Vestibular Migraine Symptoms

By Dana George

  • Overview

    A vestibular migraine is essentially a migraine that is linked to a sensation of vertigo. This is really the only thing that differentiates this type of headache from other headaches. That being said, you may experience different symptoms than you would from a standard migraine. Obviously, the most predominant symptom would be vertigo. Other than that, people have been known to experience auras, a change in their balance or hearing, stomach problems and head pain.
  • Vertigo

    The one symptom that everyone will experience when suffering from a vestibular migraine is vertigo. This basically feels like either you or the room is moving, though nothing is actually in motion at all. This symptom may also present itself as a sensation of spinning or falling. Sometimes, people even feel as if they are tilting in a different direction then their surroundings. Any of these somewhat dizzying sensations can last as long as only a few minutes, up to a couple of hours.
  • Aura

    Much like other types of migraines, many people will see something that is often referred to as an aura prior to the vertigo. Not everyone experiences this indicator with a vestibular migraine, but when you do, it will generally reveal itself as flashes of light, zigzags that radiate through your sight, flickering at your peripherals or spots that essentially cloud your vision.


  • Unbalance

    After the vertigo sets in, many people will either begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded. This symptom is often accompanied by an almost inability to walk or even stand. Some people who have suffered from more severe vestibular migraines have actually been known to fall down, even while they're standing still. Obviously, you should grab a seat if you begin to feel this sort of migraine setting in. You can save yourself from an actual injury.
  • Stomach Issues

    It should probably go without saying that another common symptom of a vestibular migraine will involve your stomach, namely the way it feels while suffering an attack. Don't be at all surprised in you begin to feel queasy, nauseous or even find the need to vomit. It's not uncommon. Mainly, this symptom is a symptom of the vertigo, but many people will experience this unpleasant byproduct.
  • Change in Hearing

    Another symptom of a vestibular migraine has to do with your hearing, which can really exacerbate the problem. This symptom is usually characterized by a ringing in the ears, often referred to as tinnitus. Much like the aura, not everyone will experience this sort of symptom in relation to a vestibular migraine or every time they have an episode.
  • Headache

    Of course, it wouldn't be a migraine without some head pain. A moderate to severe headache that often feels as if it's throbbing will generally set in after you've experienced the vertigo, though some people will continue to suffer the spinning, falling or swaying through the entirety of their migraine.
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