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Dizziness can feel like you’re off balance or unsteady. It can also feel like you’re lightheaded. Or it can feel like you or your surroundings are spinning or turning — also called “vertigo.”

Just as there are different types of dizziness, there are different causes, including:

  • Poor circulation
  • Dehydration
  • Medication
  • Anxiety
  • Brain injury
  • Infection
  • Allergies
  • Neurological disease

Many types of dizziness are caused by inner ear diseases, such as:

  • Benign positional vertigo — the most common cause of dizziness after head injury. It can occur suddenly, after you move your head, look up, turn over or make other changes in head position. It can last from days to months.
  • Meniere’s disease — which includes vertigo that can last for hours along with nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ear and often hearing loss.
  • Migraine — which can be similar to Meniere’s disease, but usually includes a headache.

Everyone feels dizzy now and then — especially when getting up too quickly after sitting or lying down. Dizziness most often corrects itself. But, severe cases may require help from an otolaryngologist, a doctor who is trained to manage ear, nose and throat diseases and identify neurological and equilibrium disorders.


It’s important to identify the cause of your dizziness so you can find the right treatment.

  • First, your doctor will ask you to describe your dizziness. Is it lightheadedness or spinning? How long does it last? How often do you experience it?
  • Next, he or she may examine your ear, nose and throat; check your blood pressure; test your nerve function and balance; and test your hearing.
  • Some patients may need additional tests, such as CT or MRI scans of the head, blood tests, and special tests that measure eye and body movements.

Depending on test results, treatment may include medication or balance exercises. Some lifestyle changes can help too, such as:

  • Not changing head position too quickly
  • Decreasing use of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine or salt
  • Minimizing stress
  • Avoiding allergens

For benign positional vertigo, patients may be instructed to do a series of simple movements, such as quickly lying down, turning the head, waiting two minutes, then sitting up. The movements help dislodge the tiny piece of calcium that may be stuck in an inner ear canal, causing imbalance.

Our Physicians

Rex ENT Specialists can help you get relief from your dizziness. Dr. John A. Garside, M.D., is trained in the newest techniques of treating your ear, nose and throat conditions. For personalized and timely care, visit us at our offices in Cary.


To find out more about dizziness, see the:

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