Your vertigo attacks, the symptoms and how long they last?

I was wondering what kinds of symptoms people get when they have an attack and how long they last. I am posing this question as i am still a bit bewildered at the severity of my last attack and my Dx.
I have had 4 severe attacks over 4 months, with a lot of smaller ones. A number of them have started sitting in front of the PC.
Sometimes i get aural fullness, sometimes not. If they are big attacks my hearing was severely affected with tinnitus. The last attack robbed me of what was left of my hearing in my right ear in only 4 months :frowning: I do get some symptoms in the left ear as well (tinnitus, variable hearing etc). During these attacks i do not get headaches, but Prof Halmagyi Dx it as vestibular migraine.
The attacks can last from only a few seconds to a couple of days like my last one did which has left me more off balance than ever before.

The more info i can get from people the better so thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Hi Dave,

If you are referring to the symptoms of a severe vertigo attack, first I have noticed I feel very tired before an attack, want to sleep, this can carry on through the attack, often, my vision is blurred, I know something is wrong, then every time I move the room spins, I end up on the bed for around 6 hrs not being able to move my head. I have had attacks lasting 2 hours very rarely 24 hrs. I generally get a bad migraine before the attack or after, you may only recognize this as a thick woolley head.Occasionally I get short vertigo lurches (like the room shifts for a few seconds).I have continuous tinnitus every day.
Feeling nauseous is common. I can be sweating before an attack, then usually go very cold and want to sleep when it is in full swing. Ugh, I feel ill just typing this :frowning:


Hey Christine :slight_smile:
Yes am referring to a severe vertigo attack.
Sounds like your attacks are nasty as well :frowning: And i know what you mean about the never ending tinnitus.
Thanks for providing some info :slight_smile:

Anyone else able to elaborate?

My attacks have been changing since day 1 so it’s kind of hard to say. I don’t have a diagnosis of MAV as of yet because I am waiting to get into a neurologist but I am 95% sure this is what I have if someone asked me to diagnose myself. Migraine medication like Relpax has worked for my pain so that is one of the many reasons I’m thinking this is MAV.

The first one lasted for two days where it started with a migraine and I was very unstable and dizzy but I wouldn’t call it true vertigo, nothing was spinning. I was really sensitive to motion like being in a car and I had extreme anxiety the whole attack. I felt sick and nauseous and disassociated from myself. I couldn’t focus my eyes on anything, was exhausted and my head felt very heavy. It was then followed by ear pressure for a week and bouts of bad ear pain. Then I got some bad stomach problems and then it went away. I had quite a few days regaining my balance again and was walking into everything.

The second attack a month later I got ear pain and pressure and only experienced dizziness on and off for a few hours. Then I had the ear pressure and pain again for a week, followed by the stomach problems and then again, it went away.

The third time things have really changed. I never got any dizziness, just ear pain and pressure on and off. I am also getting frequent migraines right between the eyes. This has all been happening now for the past month and there isn’t a day where I don’t feel at least one or more of these symptoms. I also am sensitive to sound and light and can feel my mood changing (either anxiety, being irrational or irritated) before some of these symptoms start.

I think everyone’s symptoms, especially with the dizziness are all different so sorry if none of my information helped you. I’m really sorry about your hearing loss and ongoing tinnitus does not sound fun. I hope you are feeling a bit better now, take care and let me know if you have any questions.

Hey Alexisc :slight_smile:
Thanks for your input. It is all greatly appreciated.
My big attacks involve full rotational vertigo, eye’s nystaging etc. Sometimes the spins go for a few seconds, or as in the latest attack over 4 days. The last one it took me two week to be really able to walk in a non-drunk fashion. The first 3 days i couldn’t walk unaided at all :frowning:
I still have some problems turning my head to the upper left and to the right, but it seems to be improving.
I am bummed about the hearing, especially since i get odd symptoms in my remaining functional ear. Upmost tho i want to get these vertigo attacks under control.
Still waiting for the TGA approval for the cinnarizine. I was advised by Prof Halmagyi’s receptionists it can take 3 weeks for approval. Then i need to send the script and get it posted up to me. Hopefully i get it up before christmas. I had come across a study referencing Serc to decreasing vestibular disturbance with migraine, so at the moment i am staying on the very high dose of 48mg TDS (three times a day) until the cinnarizine arrives.

My Big attack in May of 2007, was not rotational spins but more of everything in front of me moving, nystagmus and nonstop vomiting. I remember I would have these mini movements lasting maybe 2 minutes? but no vomiting or anything with the mini’s. Now with 3 daily preventatives, my sx stay contained…in other words no movement. But I do struggle with a woozy head alot as well as other symptoms. My big attack lasted a good 24 hours! The hospital (none of knew that it was migraine, but thought it was and inner ear thing) was able to stop the vomiting but the nystagmus was non stop that whole time!!


Oh Pam, Sounds the same as mine :frowning: What preventatives are you on?

I have been dizzy and off balance with all the symptoms of MAV for the last 4 years and never had any bad attack of vertigo where everything was spinning until I had 2 violent vertigo attacks in September and the second one I never fully recovered from. My ENT thought it was Meniere’s Disease. Right now I have a triple diagnosis of MAV, the found a small Dehiscence and high fluid pressure all in my right ear. I am being treated with Verapamil and it has seemed to help. It keeps me awake at night though so now I am so exausted during the day that my vertigo “jolts” are coming back. It is horrible and causes me an instant panic attack when it happens. I feel so sorry for my kids. Mom was so much fun and now I’m just a mess. You are NOT alone! Remember that!


Hey Leslie. It sure is a rotten thing. And my last attack i too feel i have not totally recovered from.
I am on a bunch of meds at the moment. The Prof said to come off most of them, but i am stopping them one by one only to see which ones maybe helping and which ones are not. I am on also Verapamil (180mg SR), but i am not convinced it has done anything for me. I am keen to try a beta blocker soon. I am on a very high dose of serc (48mg 3 times a day), plus was on a trial of high dose acyclovir as well. Am currently decreasing off Prednisolone.
Thanks for your input :slight_smile:

Hi Taaven,
I started with Nortriptalyne and ramped up to my current dose of 75mg. Then my blood pressure was slightly elevated and I had read that Verapamil (SR) is great for MAV as well as blood pressure, so the doc agreed to put me on that. I am on 240mg in the AM and 240mg in the PM. As migraineurs it is believed that we are low on Seratonin and I know with this ordeal, I certainly was low, so the doc agreed to put me on Effexor (ER) for which I am on 75mg. This keeps my migraine contained and thankfully has for 4 years!


Hey Pam. Thanks for that :slight_smile: It is all worth knowing. Want to get my Rx up and running sooner than later to get this stabilised. Am going to get my GP to D/W Prof Halmagyi before christmas hopefully

Good luck and keep us posted!!!


Hi Taavinen,
My vertigo attacks came on with short warning. I’d feel the pressure in my head and ears elevate, and my hearing would muffle. Vertigo would come on with a feeling like a shot of a dizzy wave through my head, and I had to lie down. Then the constant sense of motion would kick in, and it was unbearable. It wasn’t in any pattern, felt like I was being twirled and tossed about viciously. I couldn’t move, at all, or it would make the sensation go crazy. I couldn’t close my eyes because it would speed that sensation up. I had nystagmus too. I would always throw up, violently, and usually more than once. A couple of times, from the panic, hyperventilation would set in, and make my hands go tingly numb, and so bad once my fingers and hands froze up solid for about 20 minutes, I couldn’t move them they were so rigid. Scary. Most of the time it would be just numb and the “pins and needles” feel. Vertigo attacks lasted from 4 - 10 hours. Could not move without horrible results of speeding up the spins, and I couldn’t do so on my own, had to have someone hold me or I could only crawl. During the attack I would get exhausted and the best thing to happen would be to fall asleep, which I did often while it was happening, only to keep waking up still in the vertigo.

When it was over, and my head would clear fairly fast, I was exhausted, but able to function and pick up with my life as it was left. About hearing loss, I eventually went stone deaf in my bad ear over about a 6 month period. It was deaf for a couple of months. I had begun to understand some of what was causing the reactions to happen, and we started to eliminate those from our home, and I started getting better. My hearing began to come back, and within a few months it was almost entirely back again, with little permanent damage. Now I only start to experience hearing loss when my symptoms are getting bad, when exposed to something that trips my migraine.

In the beginning I didn’t have headaches, I’ve never had the stereotypical migraine headaches and auras, but I will get pressure at my temples and more of the description of sensations noted in a book I highly recommend called Heal Your Headache, by David Buchholz. Because of that book and help from other migrainous friends I have been able to make myself well, and without medications. It took a few years to get to feeling this good, but I eventually came to feel fairly normal with low grade migraine symptoms most of the time. Very manageable, with only 2 vertigo attacks in the past 3 years. But my first 3 years into this was miserable. I wanted to let you know so you can see it can get better. :slight_smile:

Hey Burd. Thanks for the input. Sounds very similar to my situation. Have PM’d you :slight_smile:

Been going on now for 8 weeks and during that time my symptoms have varied in intensity with a few days here and there with less intensity but overall not good. Symptoms include headaches that vary in intensity, spins, dizziness, head pressure, ear fullness, false motion, head motion intolerance - turning head, looking down - and all motion like if I’m sitting on my bed and my son jumps on next to me I’ll feel like I’m falling - vision issues - light sensitivity and some noise sensitivity, brain fog. I get nausea depending on how bad the symptoms are. Also anxiety.

During a good day, he could jump on the bed maybe 3 times before I would start to feel it. On a good day I can tolerate playing my piano but on a bad day, forget it.

I think I may have been having migraine issues before the vertigo because I’ve had all of these disturbances except the vestibular ones a lot this past year. I thought I was having a problem with my eyes last summer.

Starting Nortriptyline tonight. Wish me luck!


Good luck Julie! Hopefully the tricyclic will settle down some of your motion intolerance symptoms :slight_smile:
Thanks for your input!