Feeling unsteady or dizzy can be caused by many factors such as poor circulation, inner ear disease, medication usage, injury, infection, allergies, and/or neurological disease. Dizziness is treatable, but it is important for your doctor to help you determine the cause so that the correct treatment is implemented.
Dizziness can be described in many ways, such as feeling lightheaded, unsteady, giddy, or feeling a floating sensation. Vertigo is a specific type of dizziness experienced as an illusion of movement of one’s self or the environment.Your sense of balance is maintained by a complex interaction of the following parts of the nervous system:
- The inner ear (also called the labyrinth), which monitors the directions of motion, such as turning, rolling, forward-backward, side-to-side, and up-and-down motions.
- The eyes, which monitor where the body is in space (i.e., upside down, right side up, etc.) and also directions of motion.
- The pressure receptors in the joints of the lower extremities and the spine, which tell what part of the body is down and touching the ground.
- The muscle and joint sensory receptors (also called proprioception) tell what parts of the body are moving.
- The central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), which processes all the information from the four other systems to maintain balance and equilibrium.
The symptoms of motion sickness and dizziness appear when the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the other four systems.