Vestibular Migraine

Vestibular Migraine: A Closer Look

  • Definition: Vestibular migraine is one of the most common vestibular pathologies. It is characterized by recurrent episodes of vertigo or dizziness, sometimes accompanied by migraine headaches, nausea, vomiting, tinnitus, pressure in the ears, and temporary hearing loss.
  • Symptoms: Episodic vertigo lasting 5 minutes to days, headache, visual aura, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and nausea during migraine attacks. Episodes of vertigo may present without a headache, and headaches may present without vertigo. Often, patients experience visual sensitivity to busy environments and lots of movement in front of the eyes.
  • Impact on Daily Life: Disruptions to balance and sensory perception lead to daily activity limitations.

Understanding Vestibular Migraine

  • Causes: The exact triggers for Vestibular Migraine remain under investigation, but it is often associated with migraines, and has many of the same triggers as migraines. Such triggers include foods high in salt, MSG, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Additionally, stress, dehydration may trigger migraines.
  • Common Symptoms: Vertigo or dizziness, sometimes accompanied by a throbbing headache, visual disturbances, and heightened sensitivities to light and sound.

Diagnosis and Assessment

  • Clinical Assessment: Medical history, symptoms, and physical examination to establish the presence of both migraines and vestibular symptoms.
  • Diagnostic hearing assessment: To rule out other auditory disorders, assessing hearing levels and patterns.
  • Vestibular Assessment: Evaluating vestibular function to identify any abnormalities contributing to the episodes.

Treatment and Management

  • Medications: Prescription drugs to manage migraine symptoms and, in some cases, prevent the onset of episodes.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Identifying and avoiding triggers, adopting a consistent sleep schedule, and managing stress.
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT): Targeted exercises to improve the vestibular system’s function and reduce residual dizziness and imbalance.

Coping Strategies

  • Avoiding Triggers: Minimize exposure to known triggers, such as certain foods, bright lights, or stressful situations.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Maintain proper fluid and electrolyte balance to support overall well-being. Follow a migraine diet.

Long-Term Outlook

  • Management and Improvement: With proper diagnosis and management, individuals can experience a reduction in the frequency and severity of Vestibular Migraine episodes.
  • Lifestyle Adaptation: Adapting to changes and proactively managing symptoms contribute to an improved quality of life.

By understanding the complexities of this condition and seeking professional guidance, individuals can navigate its challenges, enhance their auditory experiences, and regain control over their lives.

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