By Bärbel Tschech ,

What is dizziness?

Dizziness is an unpleasant disorder affecting the balance or spatial orientation. It is the sensation of spinning, swaying or imminent unconsciousness. There is an illusion of movement between the person affected and the environment. This phenomenon, referred to as vertigo by doctors, is often the result of conflicting information from the sensory organs responsible for the sensation of balance, that is the eyes, ears and musculature. This can happen, for example, on a very fast carousel ride. The eyes report very rapid rotation, while the organ of balance in the inner ear does not detect a change of motion due to the constant rotation. However, it may also have other causes or be a symptom of other diseases. The triggers of vertigo include trips by car or boat, low or high blood pressure, cervical block vertebrae, arteriosclerosis or also disorders of the inner ear.
Often, vertigo is accompanied by drowsiness and tinnitus, but it can also lead to nausea and vomiting.

What types of vertigo are there?

Not all types of vertigo are equal Particular causes give rise to certain types of vertigo. To determine the cause, it is therefore useful to characterise the type of vertigo:
We distinguish between peripheral or directional vertigo and central or non-directional vertigo. With peripheral vertigo (vestibular vertigo), people affected perceive the illusion of movement, for example. This goes in a specific direction.
The causes of peripheral vertigo are usually found in the organ of balance (i.e., in the ear) or in the central nervous System.

Peripheral forms of vertigo are distinguished according to how the vertigo is perceived:

  • Rotary vertigo (like being on a carousel)
  • Postural vertigo (visual postural vertigo – mainly in the form of travel sickness or phobic postural vertigo or vertigo from over exertion, mainly in stressful situations)
  • Floating sensation (upwards-downwards feeling like in a lift)

Types of vertigo can also be classified according to what triggers them:

  • Motion sickness, positional vertigo (due to head movements or lying down)
  • Orthostatic vertigo (due to getting up too quickly)
  • Travel sickness, kinetosis (is brought on by using a means of Transportation)

Central vertigo is more difficult to characterise - it is the "strange feeling in the head", the feeling of passing out, the feeling of uncertainty when walking, the spatial uncertainty. It can occur suddenly in the course of cardiac arrhythmias or head movements (positional vertigo) in the form of vertigo and disappear again quickly, or be permanently present. Persistent central vertigo is often associated with medications, psychological problems, fluctuations in blood pressure and disorders of the central nervous system.

Where and how is vertigo caused?

Our sense of balance is in the ear. The three arches of the vestibular apparatus (= organ of balance) in the inner ear are responsible for detecting rotational movements in space. Therefore the cause of the vertigo can be found directly in the ear – that is, it is caused by stimuli or diseases of the inner ear, the labyrinth or the vestibular nerve. This is referred to as vestibular vertigo.
However, the cause can also be stimulus processing in the central nervous system – this is the case with car sickness, or travel sickness.
In addition, there is so-called psychogenic vertigo, which often arises as a result of stress or psychological pressure, and there are forms of vertigo that have an organic cause but the cause does not have anything to do with the sense of balance in the ear.

When should you go to the doctor with vertigo?

The causes of vertigo can be extremely varied. There are types of vertigo against which little can be done apart from avoiding the triggers or following some ground rules (see below).
In some cases, however, vertigo is a symptom of serious diseases that need to be treated. Make sure that you get the cause evaluated!

What can you do if you are prone to vertigo?

If you are prone to vertigo, pay attention to a balanced lifestyle:
Make sure you

  • Get enough sleep
  • Have regular and healthy meals
  • Take plenty of exercise in the fresh air


  • Severe nervous tension
  • Stimulate the circulation of your brain through
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Loosening up your neck muscles

Travel sickness – when the journey becomes agonising

Travel sickness is also known as seasickness or car sickness.
It is defined as nausea with dizziness and vomiting brought on by using a means of transportation (such as a bus, car or ship). Travel sickness is caused by conflicting input from the eyes and the sense of balance in the inner ear: During a cruise for example, the organ of balance perceives the motion of the sea waves, while the eyes register no motion, as the ship is not moving relative to the observer. This conflicting input is processed incorrectly by the brain; the response is dizziness which may even result in vomiting.

Advice to counter travel sickness

  • Get fresh air during your trip.
  • Take breaks and use this for exercise´(hopping!)
  • Sit straight behind the front axle in a bus (you will feel the least motion).
  • Look at the horizon.
  • Eat light foods.
  • Entertain yourself or your children (guessing registration plates, "I spy with my little eye", ...)
  • Drink plenty (still water is ideal).
  • Do not travel with an empty nor a full stomach.
  • Eat preferably light and easily digestible foods in the hours before the journey.
  • Avoid milk products before the journey.

Following consultation with your doctor, alternative practitioner or pharmacist, you may wish to use Vertigopas® Drops to help relieve dizziness.

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