Does vertigo cause headaches? That is a great question. And I feel like my initial answer to that is it could, yes. I think the reason for that is vertigo is this sensory conflict, a sensory disruption — it’s dizziness. It means that I feel like I’m moving, spinning, bobbing, rocking when I know I should be still. I’m walking down the street, but I feel like I’m floating, or I’m sitting in a chair, but I feel like I’m rocking.
Dizziness and vertigo are sensory distortions. You can almost think about it as like being locked in a nightclub with flashing strobe lights and somebody rocking you, but you don’t want that—you want to be still. So it’s almost likened to an overwhelming overstimulation. Just like overstimulation can cause a headache, this sensory disruption can certainly lead to this feeling of fatigue and headache. In fact, a lot of people with vertigo and dizziness will report these kinds of fatigue-related headaches. Part of healing is being very sensitive to that. So we want to reduce stimulation, we do want to actually approach more quietness, we might need more in the process of healing vertigo while our body is remapping new neural pathways.
Some vertigo conditions are actually completely linked in with migraine. It’s part of the migraine family. The symptoms people report may not include headaches, but certainly could. But it could also be eyestrain or feeling of fullness at the back of the head. It could be visual spots, distortions. So this idea of vertigo and headaches: They really are like cousins, they do work hand in hand. Part of healing is listening and responding to the body. So if you’ve got headaches or vertigo, it probably means your body’s a bit overwhelmed and overstimulated, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And so looking at how you respond, nurture and support that process will be indicative of how quickly you recover, turn around and heal. So vertigo is reversible, headaches are not for life, but we do need to learn how to respond to them and support them. I’ve written a book, Rock Steady.