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Vertigo Triggers and How To Deal With Them

Some dizzy patients know exactly what causes their dizziness. They develop avoidance behaviors and learn to steer clear of their vertigo triggers. For others, it’s completely spontaneous with no rhyme or reason. More often than not, though, there is a pattern to vertigo triggers. And knowing what triggers your dizziness is a crucial component in diagnosing and treating your dizziness.

Vertigo Triggers

As we stated above, there are very common triggers for certain vestibular disorders. For instance, head movements spark vertigo in BPPV patients. Additionally, with Vestibular Migraine, the weather, certain foods, stress, and an increase in fatigue are known to trigger their symptoms. Some of the other common vestibular vertigo triggers reported by our patients include:
  • Anxiety & stress
  • Dehydration
  • High-sodium diet
  • Lack of sleep
  • Exercise
  • Caffeine
  • Eye strain from extended screen use
  • Flashing lights, excessive lights, and other visual stimuli
  • Driving in the passenger seat
  • Long car rides or flying
  • Enclosed spaces
  • Walking up hills
The triggers list goes on and on.

Trigger Avoidance

Naturally, you probably try to avoid vertigo triggers at all costs. Honestly, who would actively seek out their dizziness by putting themselves in triggering situations? Nobody. However, the problem is that our natural avoidance of triggers actually hurts us in the long run.
It’s quite common for dizzy patients to develop maladaptive behaviors. This means not allowing oneself to adjust to new environments or situations. Maladaptive behaviors are used to avoid confronting this discomfort.
For example, the BPPV patients who sleep upright in bed or the vestibular migraine patients who avoid grocery stores and large gatherings. These are maladaptive techniques. And they’re not good for us.
We’re not suggesting you dive headfirst into all of your triggers.
However, our brains need a little discomfort in order to adjust and improve. We are always forming and reforming new thought pathways. And every time you avoid a trigger, you’re weakening your brain’s ability to adapt to that trigger. It’s as if you were to reward yourself with a cookie every time you didn’t speak your mind at work. You’re training yourself to never speak up.

Personal Trigger Tracking

First of all, keep note of what causes your dizziness to flare up. Use the notes app on your phone or one of the other specialized apps out there such as DizzyTrack, Meniere’s Monitor, Migraine Buddy, or CareClinic.
The more you know about your triggers, the more help a vestibular specialist can be. One, knowing your triggers extensively gives specialists a great idea of your condition. It’s a quicker route to a diagnosis. Two, knowing your triggers extensively then allows the specialist (after the diagnosis) to work toward strengthening your defenses against those particular triggers.
A major component of Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy is sensitizing patients to their triggers. By exposing them to their triggers in small quantities, we can help the patient (and their brain) form stronger habits for dealing with these triggers. Ultimately, until one day they are unphased by their triggers. We expose patients to their triggers through VR and physical therapy exercises. And it’s a very effective way of treatment when administered by an expert. All in all, vertigo triggers are a major part of vestibular disorders.
Many dizzy patients allow their triggers to rule their life. But, that’s no way to live.
Therefore, if you or someone you know experiences chronic dizziness or vertigo attacks, please give us a call at (310) 954-2207 or schedule an appointment with one of our balance specialists. The Dizzy & Vertigo Institute specializes in bringing dizzy patients back to an asymptomatic life. We’re located in Los Angeles, California, and have options for you if you live in another state. We look forward to hearing from you!
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