Violent vertigo

Hello again,
Am wondering if violent vertigo,don’t know how else to describe it is mav.I am usually on the menieres site but my ent and I have been thinking mav for me as I don’t have the ear fullness,very seldom and my spins are ususally short.Have had the walking drunk feeling,etc.
Today I was feeling good and was sitting on the couch and I reached for a book and got the most violent vertigo I think I have ever had.It lasted less than 30 seconds but it kind of threw me to the floor.I didn’t know which way was up.
I took a sedative and later was able to finish my laundry and go to the store.I felt like I had had a few drinks when I was walking and i still feel this way now.
Can migraine vertigo be of the violent type?

Hi James,
I’ve had vertigo this violent. In fact I got carted off from work in an ambulance once, as I was absolutely floored by it, and couldn’t move at all without it setting off again. I couldn’t even get to sit up, let alone get into a car to be driven home. It passed within a few hours, but for several days afterwards certain movements would trigger off really severe vertigo again (though only for about 30sec at a time).

I have had many violent vertigo attacks over the years. I used to wake up with them at around 4 in the morning, the room spinning round and not being able to move my head a fraction of an inch. I dont get them so often now. They used to last around 4 to 6 hours. If I kept perfectly still and propped up, the room settled, but as soon as I moved my head it would start spinning again. After a trip abroad I had one that lasted 24 hrs, that was scary as I didnt know if it would wear off in time to get the plane home.

Keeping a diary showed that they would usually be the day before or the day after a bad migraine, thats when I realized they were connected. Having said that, I was diagnosed with menieres, then endolymphatic hydrops then inner ear lesion then vestibular migraine.


Thanks for the replies!
Christine,so your final diagnosis is vestibular migraine?
I started off with auto immune hearing loss,they atypical menieres and now leaning towards mav.
I just hope I am not one of the unlucky ones who have both.My ent last week said she is not sure if I have hydrops.
I don’ t get the ear fullness,only tinnitus which I can deal with.I do have hearing loss,which actually has come back 20% since being on Verapamil and getting tmj treatment.
I also cut my Serc dose down yesterday,I didn’t think it was doing anything.So maybe that is it.

James, I get tinnitus on a daily basis, some days worse than others. I get ear fullness that fluctuates from one week to the next. I get short violent vertigo attacks as well that can last for seconds, also what I call “the room shifts” that lasts just a couple of seconds.

I was told I had some slight hearing loss years ago but its not got any worse.

My advice is to keep on with the Serc, I have been on it for so many years now I cant remember but for someone that is really med sensitive, I can take it no problem and I am sure it helps as I am a lot better than I used to be years ago. You can add most things to the Serc anyway.

I take the odd Stemetil and that sometimes works when I am on a bad “dizzy” day as opposed to full blown vertigo.



Though I have not experienced hard core rotational vertigo from MAV per se (but have from two BPPV attacks) it is definitely within the spectrum of migrainous vertigo to experience this. Neuhauser and Lempert have mentioned this in their proposed criteria for MAV:

— Begin quote from ____

Episodic vestibular symptoms of at least moderate severity (rotational vertigo, other illusory self or object motion, positional vertigo, head motion intolerance, i.e. sensation of imbalance or illusory self or object motion that is provoked by head motion)

— End quote

Best … Scott

Hey James,

I use to get violent but short vertigo attacks when all this dizzy mess began in the late 80’s …and the spins became more violent and in the early 90’s the spins became more intense plusthe illnes became chronic. Basically, i would wake up from sleep maybe about 2am in the morning and i would literally have to crawl to the bathroom and throw up.Then i would proceed to the couch…and just sit there for maybe an hour or more…try not to move my head or else more vertigo and adventually become brave to slowly get back into bed with a couple of pillows behind my head. They were violent but short…but like i said once they stopped… and if i moved my head some more, the spinning would return. So yes…your not the only with violent vertigo.


i have had three or four of these types of attacks and they lasted many hours - one even went into the next day. they were horrible. my ENT last year told me i had menieres because of these “hydrops” episodes but then retested and said i didn’t have an inner ear problem. so off to the neuro i went. Still not sure if i have Mav or anxiety/allergies since no definitive test for MaV.

I sympathize with you though it’s an awful awful feeling. I have almost daily dizzies now but not spinning.

today was a horrible day at work - allergies starting in again and i felt like crap all day long made it through somehow.

hope you feel better soon.

i’m tired of being sick after 31 years



Yes, my vertigo is violent!!! There’s a reason it called Migraine Associated Vertigo.

The way Christine describes hers is pretty much how mine is. Most but not all of my attacks have happened in the early AM hours, I wake up with extreme vertigo, unable to move without it becoming so much worse. I have to remain in one position until it goes away, 4 or so hours later I can move. Now I keep valium, meclizine and promethazine next to my bed. I have been carried out by the ENT’s on a stretcher to the ER a couple times. This is what my vertigo has been like for the last 4 years, fortunately the attacks aren’t all that often. However, there was a time, 20 years ago when I would get violent vertigo but short lasting, less than 5 minutes. That went away after a while and 16 years late it came back in a different form. I also get little “mini spins” which last a second, feels like everything moves 1/4", very disconcerting.

I’ve been told I have atypical meniere’s and/or vestibular migraine plus a few other things, though only once have I had a migraine headache at the same time. And that one time, it was a very mild headache. I usually have photophobia during attacks.

I have bilateral tinnitus, sometimes bad, sometimes barely noticible, minimal to no fullness and hearing loss at the high end. My problems seem to be more visual than ear-related.

I’m taking verapimil and trying to stick to a gluten free, dairy free diet.

I hate vertigo more than just about everything. :cry:

Wow gang, I didn’t realise how badly some of you were getting clobbered by vertigo. :frowning:

ditto what Scott said - I have developed a new “appreciation” for my “rolf harris wobbleboard” visual vetigo.

Wow,that was some scary answers! I’m so sorry that you all are suffering like this.Has any one of you with this type of vertigo gotten any help with Nortriptyline, as that was what my GP and I were thinking of adding to the mix.

The experience I had yesterday was almost ‘‘drop like’’ in it’s suddenness and shortness. I was ok after, just very shaky.
This all started for me about 12 years ago with bouts of BPPV.
Then job stress started and I started getting wobbly off balance days, which I know now are typical of MAV.
I have a history of migraine with aura from the age of about 12, they stopped in my late 20s with Amitriptyline.

More job stress, had a drop attack at home, now that is scary! Went to the ER in an ambulance as I thought I was possibly dying. :smiley:
2 more of these. In between had days of off balance was wobbly. Went on sick leave. This is about 2 years ago.

Have been doing better; have only had occasional wobbly days when traveling this summer and not getting enough sleep. Short spins which I kind of felt might happen.

This one was so scary as I felt really pretty good. I liken it to terrorism. You just never know when it will happen.
Am going to go to gym! I will not let this defeat me even though it scares the hell out of me.

Thanks for all your responses and I wish you good health.

Hey James –

That’s one crazy history and sorry to hear about yesterday’s freak out. Everyone has their own unique story to tell with this junk. I like your “terrorist” analogy. So true. Hope you are back on deck again now.

Scott 8)

Since having this since I was 11 years old, I can recount 3 really VICIOUS vertigo attacks. 2 were after my c-section surgeries and the third was one morning I woke up straight up out of bed so dizzy, the worst I’d ever experience, I was spinning so fast, I didn’t know how I didn’t fall over. I ran downstairs, outside to just stare at the horizon, screaming for my husband to get my meclizine (which was what I only knew at the time to help) and was so bad I wanted to die. I think it started to slow down after an hour but I was so dizzy the rest of the day and couldn’t go to work.

There has also been a few times where my world will quickly turn upside down and then back again really quickly and leave me a little dizzy, but nothing close to the vicious attacks.

I also went to Yoga on Tuesday night (the first time since I was diagnosed) and had horrible balance, lightheadness and more rocky then usual so I think I’ll stop that for now.

I often think about the future and what I should do when and if I will ever have a violent attack and pray that it’s not when I’m driving. I think I’ll always keep my valium on me just in case that happens and I know it will.

I have had one violent attack as in vertigo back in April it lasted ALL day and once you get one your in fear of when you will get another . Even though dizziness is vile I would take that over the spins where you cant move!