What Procedures and Tests Diagnose Vertigo?

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If you have been suffering from a sudden onset of dizziness, sensations of spinning & movement, & abnormal eye movements, then you are most likely experiencing vertigo symptoms.  There are several Vertigo test to determine if you indeed have Vertigo, or if the symptoms are due to some other disorder. These Vertigo tests are most often carried out in the presence of a licensed Vertigo doctor or specialist. While most Vertigo tests are quick & involve no pain at all, some others can be a bit uncomfortable & long to sit through.

Vertigo symptoms:

Vertigo symptoms present differently for every patient depending on their specific medical histories & condition. However, there are certain symptoms that are universally present in every Vertigo patient. These include:

       Spinning sensations,

       Swaying to one side,

       Tilting in one direction,

       Feeling unbalanced or disoriented,

       Pulled into one direction

       Feelings of nausea

       Motion sickness



       Excessive sweating

       Ringing in the ears or hearing loss

       Abnormal eye movements also called nystagmus

If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms for a considerable length of time, then it’s likely that you have Vertigo. Your primary healthcare provider will recommend certain Vertigo tests to know for sure.

Vertigo tests:

Your doctor will first ask for your medical history, & information about any recent illnesses you have had. They will also perform a general physical exam on you to figure out any obvious causes of your vertigo symptoms. Once all this is done, your doctor will likely recommend you one or more of the following tests:

      Dix-Hallpike Maneuver:

      The Dix-Hallpike maneuver is a Vertigo test that is usually recommended by your doctor when they suspect that your vertigo symptoms are due to Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is one of the most common types of vertigo, experienced by around 80% of patients with vertigo. This vertigo test also helps your doctor figure out if your vertigo symptoms are due to an inner ear problem or issues with the brain.


In this test, your doctor will turn your head 45 degrees to one side, following which you’ll quickly lie on your back with your head off the side of the table. You’ll then be asked to maintain this position for at least 30 seconds. Your doctor will also examine your eyes & check if you’re having any abnormal eye movements. If you don’t feel any dizziness on one side of the test, you’ll be required to repeat the steps on the other side. Be warned, however, that this test can trigger some bouts of vertigo & dizziness for some time afterward. Developing dizziness & vertigo symptoms during the test is a sign that you indeed have Vertigo. So bringing along someone to help you with regular everyday activities & to drive you back home will be a smart choice.

     Head Impulse Test:

     The Head Impulse test is a Vertigo test that tells your doctor how coordinated your eyes & inner ears are. This Vertigo test is especially used if your doctor believes that your vertigo symptoms are due to a condition called vestibular neuritis. In this test, your doctor will quickly rotate your head to look for certain rapid eye movements & some specific abnormal reflexes that could indicate that there is something wrong with the functions of the semicircular canal of the inner ear. Another variant of this Vertigo test involves videographing the abnormalities in the eye movements & the reflexes via tiny cameras installed in the testing instruments. This is called the Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT).

       Romberg Test:

      In this Vertigo Test, you’ll be required to stand with your two feet together, & close your eyes. Your doctor will then observe how much you sway or fall to one side, & based on the observations, determine the adequate diagnosis for your condition.

       Fukuda-Unterberger test:

      In this Vertigo test, you’ll be required to march in a straight line with your eyes closed. Your doctor will observe your movements carefully & watch how much you sway from the midline of the movement. This helps them determine if you indeed have vertigo, & also which side of your body is affected by it.

       ENG test &/or VNG test:

      Electronystagmography (ENG test) & Videonystagmography (VNG test) is used to detect any abnormal eye movements & figure out if your vertigo symptoms are caused by an inner ear issue. While the ENG test uses electrodes to measure any abnormal eye & head movements and reflexes, the VNG test utilizes tiny cameras embedded in the testing equipment to do so.

Once the equipment is set properly, your doctor will move your head in different positions while your eyes will track a certain static or moving target. All this time the electrodes/cameras record the abnormal eye movements & jerky reflexes. Your doctor will also insert hot or cold air/water in your ears to alter the ear canal temperature & check for any possible nystagmus in the process. More often than not, these tests are performed in a darkened room to better observe any jerking eye movements.

Rotation tests:

Rotation Vertigo tests are used to see how well your eyes & ears work in conjunction. Your doctor will move your head slowly from side to side & check for any abnormal eye movements. these tests are of various types. You may either be seated in a chair & made to move from side to side or be asked to look at a fixed target & move your head back & forth or up & down.

Additionally, there are certain other tests that your doctors might use to determine if you have Vertigo or not. These Vertigo tests focus on a certain neurological aspect, & are recommended to see if your vertigo symptoms are due to that.

These Vertigo tests include:

       Posturography, to check your balance & posture,

       Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP) to check if your vestibular nerve & other parts of the body that work closely with the balance system are functioning properly.

       Hearing tests, also known as audiometric tests, check if your ears are functioning properly. These tests help your doctor figure out if your vertigo symptoms are due to any problems with the nerves that connect your inner ear to the brain. These tests also involve checking if excess fluid buildup in your ears is a reason for your dizziness & vertigo symptoms.

       MRI, to check if any deep-rooted neurological problems in your brain are the reason for your vertigo symptoms.

       CT scan, to check for any abnormalities in the inner ear structure or in the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain.

       Vision tests

       Blood work

       Allergy tests

Based on the outcome of all these tests, your doctor will determine the proper Vertigo treatment & dizziness treatment. Depending on your exact diagnosis, your vertigo treatment & dizziness treatment might also include Vertigo medicines, vertigo exercises & home remedies for vertigo treatment.





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