What is vertigo?

Vertigo feels like everything around you is spinning – enough to affect your balance. It is more than just feeling dizzy.

A Vertigo attack can last from a few seconds to a few hours. If you have severe vertigo, it can last for many days or months.

What causes vertigo?

Peripheral vertigo, the most common type, is often caused by a problem with the balance mechanisms of the inner ear.

Vertigo can be a symptom of several different conditions.

The causes include:

  • Side effects of certain medication
  • Vestibular neuronitis
  • Head injuries
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Labyrinthitis is inflammation within the inner ear
  • Excess alcohol

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo may occur for no apparent reason, or it may develop after:

  • An ear infection
  • Ear surgery
  • Head injury
  • Prolonged bed rest

What are the symptoms of vertigo?

The symptoms of vertigo include:

  • Dizziness or a feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Problems with walking or standing
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Hearing loss or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty focusing the eyes

It’s important to see a doctor if you are experiencing persistent symptoms of vertigo, as it can be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Are you affected by vertigo?

If you’re affected by vertigo, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Together, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with vertigo, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy  and social activities to people with vertigo from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with vertigo

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with vertigo? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including vertigo, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity’s library has a range of resources on vertigo and on many other related neurological conditions

Visit our library to read Hearing Problems by M. Shanks, or search the catalogue online here.

Support groups

Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up a vertigo support group, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

Meniere’s society (UK charity for vestibular disorders)

Helpline: 01306 876883