Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments for Vestibular Migraines

Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments for Vestibular Migraines

Migraine is a common neurological disease that is commonly characterized by moderate to severe headaches accompanied by throbbing or pounding sensations, usually on one side of the head. Vestibular migraine involves vestibular symptoms such as severe vertigo lasting for minutes, hours, or even days, nausea, vomiting, sweating, flushing, or diarrhea.

Some patients complain of extreme tiredness, while others might find bright lights, certain smells, and loud sounds uncomfortable. Loss of balance, confusion, and pressure in one or both ears are a few other symptoms of this disorder. In more than half the patients, there are no headache symptoms; however, the other half experience a headache either during or after the vestibular migraine attack accompanied by visual alterations such as blurring, flashing lights, and inability to focus or concentrate.

Vestibular migraine may also be known as Migraine-associated vertigo, Migrainous vertigo, or Migraine-related vestibulopathy.

Read further to know all about vestibular migraine:

Causes Vestibular Migraine


Like other migraines, vestibular migraine causes are not known for sure. But patients have often noted that certain factors trigger their migraines. Therefore, medical practitioners usually suggest that patients keep a record of their triggers in a diary and then work towards avoiding them to reduce the frequency of migraines. 

Life pharmacy your reliable UK pharmacy has enlisted a few triggers that could result in bouts of vestibular migraine:

  • It is a genetic disorder that tends to run in families. If a close relative suffers from a migraine, you’ll likely experience the same problem.

  • Women tend to suffer more than men, especially during menstruation and menopause, when hormonal changes are quite high.

  • Altered sleep patterns, hunger, dehydration, anxiety, and stress can trigger these headaches.

  • Certain foods like chocolate, MSG, alcohol, aged cheese, fermented foods, and caffeine can make people vulnerable to experiencing migraine episodes.

  • Certain forms of lighting and ventilation, strong odors, and smoking can act as external triggers for migraine shoot up.

  • Changes in barometric pressure or weather fluctuations can also be a major factor contributing to these migraines.

  • Changes in serotonin levels can cause blood vessels to swell in a part of the brain. Swelling of blood vessels can exert pressure on nerves, leading to migraine symptoms. When the affected part of the brain is connected to the inner ear, the patient experiences acute symptoms of vertigo and dizziness.

Vestibular Migraine Symptoms

No specific blood or imaging test can help determine if you are suffering from vestibular migraines. Your medical practitioner has to rely on your symptoms and medical history to rule out the possibility of any other vestibular condition. The International Headache Society has recently laid out specific criteria that can aid your doctor in diagnosing vestibular migraine.

  • You could be having a vestibular migraine if:

  • You have a history of migraines or are currently suffering from migraines.

  • You experience at least five or more episodes of vestibular symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, and loss of balance that make you feel like you are spinning or moving. The episodes can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 72 hours, unlike motion sickness or feeling faint.

You must experience one of these symptoms in at least half of the episodes.

  1. Your headache symptoms range from moderate to severe, are one-sided, and pulsing or throbbing. These get worse with activity, thus hindering you from performing your routine tasks. 

  1. Sensitivity to light, smell, or sound

  2. Experiencing a migraine aura, such as shimmering or flashing lights in your vision.

The main problem that medical practitioners face during the diagnosis of this disorder is that patients with vestibular migraine may or may not suffer from a headache and dizziness simultaneously. Thus they need to rule out the possibility of these vestibular conditions:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) - When calcium carbonate crystals enter the semicircular canal, a part of your ear, it interferes with the messages your ear sends to the brain, causing a feeling of dizziness.

  • Méniére’s disease - In this condition, an abnormal fluid balance in the inner ear causes hearing loss and bouts of dizziness.

  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) - Transient Ischemic Attacks or mini-strokes lead to periods of vertigo, weakness, and slurred speech.

It is common for vestibular migraines, TIA, Méniére’s disease, and BPPV to coexist, making diagnosis and treatment challenging. However, visual symptoms such as blurred vision or sensitivity to light that are uncommon in Méniére’s disease can lead to an easier diagnosis.

Vestibular Migraine Treatment

Vestibular Migraine Treatment

Vestibular migraine treatment is quite similar to that for other migraine headaches. By following certain lifestyle changes like maintaining a regular sleep and meal schedule, drinking water regularly, managing stress, exercising regularly, and avoiding all the other triggers as far as possible vestibular migraine patients can reduce the frequency and intensity of the migraine attacks. Generally, abortive medications that suppress the vestibular system should be minimized unless unavoidable.

For patients suffering from frequent migraine attacks, doctors may recommend one of these medications that can be purchased from Online Chemist UK 24/7.

These are:

  • Beta-blockers: They work by averting the dilation of blood vessels, which is a major contributing factor to the development of migraines.

  • Calcium channel blockers: They hinder the movement of calcium across cell membrane walls to prevent artery walls from contracting and constricting.

  • Antidepressants: These work by reducing the effects of stress and anxiety, which can result in migraine attacks. By regulating serotonin levels, these meds can directly reduce the frequency of migraines.

Home remedies such as essential oils, herbal blends, or tablets are widely used by patients with the hope that they will provide them with pain relief. However, there is no research to back such claims, so it is best to seek medical guidance and avail of the prescribed drugs from a UK pharmacy. 

There are a few pain-relieving electrical and magnetic devices, like Cefaly, eNeura sTMS, gammaCore, etc., that can help prevent and treat migraines.

Related Read: What causes heart palpitations and headaches to occur together?


Some ailments disrupt routine life activities and are recurrent. Proper diagnosis and treatment can go a long way to help patients lead normal lives. Life Pharmacy UK aims to help every patient with vestibular migraine with their pain relief medications. Contact us now!

Category: Pain relief

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