Vestibular Migraine


Vestibular Migraine is a type of migraine. Migraine is disorder of the brain, which causes hypersensitization to various sensory inputs such as light, sound, motion, smell and pain. Unlike the classic migraine, which is described as severe, throbbing headache, vestibular migraine has no pain associated with it 50% of the time. Vestibular migraine causes episodes of dizziness described as rocking, spinning, floating, swaying, internal motion and lightheadedness. They most often occur spontaneously, but can be triggered by stress, sleep problems, skipping meals, dehydration, other illnesses. Vestibular migraine is commonly seen in patients who have “migraine equivalents” such as brain freeze/ice cream headache, sinus headaches, motion sickness, colic as infants, sleep walking/talking, personal history of painful migraine or family history of migraine. Vestibular migraine can also commonly occur in rarer balance disorders such as Meniere’s Disease and Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome.


Vestibular migraine is a genetic disorder that is impacted by environmental and hormonal influences. It is likely inherited from parents, but can take years to become active based on someone’s individual habits, hormone fluctuations, stress level or sometimes spontaneously.


The foundation of vestibular migraine management is routine lifestyle choices. This includes regular and restful sleep, staying well hydrated, eating regularly and healthy meals, exercising at moderate intensity most days and participating in a regular stress management program. If vestibular migraines are still active, we will use a combination of physical therapy (vestibular), vitamins and prescription medications to help reduce frequency and severity of attacks.