What is a Vestibular Migraine?

Vestibular migraine is a condition in which people suffer from both vertigo symptoms and from migraine symptoms.

With vestibular migraine people may experience any number of symptom combinations such as a spinning sensation preceding a migraine headache, dizziness and imbalance during a migraine headache or dizziness without a headache.

Diagnosing vestibular migraine

Currently there are no formal criteria for diagnosing vestibular migraine. It is generally diagnosed when the individual meets the diagnostic criteria for migraine and has also experienced vertigo, for which no other cause has been found.

An accurate and precise history detailing; timing of symptom onset, duration of episode, and the combination of symptoms can often be invaluable to assisting your medical practitioner to arrive at the correct diagnosis.

The link between migraine and dizziness

An association between migraine and vertigo has been established. Studies have found that vertigo is more common in people with migraine than with the control subjects.

Vestibular migraine and genetics

There is evidence to suggest a genetic component to vestibular migraine.  Studies have shown that blood relatives of an individual with vestibular migraine have an increased incidence of both vertigo and migraine. It is therefore important to inform your medical practitioner of any known family history of migraine or vestibular migraine.

Assessment for vestibular migraine

Because a diagnosis of vestibular migraine involves excluding other conditions, several tests may be required to rule out all other possible causes of the symptoms. This may include a full vestibular assessment at Ear Science Clinic, as well as assessments by an ENT specialist, a neurologist and possibly other specialists advised by your medical practitioner.

Treatment of vestibular migraine

If a diagnosis of vestibular migraine is made then treatment may include information to avoid migraine triggers, medication to treat the migraine and physiotherapy to address any reduction in vestibular function.