Health Advice



Getting relief from vertigo

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

The average American household has 25 internet-connected devices and gets news from four different pieces of equipment or technologies. That's enough to make your head spin!

But that's not the reason 20% to 40% of you will experience vertigo at least once in your life. Vertigo is a sensation that you and/or the world is spinning, rocking or tilting. Standing, walking, changing positions or moving your head may trigger the sensation. For some folks, it's transitory, for others it can last for hours, days or longer.

Vertigo is a possible symptom of:

-- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: The most common trigger, BPPV is caused when tiny calcium crystals come loose in the inner ear and flow into fluid-filled areas, causing disruption.

-- Meniere's disease: This condition causes fluids to build up inside the ear, leading to vertigo.

-- Labyrinthitis: This is an inflammation or infection of the inner ear.

-- Vestibular neuritis: This is caused by an inflammation of the vestibular nerve.

-- Cholesteatoma: Repeated ear infections can cause a noncancerous skin growth in the middle ear, which triggers vertigo.


-- Migraines, diabetes, medications, low blood pressure, brain disease or tumors may cause symptoms.

The good news? A meta-study in JAMA reveals that antihistamines provide greater relief for acute vertigo than potentially addictive benzodiazepines such as Xanax, which have traditionally been prescribed. So, the next time you get vertigo, take an antihistamine, talk to your doctor, and if you have BPPV, see a vestibular physical therapist to learn exercises that can get those tiny crystals back to where they belong.


Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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