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Q&A: How long does vertigo usually last?

Consumer Reports News: December 23, 2009 06:38 AM

I received a diagnosis of vertigo a few weeks ago and still have trouble balancing. How long does it usually last? —P.E.M., Lawrenceville, Pa.

Most cases of vertigo—dizziness so severe it makes you feel like the room is spinning—last for a few days at most. It can also recur periodically, a condition known as benign positional vertigo. The problem usually stems from tiny particles that get stuck in a sensitive area of the inner ear that’s responsible for maintaining balance.

Many sufferers get immediate relief from a series of repositioning movements, called the Epley maneuver, that can dislodge the particles. You can learn the exercises in a doctor’s office or on your own on the American Academy of Family Physician's web site (search for “Epley maneuver”). If your vertigo has lasted longer than a week, ask your doctor about other possible causes, including multiple sclerosis, stroke, or more rarely, a brain tumor.

Take a look at our list of symptoms not to ignore, including vertigo, and see our for two natural remedies for vertigo (subscribers only).

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