top of page
  • Dr. Mark Freund

Migraines and Vertigo

woman with a migraine

Migraine and vertigo are common conditions affecting about 1.5 million people in the United States, and a recent epidemiological study showed that 3.2% of the population has migraine or vertigo. People often report dizziness associated with a condition called vestibular migraine. Some reports say that in some cases, this is caused by a fall or fainting, but it may not cause any headaches at all. If you have migraines or headaches and experience dizziness, you may also have migraines with vertigo symptoms.

What is Vestibular Migraine?

Vestibular migraine is a problem of the nervous system. This leads to repeated dizziness in people with migraine symptoms. Unlike a conventional migraine, these headaches do not always have a headache but rather lead to a loss of feeling in the eyes, nose, and ears.

Migraine Associated Vertigo

Migraine - Associated Vertigo (MAV) is probably a little-known cause of dizziness in migraine patients, but it is not new. The internationally recognized name for MAV is actually a vestibular migraine. A migraine in the vestibular area is a type of migraine in which you feel dizziness - that is, it feels as if you are spinning or the world around you is. Vestibular refers to the inner ear, which controls hearing and balance, and the main symptom is dizziness that comes and goes.

man suffering a migraine

Other terms for migraine-associated vertigo include: Migrainous vertigo and Migraine-related vestibulopathy. Vestibular migraine (VM) can also trigger migraine-related dizziness or migraine-related vestibulopathy. If MAV is a migraine that causes dizziness directly, the dizziness may last for a second or a day and can occur up to three days after the onset of the migraine.

About 1 in 10 people in the US suffer from migraines, which is not associated with headaches but is a symptom of a different type of migraine, such as vertigo and/or aura. Symptoms of vertigo vary widely in migraines but can also occur in patients with other types of headaches, such as chronic headaches. Auras are usually visual but can also occur as altered sensations, such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and a light sensation - headaches. Auras typically last between 5 and 60 minutes after a migraine and can be diagnosed in people with a known migraine history.

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo can occur in up to 25% of migraine patients and can cause dizziness in up to 30% of those diagnosed patients. It can be defined as a feeling of movement and dizziness. In some people, this is described as "rotating dizziness" or "outer dizziness." The majority of migraine patients often suffer from various types of vertigo, and several studies have shown a link between the presence of vestibular migraine and the occurrence of vertigo in migraine patients.

Vertigo associated with migraine can be shorter than typical auras and typically lasts between 5-60 minutes, followed by a migraine. This feeling can be perceived as self - moving and can occur without external triggers. Other times, vertigo symptoms can trigger auras or other external stimuli such as smell, touch, light, or sound. Vertigo can occur spontaneously but can also be triggered by other events, such as a heart attack, stroke, or even an accident.

The best way to find out which one you might be experiencing is to visually inspect yourself, as dizziness can be very disabling or very prominent in migraines. It can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and a feeling as if the world is moving around you. Sometimes vertigo is triggered by a viral infection of the inner ear, which causes constant dizziness and instability. These symptoms can last for days or weeks, or they can disappear within hours of occurrence.


Vestibular migraine is the most common type of migraine with symptoms similar to other migraine diseases, such as headaches and nausea. Migraine-associated vertigo, also known as vertigo - related migraines - is a common symptom in sufferers of migraines. Patients may have all kinds of migraine symptoms, including dizziness as a key symptom, but there may also be headaches, vomiting, and nausea. In some people, exercise can make their headaches worse. If you have been getting migraines for years and are now also frequently experiencing dizziness, you could also get migraines that act like a vestibular migraine. So, you might not necessarily have a vestibular migraine but fall into the category of migraine-related vertigo as a symptom - and fall into the same category as those who have associated symptoms.

woman suffering from stress and headache at work

Vestibular migraine should, by definition, be at least 50% dizziness, including headaches, photosensitivity, sound, and nausea. There are no red flags warning you that vertigo is not a migraine. Sudden hearing loss can be a sign of an infection requiring treatment, and loss of balance and associated weakness alone can also be signs of a stroke, especially for people at risk of vascular disease.

Vertigo, which is aggravated when accompanied by dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or other symptoms of migraine such as headaches, may merit further assessment, as many migraine disorders may also have similar symptoms. Migraines can have a number of causes, some of which can also be the cause of dizziness, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and diabetes.

Around 30-50% of migraine patients will feel a spinning sensation or a feeling of losing balance at some point. This is now called migraine - symptoms associated with vertigo that can cause nausea and vomiting. These symptoms sometimes occur with headaches, but can be more common in people with motion sickness. In some patients, the dizziness is a sign that migraine is more than just a relatively short-lived neurological symptom associated with their migraine. Vertigo in children can be a precursor to migraine, which develops in adolescence and adulthood.

suffering a headache or migraine at work

The symptoms of a vestibular migraine include:

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Balance problems

  • Motion sickness

  • Sensitivity to sound

People can have both a migraine and vertigo during a migraine episode. Headaches can be associated with the attack but are often less severe than typical migraines. Vertigo and vestibular migraines can occur as headaches and are accompanied by non-headache migraine symptoms. Both migraine and dizziness can be associated with headaches, which confuses many people who believe that headaches must be present during migraines and has an incompatible relationship with traces of vestibular migraine.

Vertigo and dizziness can also be associated with migraine, as can headaches and sinew pains, but in different ways and at different times. Other times, vertigo symptoms occur before or after the headache, and there are many theories about the disease. You might feel dizzy and have balance problems before you even have migraines, but sometimes you have migraines for years before vertigo symptoms start.

What Causes Vestibular Migraines?

Little is known about how this actually happens, but it can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and other symptoms. This is attributed to misfiring nerve cells in the brain, but there are no imaging tests to say for sure whether this is the case.


Although the diagnosis may be similar, they can be confusing and actually be a disorder that occurs without migraine. Common migraine symptoms are included in the criteria for diagnosing MAV, but there are other migraine symptoms that are not considered as a criterion for diagnosis, although they occur frequently.

However, if the migraine is diagnosed, it should not occur in the vestibular area of the brain. It is possible that people have dizziness and headaches, but these are the symptoms of migraine. People should be aware of what they are seeing, especially if they have a dizziness symptom after a headache. The length of the dizziness and its duration can vary, as the diagnostic criteria show. For many people, it takes an hour, for some seconds, and for others, it was reported that it could take minutes or days.

seeing a chiropractor or doctor for migraine

Indications of a vestibular migraine occurrence include:

  • If you have a history of migraines

  • If you have multiple episodes of vertigo

  • If migraine last from minutes to 72 hours

  • If symptoms are moderate to severe

In summary, vertigo associated with migraine is relatively common in all migraine disorders, and diagnosis is based on symptoms and the patient's medical background. The duration of seizures can be reduced if accompanied by headaches, but preventive medications are necessary if this does not work. In the case of vertigo-free migraine, acute medication should be limited to 2 days per week.


Vestibular migraine treatment is similar to other migraine treatments, but no specific treatment is recommended. Abnormal results of vestigial function tests should raise questions about the cause of vertigo and other symptoms, as well as the symptoms of other disorders. The acute treatment of a headache attack is the same as the one usually recommended for migraines. In this case, treatments that address the blockage of the occipital nerve can be used, but this is based on the same principle as the acute treatment of headache attacks.

man seeking relief from migraine

Prevention and Alternative Treatments

Vestibular migraine often responds to common strategies for preventing and treating migraine, and there is evidence that a multidisciplinary approach combining cognitive-behavioral therapy, acupuncture, and neurological treatment could be effective. Although there are no good scientific studies to determine efficacy, the number of seizures can be reduced by applying a variety of treatments such as spinal manipulation, chiropractic adjustments, and other chiropractic treatments and therapies. See a Chiropractor today at Natural Care Chiropractic to discuss your treatment options and consider holistic treatments to effectively treat and prevent all types of migraine symptoms.

11 views0 comments


bottom of page