Can Stress Cause Vertigo?

elderly woman suffering from vertigo

When you feel vertigo creep up for no apparent reason, you want to know why you’re feeling that way. Vertigo is a sensation of movement that occurs even when you’re at rest. It can feel like you’re balancing on a tilted surface, spinning or floating.

Your brain relies on visual input, nerves in your joints, pressure on your skin and the labyrinth of your inner ear to process gravity and make informed adjustments to your posture. When those signals are incorrect, you feel dizzy and have a greater risk of falling.

Vertigo attacks can be dangerous depending on where they occur, so it’s only natural to want to find the source of this condition before that happens. If you’re considering your vertigo in light of your overall physical and mental health, you may be wondering whether stress can cause dizziness rather than just being a result of it.

Can Vertigo Be Triggered by Stress?

The simple answer is that stress can trigger or worsen your symptoms, but it doesn’t cause vertigo. Stress affects your body’s major systems. You’ll recognize some negative effects of stress on your body immediately, but some are harder to notice and can be long term.

Hormone fluctuations during high-stress periods can impact your nervous system. Stress sets off your instincts, boosts your adrenaline and increases your blood pressure. Usually, your nervous system rights itself after you’ve calmed down, but you may feel your vertigo symptoms get worse.

Can stress cause vertigo when combined with other disorders? The results of a 2018 study suggest that a strong correlation exists between vertigo and stress for individuals with anxiety, mood and personality disorders. Stress often triggers patients who experience comorbidity, or two chronic disorders presenting at once.

Other Causes of Vertigo

Vertigo has a variety of triggers, some more common than others. Some of the causes we see more frequently are:

  • Inner ear dysfunction: Infections, fluid buildup and other problems in the inner ear cause balance issues.
  • Head and ear injuries: Physical trauma can cause inner ear disorders.
  • Migraines: In addition to their sensitivity to light and noise, people with migraines may experience vertigo.
  • Insufficient blood flow: Vertigo can occur when the arteries that carry blood to the base of your brain supply less blood.

Your vertigo’s cause determines the treatment you need. Some kinds of vertigo, like benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), can go away on their own. Other conditions, like Ménière’s disease, require management techniques or surgery.

Treat Vertigo With Orthopedic Care

Physical therapy can be an excellent treatment option if a patient experiences vertigo because of damage to the inner ear. Vestibular rehabilitation targets the triggers that make your vertigo symptoms worsen. By repeating affected movements or tasks, you teach your brain to compensate for lost functionality in your inner ear.

If your vertigo interferes with daily life or gets worse when you’re stressed, consider exploring treatment options with OrthoBethesda. Our certified orthopedic surgeons, doctors and therapists commit themselves to providing the best treatment options for every patient we serve. We’re proud to offer compassionate, expert care to our vestibular rehabilitation patients.

Take the first step toward treatment today! Fill out our contact form or call us at (301) 530-1010.