Signs You May Have a Vestibular Disorder

Having a sudden attack of dizziness or vertigo can be downright dangerous if you happen to be driving a vehicle or near the edge of a balcony or cliff when you lose your balance. 

The team at Prolete Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine in Milford, Connecticut, offers comprehensive vestibular evaluations and treatments that retrain your balance and alleviate your symptoms, allowing you to confidently and safely return to an active life. 

Vestibular disorders cause balance dysfunction and a range of varied symptoms. Read on for the list of signs you may have a vestibular disorder.

Vestibular disorders explained

When you have a vestibular disorder, you have a problem with balance. Maintaining balance requires information from three systems: your vestibular system, visual system, and somatosensory system. The somatosensory system includes sensors that relay information about touch and proprioceptors that provide information about movement in your muscles and ligaments.

A problem in any of these systems can lead to balance problems. However, vestibular disorders develop when something affects your inner ear or the area of your brain that processes sensory information. 

Signs you have a vestibular disorder

No matter what causes your vestibular disorder, you will experience one or more of the top three symptoms:

Loss of balance

Loss of balance refers to feeling unsteady or having a hard time walking straight. You may become clumsy or have difficulty with coordination, and you may tilt your head to one side. Many people find that they need to look down to see the ground or hold onto something when standing.


Dizziness makes you feel faint or lightheaded and weak. You may also have the sense that you’re being pulled in one direction. Many patients experience dizziness together with the third symptom, vertigo.


Vertigo is a type of dizziness but it specifically refers to the sensation that you or the room are spinning. This sensation can come on suddenly and be severe enough to make you fall, feel nauseous, or vomit. Vertigo often appears when you suddenly move your head a certain way.

Other common symptoms of vestibular disorders include:

Though not as common, some people develop symptoms such as anxiety, fear, and changes in their heart rhythm. You may also develop difficulty swallowing or muscle weakness on one side of your body.

Causes of vestibular disorders

Dizziness and imbalance are frequently caused by problems such as dehydration or inflammation due to an inner ear infection. However, many different health conditions can cause vestibular disorders, including:

Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and stroke can lead to vestibular disorders.

If you develop the signs of a vestibular disorder, we can perform an assessment and create a vestibular rehabilitation program to restore your balance. Call or book an appointment online today.

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