Going in Circles

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably experienced a dizzy spell or two in your lifetime. In most cases, dizziness goes away quickly and could be caused by getting up too fast, the position you’re laying in, being tired or having low blood sugar. But, what if it doesn’t go away and turns into vertigo? Forty percent of people experience vertigo, a movement disorder that makes a person feel as if the world is spinning even when they’re sitting still.

What Is Vertigo?

Vertigo is the word commonly used for a ‘dizzy spell,’ but most people define vertigo attacks as a feeling of being out of balance. Some individuals report feeling as if they’re going to fall over or that the space they are in is continuously spinning.

What Causes Vertigo?

In many cases, vertigo has many different causes, but the most common cause is a problem with the inner ear, including an inner-ear infection. Another cause of vertigo is tinnitus, a condition that causes temporary or chronic ringing in the ears. Ménière’s disease is another inner-ear condition that can cause vertigo. Ménière’s can also cause hearing loss that comes and goes and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear.

Another Cause of Vertigo

As we mentioned, in many cases, vertigo is caused by a problem in the inner ear, but there’s another common cause to the condition: temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD.

TMD is a condition that develops when the temporomandibular joints, the joints that attach the lower jaw to the skull, become damaged or misaligned. TMD can be caused when the joints are out of alignment or become worn down.

TMD can cause notable popping and clicking sounds when you open and close your mouth, pain in the jaw and ear, migraine pain, and jaw stiffness. TMD can also prevent you from opening and closing your mouth.

When TMD is the cause of vertigo, it’s not always immediately evident, or patients and their physicians do not immediately connect the dots between the conditions. That means months or even years of living with the life-changing effects of vertigo – and not getting the treatment you need for TMD.

If you are living with vertigo; pain in the jaw, ear, shoulders or neck; jaw stiffness; clicking and popping when opening and closing your mouth; or other signs of TMD, please contact Dr. Sean Endsley in Waco, Texas, today at 254-799-9540 for an examination.