Isn’t vertigo just a medical term for dizziness? Actually, no.

Specialists that work with patients whose medical conditions affect their perceptions of balance and movement often differentiate between vertigo and dizziness. We may be taught to think of the two terms as having the same meaning, but in fact, each can indicate a different medical diagnosis. 


Vertigo is a spinning sensation that is most often associated with movement. Patients experiencing vertigo may feel symptoms subside as soon as they stop moving. Quick and sudden head movements are common ways for vertigo to start.

This can be frustrating for patients who often turn their head subconsciously to look at something or someone, or to respond to sensory stimulation. For example, a loud noise or pungent odor may prompt you to turn your head and determine its source. Many people are most bothered by their vertigo when they get out of bed in the morning or lay down to sleep at night. 

The key factor to associate with vertigo is a quick episode – most cases usually last less than one minute.

General Dizziness

A person who is living with a problem that has directly impacted their brain, like a stroke, is more likely to experience dizziness and evident balance problems. More generalized dizziness can last for a longer period, sometimes hours or even days.

Still, some vestibular disorders can be confusing because they present with a combination of vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance. A vestibular disorder is dysfunction or injury either to the inner ear or central nervous system that this area feeds. 

Vestibular problems are mostly treatable, with medications available to reduce inflammation and physical therapy techniques to manage side effects.

Is it vertigo or dizziness?

Whether you think it’s vertigo or dizziness, examination by a specializing physician or physical therapist can help analyze your symptoms and determine the root cause of your problem. 

Find a Doctor Near You
Call (716) 706-2112

Find a Doctor Near You
Call (716) 706-2112