(All information via WebMD)
Dizziness is a word that is often used to describe two different feelings. It is important to know exactly what you mean when you say "I feel dizzy" because it can help you and your doctor narrow down the list of possible problems.
Lightheadedness is a feeling that you are about to faint or "pass out." Although you may feel dizzy, you do not feel as though you or your surroundings are moving. Lightheadedness often goes away or improves when you lie down. If lightheadedness gets worse, it can lead to a feeling of almost fainting or a fainting spell (syncope). You may sometimes feel nauseated or vomit when you are lightheaded.
- Vertigo is a feeling that you or your surroundings are moving when there is no actual movement. You may feel as though you are spinning, whirling, falling, or tilting. When you have severe vertigo, you may feel very nauseated or vomit. You may have trouble walking or standing, and you may lose your balance and fall.
Definitely vertigo. Whirling and everything, I'm holding onto the wall like a drunk.
Migraines and Vision Problems
Roughly 20% of migraine headaches are preceded by an aura. The aura often includes visual symptoms. Vision problems usually appear 20 minutes to one hour before the headache starts. They may include blind spots or the appearance of flashing lights, spots of light, or wavy lines in the field of vision.
Migraines without aura -- the most common type of migraine -- do not produce aura symptoms to warn of their onset. They can, though, still cause vision problems and dizziness.
The International Headache Society also recognizes a type of migraine known as retinal migraine. This type of migraine produces a variety of visual symptoms. People with retinal migraines may suffer from blindness in one eye before and during the headache. Other serious conditions, such as optic nerve problems or a tear in the arteries that supply blood to the brain, may cause one-sided blindness. Therefore, it's important to consult a health care professional immediately to rule out other causes. Fortunately, the blindness or visual deficits caused by retinal migraine resolve completely when attacks subside.
Migraines, Vertigo, and Dizziness
Migraines are one of the leading causes of dizziness. More than 25% of the 20 million people in the U.S. who suffer from migraines experience this uncomfortable symptom. The dizziness caused by migraines may include feelings of lightheadedness or unsteadiness as well as true vertigo. Vertigo makes you feel as if the room is spinning.
Even though spinning sensations may appear to be vision problems, they're actually related to your inner ear. In fact, some people who experience migrainous vertigo also experience other ear and hearing problems. That includes sound sensitivity and ringing in the ears.
Dizziness and vertigo are more common in people who have migraines with aura, including vision problems, than in those who have headaches without aura. One particular type of migraine -- basilar migraine -- is the most likely to cause vertigo. It's also likely to cause ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and coordination difficulties. [So I guess I get these now/this is what I have?]
Some people who experience migraine-related vertigo don't develop this symptom until several years after their migraine episodes begin. [Oh dang] The headache-induced dizziness may precede or occur at the same time as the headache. In some instances, the symptoms of dizziness and vertigo develop in the absence of headache. The dizziness symptoms may last anywhere from a few seconds to days.
It can be difficult for a doctor to make a diagnosis of vertigo caused by migraine. That's because people who have these headaches often have other conditions that may cause dizziness. This can include anxiety, depression, and positional low blood pressure.