Vertigo can be a really unsettling experience and can sometimes be a symptom of migraine aura. But some migraine sufferers have what is known as vestibular migraine in which the dominant symptom is the imbalance.
That is, there isn’t a headache at the same time as the dizziness. We can only be grateful for small mercies I hear you say, but why is it called a vestibular migraine if there is no headache?
Well, scientists believe that the pathways that cause pain in a classic migraine are similar to the pathways that cause dizziness in a person with a vestibular migraine. Also, the majority of those who suffer from vestibular migraines also have a history of migraines or migraines with auras.
According to the classification criteria of the second edition of the International Classification of Headache Disorder (ICHD-II), symptoms of vestibular migraine include:
- A current or past history of migraine with or without aura
- At least 5 episodes of vestibular symptoms with moderate to severe intensity lasting from 5 minutes to 72 hours
- At least 50% of the episodes have one or more of these characteristics
– visual aura
– sensitivity to light and sound
– headache with at least two of the following features: one-sided head pain, pulsating, moderate or severe intensity, aggravation by routine physical activity.
- Symptoms are not explained by another medical condition
If you suffer from episodic vertigo with or without a headache, review your symptoms with your doctor to rule out other causes of dizziness. If a diagnosis of vestibular migraine is made, you are not alone, and there are lots of treatment options out there.