history (recurrent vertigo)

Last reviewed 01/2018

Items from the history which are important include:

  • speed on onset of vertigo
  • activity at onset of vertigo
  • length of attacks
  • other symptoms are associated with attacks of recurrent vertigo - importantly, is there associated tinnitus or hearing loss
  • any associated visual disturbance
  • is the patient nauseated

These items of information will help direct the clinician to a cause of the vertigo. For example:

  • benign positional vertigo - the onset of vertigo is related to a change in posture; symptoms are short-lived e.g a minute; no associated symptoms apart from possibly nausea
  • migraine will be associated with symptoms associated with the disturbance of vertebro-basilar circulation - there will generally be a severe headache following the episode of vertigo
  • meniere's disease - associated with hearing loss and tinnitus
  • multiple sclerosis - bouts of vertigo may be longer than expected - there may be persistent nystagmus when the patient is not experiencing vertigo