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What causes frequent episodes of dizziness?

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Posted on Tue, 24 Nov 2015
Question: the last few days i am having XXXXXXX blackouts or dizzy episodes when i move my head sometimes iether lying down or standing,it seems to be coming from the back of my head.What may be causing this.
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and your concern is understandable.

Those episodes of dizziness can have several potential causes. One common cause are inner ear disorders. Apart from hearing function the inner ear structures are involved in balance hence can result in such manifestations, often related to head movement like in your case. The dizziness though is more in the form of vertigo, a sensation of spinning movement, if that is your case it is the more likely cause.

Another possible cause may be neck degenerative arthritic changes. These changes can lead to irritation of upper cervical nerves which also are involved in balance by providing the brain with information about the head and neck position in space. Usually associated with some neck pain or soreness. Neck imaging from a simple xray to an MRI would provide information on that regard.

One last possible cause to be considered would be transitory lack of sufficient blood supply to the posterior areas of your brain. This could happen due to narrowing of the vertebral arteries, the vessels supplying these areas. This narrowing can occur either from atherosclerotic plaques of these arteries (more common in people suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, smokers, high cholesterol) or due to its compression by the degenerative neck changes I mentioned above (can lead to joint changes and bony spurs formation which can compress the arteries in close contact with the spine). This possibility can be explored through imaging through doppler ultrasound or CT/MRI imaging of blood vessels.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka (2 hours later)
thank you for your help . should I seek exrays immediately or wait to see if symtoms persist. I have upper neck pain when I lye down for exstended periods and have had high cholesterol for years around 6 but good cholesterol quiet good.
thanks phil
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (7 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Read below

Detailed Answer:
If neck arthritis is related I would say it is the least urgent cause and can wait a few days, it is a chronic issue which won’t require any urgent intervention anyway, physiotherapy would be the initial management.
The one possibility which would need more immediate attention would be the last, blood vessel issue as it would be a risk indicator for stroke. If you have had chronic neck issues though then it is not that likely, given also your young age and not many risk factors.
If on the other hand this neck pain started in an abrupt manner, with intense pain after a trauma, or an abrupt head movement, or prolonged extension of the neck (say painting a ceiling for hours keeping your head up), then it would raise some concern for another vessel issue called dissection of a neck artery which also would require immediate evaluation for other neurological signs and imaging as it could also be a source of stroke.

I hope to have been of help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3667 Questions

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What causes frequent episodes of dizziness?

Brief Answer: Read below. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and your concern is understandable. Those episodes of dizziness can have several potential causes. One common cause are inner ear disorders. Apart from hearing function the inner ear structures are involved in balance hence can result in such manifestations, often related to head movement like in your case. The dizziness though is more in the form of vertigo, a sensation of spinning movement, if that is your case it is the more likely cause. Another possible cause may be neck degenerative arthritic changes. These changes can lead to irritation of upper cervical nerves which also are involved in balance by providing the brain with information about the head and neck position in space. Usually associated with some neck pain or soreness. Neck imaging from a simple xray to an MRI would provide information on that regard. One last possible cause to be considered would be transitory lack of sufficient blood supply to the posterior areas of your brain. This could happen due to narrowing of the vertebral arteries, the vessels supplying these areas. This narrowing can occur either from atherosclerotic plaques of these arteries (more common in people suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, smokers, high cholesterol) or due to its compression by the degenerative neck changes I mentioned above (can lead to joint changes and bony spurs formation which can compress the arteries in close contact with the spine). This possibility can be explored through imaging through doppler ultrasound or CT/MRI imaging of blood vessels. I remain at your disposal for other questions.