Dizziness often gets better without treatment. Within a couple of weeks, the body usually adapts to whatever is causing it.
If you seek treatment, your doctor will base it on the cause of your condition and your symptoms. It may include medications and balance exercises. Even if no cause is found or if your dizziness persists, prescription drugs and other treatments may make your symptoms more manageable.
- Water pills. If you have Meniere's disease, your doctor may prescribe a water pill (diuretic). This along with a low-salt diet may help reduce how often you have dizziness episodes.
- Medications that reduce the dizziness. Antihistamines such as meclizine (Antivert) may offer short-term relief from vertigo. Anticholinergics help reduce dizziness. They include scopolamine skin patches (Transderm Scop).
- Anti-nausea medications. Your doctor may prescribe a drug to provide immediate relief of nausea. Some of these can cause drowsiness.
- Anti-anxiety medications. Diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) are in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which may cause addiction. They may also cause drowsiness.
- Preventive medicine for migraine. Certain medicines may help prevent attacks of migraine.
- Head position maneuvers. A technique called canalith repositioning (or Epley maneuver) usually helps resolve benign paroxysmal positional vertigo more quickly than simply waiting for your dizziness to go away. It can be done by your doctor, an audiologist or a physical therapist and involves maneuvering the position of your head. It's usually effective after one or two treatments. Before undergoing this procedure, tell your care provider if you have a neck or back condition, a detached retina or blood vessel problems.
- Balance therapy. You may learn specific exercises to help make your balance system less sensitive to motion. This physical therapy technique is called vestibular rehabilitation. It is used for people with dizziness from inner ear conditions such as vestibular neuritis.
- Psychotherapy. This type of therapy may help people whose dizziness is caused by anxiety disorders.
Surgical or other procedures
Aug. 11, 2015
- Injections. Your doctor may inject your inner ear with the antibiotic gentamicin to disable the balance function. The unaffected ear takes over that function.
- Removal of the inner ear sense organ. A procedure that's rarely used is called labyrinthectomy. It disables the vestibular labyrinth in the affected ear. The other ear takes over the balance function. This technique may be used if you have serious hearing loss and your dizziness hasn't responded to other treatments.
- Marx JA, et al., eds. Dizziness and vertigo. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. Chronic subjective dizziness (adult and pediatric). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Dizziness. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Yuan Q, et al. Anxiety and depression among patients with different types of vestibular peripheral vertigo. Medicine. 2015;94:1.
- Kim JS, et al. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. New England Journal of Medicine. 2015;370:1138.
- Goldman L, et al. Hearing and equilibrium. In: Goldman's Cecil's Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Tucci DL. Dizziness and vertigo. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/ear-nose-and-throat-disorders/approach-to-the-patient-with-ear-problems/dizziness-and-vertigo. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Dizziness and motion sickness. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/dizziness-and-motion-sickness. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Mitsunaga MM, et al. Head CT scans in the emergency department for syncope and dizziness. AJR. 2015;204:24.
- Flint PW, et al. Peripheral vestibular disorders. In: Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Longo DL, et al. Dizziness and vertigo. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Dizziness/vertigo. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/medical-conditions/d/dizzinessvertigo.aspx. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Branch WT, et al. Approach to the patient with dizziness. www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Furman JM, et al. Treatment of vertigo. Http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Maarsingh OR, et al. Causes of persistent dizziness in elderly patients in primary care. Annals of Family Medicine. 2010;8:196-205.
- Hyperthermia: Too hot for your health. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hyperthermia. Accessed June 30, 2015.
- Brainard A, et al. Prevention and treatment of motion sickness. American Family Physician. 2014;90:42.
- Canalith repositioning procedure — for treatment of BPPV. Vestibular Disorders Association. http://vestibular.org/understanding-vestibular-disorders/treatment/canalith-repositioning-procedure-bppv. Accessed July 1, 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.