Vestibular migraine, also called migrainous vertigo, affects vision and balance. It is common for vestibular migraine patients to not have a headache during their migraine attacks. It can include a number of debilitating symptoms affecting the ears, vision and balance. It is the second most common cause of vertigo.

Alongside symptoms of vertigo, imbalance and dizziness, during a vestibular migraine some people may also find head movement involved in turning, bending down or looking up intolerable, feel a pressure within their head and/or ear, have neck pain, find it hard to hear low sounds, or develop tinnitus (a ringing or other sound in the ear). People may also experience headaches, visual disturbances such as hazy or blurred vision, sparkles or blotches in their vision, or loss of part of their vision.

Approximately 40% of migraine patients have some accompanying vestibular syndrome involving disruption in their balance and/or dizziness at one time or another. This may be before, during, after, or totally independent of their migraine attacks. 

If you have vestibular migraine, your treatment will likely be different from other migraine types, so accurate diagnosis is important. Interestingly, some of the pain medications do not resolve the dizziness and medications for the dizziness often do not resolve the painful headache.

Specialist vestibular physiotherapists also form an important part of the vestibular migraine care team.

Read more about vestibular migraine at VEDA, The Migraine Trust, or the American Migraine Foundation.