Vertigo and Dizziness with Migraines

Published on: Modified on:



Migraines affect millions of Americans with crushing headaches and other devastating ailments that make it difficult to work or function normally.  Migrainous vertigo, a vestibular disorder causing dizziness, nausea, and balance problems strikes a large percentage of migraine patients.

Vertigo and Dizziness with Migraines

Migraine associated vertigo (MAV)

Though it’s not always accepted as an indicator of migraine illness, dizziness and vertigo are common vascular side effects that occur often in people with a history of migraine attacks. Many doctors use a patient’s headache frequency as the measuring stick of chronic migraines, not taking into account other comorbid conditions that occur even without the prevalence of strong head pain.

Vertigo associated with migraines can point to a deeper underlying problem that requires medical attention, or at least signify the need for a change in migraine treatment.

Vestibular migraine

Nearly 35% of migraine sufferers experience vestibular disturbances such as dizziness, vertigo, and other balance issues. Scientists have seen high correlations between migraine disorder and a variety of illnesses that cause wooziness, unsteadiness, light-headed sensations, and confusion.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and Ménière’s disease are examples of vestibular dysfunctions that occur often in people with chronic or episodic migraines.

Vertigo symptoms

Symptoms of vestibular disorders that may occur with migraine include:

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo- a sensation that the room is spinning, similar to intoxication, even while lying, sitting, or standing still
  • Sensitivity to movement of the head
  • Motion sickness
  • Extreme sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty keeping balance, disequilibrium
  • Tinnitus or Ménière’s disease- ear ringing, headaches, ear fullness
  • Neck pain and muscle spasms
  • Confusion
  • Loss of spatial awareness
  • Anxiety

Testing and treatment

If you experience vertigo or dizziness before, during, or after a migraine attack, then speak to a physician immediately. He may want to order diagnostic tests to rule out stroke, concussion, or brain tumor.

For help, your doctor may recommend a visit to a neurologist, osteopath, or vestibular rehabilitation therapists.

Lifestyle modifications can help improve your tolerance for pain and help with migraine management. These include light exercise, meditation, reducing migraine triggers in diet, and supplementing with vitamins, minerals, and herbs that benefit migraine-specific neurological functioning.

Please tell us…

If you suffer from migraine, do you also experience severe dizziness, even without headaches?

What helps to relieve dizziness and nausea?

Also read:

What Causes Migraine Dizziness?

Migraine Headaches and Dizziness- Stop the Ride, I want to get off!

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid