigo is a common symptom of many disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS). But does MS cause vertigo?
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, autoimmune neurological disorder, which affects the central nervous system. It is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. This damage can cause a wide range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, sensory disturbances, balance problems, and cognitive issues. It is estimated that more than 2.3 million people worldwide have MS.
Is There a Link Between MS and Vertigo?
Although MS is not considered to be a primary cause of vertigo, it can be a factor in some cases. Vertigo is a common symptom of MS and can be caused by damage to the nerves that control balance. It is estimated that up to 40 percent of people with MS experience vertigo. In addition to this, vertigo can also be caused by changes in the brainstem, which is the part of the brain that controls balance.
What Are the Symptoms of MS-Related Vertigo?
The symptoms of MS-related vertigo can vary from person to person. Commonly reported symptoms include a feeling of spinning or whirling, as well as a sensation of tilting or rocking. In addition to this, people may also experience nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, and ringing in the ears. These symptoms can be mild or severe and may come and go.
How Is MS-Related Vertigo Diagnosed?
MS-related vertigo is diagnosed by a doctor using a physical examination, as well as laboratory tests, imaging studies, and neurologic tests. During a physical examination, the doctor will look for signs of neurological damage, such as muscle weakness, changes in reflexes, or changes in sensation. Laboratory tests can be used to check for signs of inflammation or autoimmune activity, while imaging studies can be used to check for structural damage to the brain or spine.
How Is MS-Related Vertigo Treated?
The treatment for MS-related vertigo depends on the underlying cause of the condition. In some cases, medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, anticonvulsants, or antidepressants may be prescribed to help reduce symptoms. Other treatments, such as vestibular rehabilitation therapy, can also be beneficial. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is a type of physical therapy that helps to improve balance and reduce dizziness.
The Bottom Line
Multiple sclerosis can be a factor in some cases of vertigo. Vertigo is a common symptom of MS, and can be caused by damage to the nerves that control balance. If you are experiencing symptoms of vertigo, it is important to speak to your doctor to determine the underlying cause and to discuss treatment options. With the right treatment, it is possible to manage the symptoms of vertigo and improve your quality of life.