A vestibular migraine is a nervous system problem that causes repeated dizziness (or vertigo) in people who have a history of migraine symptoms. 

Vestibular migraines don’t always cause headaches. The main symptom is a paroxysmic dizziness. Vestibular refers to the inner ear, which controls hearing and balance.

The symptoms are:

  • Dizziness that lasts more than a few minutes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Balance problems
  • Extreme motion sensitivity — feeling sick or dizzy when you move your head, eyes, or body
  • Feeling disoriented or confused
  • Feeling unsteady, like you’re in a rocking boat
  • Sensitivity to sound.

Dizziness and balance problems may occur without the presence of a migraine.Other times, the vertigo symptoms happen before, during, or after the headache.

Studies of the general population, as well as those performed in specialist clinics, report an association between migraine and vertigo beyond its accidental occurrence. Women are mostly affected, that is 25% of women aged 35 years and about 35% of migraine sufferers have vestibular symptoms at some point.

Assessment and Management

Migraines and its variants must be treated with a combination of medicine and rehabilitation techniques so that the outcome for patients is complete and long lasting. Patients with migraine-related recurrent dizziness are examined in collaboration with the otolaryngologist and neurologist.

After an initial, detailed history report a series of examinations is performed to determine a plan of care and optimal treatment. 

Most effective in treating these patients is a combination of medication, vestibular rehabilitation and lifestyle modifications.

Lifestyle changes.

  • Avoiding eating stimuli, that may trigger migraines may help. Foods known to trigger these headaches are chocolate, peanuts, and red wine.
  • Smoking cessation,
  • Reducing stress levels,
  • Exercising regularly can also help reduce the occurrence of migraines and related problems.

Acupuncture 

Acupuncture has been proven to contribute to the treatment of migraine, by reducing the intensity and frequency of the symptoms.

Acupuncture is considered to be particularly effective (by 80%) in relieving tension headaches that precede the migraine crisis. The duration of acupuncture treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition and the individual.