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National Migraine Centre
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migraine with vertigo

Does anyone get vertigo attacks then migraine I get a headache that lasts two weeks then vertigo attacks

I also suffer from sinus pain, depression and anixety

25 Replies

I get vertigo attacks that sometimes come with my optical migraine. I also get moments of vertigo without headache. They come more often if I am very busy or tired. If I stand still for a minute...not a full minute usually, it goes. Sometimes I'll need to sit down or hold on to something, but it passes. Headache sometimes follows, sometimes visual disturbance follows and then a full optical migraine. Very variable. Much better, though, since they put me onto daily propranolol modified release. I take that every day. I don't get depression. I've always had a tendency to sinusitis.


how long does it take for the propanolol works started today


sounds similar


I never used to,but I am experiencing some different symptoms this time.Dizziness,vertigo,with & without the new medication the Doc has given me.It is most unpleasant


Yes, I had my first vertigo attack at 12 years old. I then had my first visual migraine at 16. I'm now 42 and have only just had the vertigo firmly diagnosed as vestibular migraine, it seems difficult to get diagnosed as you don't always have a migraine at the same time as having vertigo.

Most GPs are not well informed on migraine and vertigo so if it starts to interfere with life regularly it is worth seeing a neuro-otologist for a firm diagnosis.

I get acute spells of vertigo that last for weeks/months now (some so bad I cannot move at all without rotational vertigo and have to lie flat, unable to move my head at all), but I'm getting better. There are things that you can do that can sometimes help with coping/recovering from vertigo.

Anxiety seems to go hand in hand with vertigo and having migraines. It is stressful, and does make you feel depressed. Sinus problems are also common with migraine.I thought I had all year round rhinitis for years and was using nasal steroids. As soon as I found out that migraine caused these problems I stopped using all steroids/hayfever treatments. Menthol steam inhalation is better and safer and will help keep the pressure from moving to your ears, and making you dizzy. I don't feel any worse for not taking over the counter remedies, in fact what I thought were allergies appear not to be present at all now.

Keep well.

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Hello Saffron Bread,

I just read your story and felt that it was similar to mine. I have never talked to anyone who had anything similar to me. I am 47 now and my neurologist says that things should get better during and after the menopause. Fingers crossed!

I spent 15 years being diagnosed with sinus infections - my new gp now concurs with the neurologists that its a sinus migraine! All those years of taking antibiotics!

Anyway, it was good to read your story and to hear the similarities. My story is below.

Keep Well

Clare :)


Hi Clare, sorry I didn't reply to this sooner. Sorry to hear that we are in the same exclusive migraine vertigo club!

I haven't been told my symptoms will improve after the menopause, but I'm peri-menopausal so that could be years away for me yet. However I know some migraineurs whose migraines have reduced by 90% after menopause, and others whose haven't changed at all. Fingers crossed we'll be the lucky ones!

It takes a long time to get a diagnosis if you don't see specialists, and yet very often we don't get access to, or perhaps think we need a specialist with all the different symptoms not being connected. It sounds like you have got to a place where you have medication that helps, that is good news. Keep well and take care.



hi saffron bread, i sent a reply etc below earlier, re menopause --- i am post menopause for many years after a full hysterectomy, however I was completely well with hormone patches [no headaches migraine or vertigo]for 10 years which appeared to be too long for hormone replacement therapy, hence the patches were stopped around 7 years ago, , re hormones I guess you can have your level checked now if you have not already and could be an answer, however i did develope high bp and as said below was given beta blockers and was free of migraine etc for the time I was taking them, as i have diuretics my doctor does not advise beta blockers at this time! regards tina


hi, i seem to have had symptoms very similar to yours , thank you for the info especially the menthol steam inhalation to help the ear dizziness .

I am confused with various conflicting diagnosis at present and I agree Doctors seem to dismiss symptoms at times. I have had vertigo attacks for some time and increasing to approx every two weeks of late , all my doctor does is give me prochlorperazine when I have the attacks, they do reduce the sick feeling but make you so drousy and I seem to have a worse headache with the tablets. Years ago I had migraine with an aura and as the attacks would be brief I used to carry around a bottle of lucazade and paracetamols and if i was driving i would pull into a layby till the headache wore off, I was given a beta blocker at the time for high blood pressure and this stopped the migraine with aura attacks for the time I took the beat blockers which was around three years. however my meds were changed about a bit then and beta blockers are not advised now with diuretic meds i take . I will try the menthol treatrment as soon as i can , thank you and I wish you well as the vertigo etc is the worst thing . At present I feel agrophobic and not able to attend functions with confidence in case i get ill. Can you tell me do the vertigo attacks you have start suddenly as mine do? mine also last days it appears on the fifth day I feel the vertigo lifting, also a vertigo consultant gave me excercises to do when I get an attack , however I will not do them as they make me feel so bad much worse in fact , kind regards xx

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Hi Tina

This is really long, I'm sorry! But there's so much to share:

I'm so sorry to read what your going through,I understand how scary, frustraging and frightening it can be.

Lucozade and paracetomols...many I've spoken to say that a full sugar fizzy drink with painkillers at the onset is really helpful and can help to abort an attack. I think I agree. It sounds like the beta blockers helped your migraine, would you ask your GP/consultant to consider looking at your other meds, maybe changing them to something compatible with beta blockers so that you can go back on them? Otherwise it's such a shame as finding meds that we can tolerate and that help is not easy. If you can reduce your migraine attacks it will most likely reduce the vertigo attacks.

Try not to let yourself get agoraphobic, I have been in the past (around 30 years ago, not long after all this started - but of course I didn't know what it was). It took so long to get over. I don't go out much right now, especially if alone as I worry that I might lose my vision or balance,but not because I am scared of being outside per se. If I'm with my husband, once I'm out I don't think about it at all unless I'm feeling unwell. I know it's hard but try not to let the anxiety build up into a phobia. Do you have panic attacks? Do you know how to avoid or to help work on beating a phobia?

Yes, the vertigo tends to come on suddenly, but if you look back over the 24 hours prior to attacks you might be able to see warning signs that could help you plan around them. It's boring but keeping a diary will help.I notice: not sleeping well and feeling exceptionally 'heavy and exhausted ,very bad headache in previous 7 days, knotty, twisted feeling around the eyes, and sometimes even auras,I had an aura of black and white the day before a really acute attack last year, stiff achey, tight muscles. I think these are signs to rest up, sometimes resting at that time might be able to ward off an attack. Tiredness does not help vertigo, neither does stress.

The vertigo attacks can last for seconds, hours, days or weeks. It really varies, but generally I can tell by the pressure feeling in my head how serious the attack is and whether it's going to be a short or long one. Do you experience that really bad pressure in your head, with ear fullness, with your 5 day ones? I take prochlorperazine too, but only when I feel that I am in an acute phase. I tend to take 1/2 tabletat night and it at least gives me a good nights sleep without waking up jumping with vertigo through the night and nearly giving my husband a heart attack!! I can't tolerate a whole tablet, it makes me like a zombie, I can hardly talk with it. I understand it's best not to take them too regularly as they can sometimes slow down your recovery as they don't allow your balance to naturally correct itself, but when you need them, you need them! It's just good to be aware of these issues.

It sounds like your consultant has given you vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) exercises. These could help you enormously.Some will make you dizzy at first, but if you can just stop, rest for a minute and continue, how many times you need it will get easier. I was given around 8 to do. I can now do all but 1 of them without them making me feel dizzy. These are good as you need to re-train your balance, and these exercises help you do that. I was told to do them twice a day for 3 months, but not on bad migraine days as it would make me worse. Do you have a WiiFit? I use this to do balance exercises too...some studies have shown this to be beneficial and some NHS physios use it in the hospitals to do VRT. They say you need to get a little dizzy for the body to correct itself, this does not mean putting up with full rotational spin, but perhaps just experimenting and trying to push yourself a little to see how much you can put up with before you stop the movements. Always be safe, and maybe have someone alongside you if you think you are at risk of falling/something to lean against or hold onto.

I hope NMC don't mind me posting this link to the Vestibular Disorders Association in America:


I have found this to be the most helpful and informative site available on migraine associated vertigo, with lots of information sheets that you can share with your GP/family, and lots of practical tips on how to cope in social situations etc. It's been a godsend for me, even down to using their documents to claim for ESA.

I hope you will find some of this helpful! :)

Take care Tina, and I wish you lots of good days to come. xx

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I should clarify :VEDA don't have documents to claim ESA. I used their fact sheets to support my claim as they described migraine associated vertigo: the symptoms, effects and impact on sufferers.


I have read the site and most helpfull i will read with more intensity when i can thanks again


hi saffron, aww thank you so much for taking the time to write the information. yes i have the same symptoms the full ness in the head my eyes are not in focus and i feel sick and disorientated and can't walk to the bathroom without falling from side to side, i have noticed a pain also in the back of my neck at these times. In future I will note the prior symptoms as you said.

I also go out with my husband if i feel well , i 'was' a confident outgoing happy person and seem to be at home all the time at present and i am afraid also now to go out alone just in case . i have taken ill at weddings functions on holiday visiting my family who live down south so many times of late , and i miss out a lot of famnily times too so very depressing of late.

I took the full doses of prochloperazine three times a day when i went 'down' the other day , the attack was really a bad one , but i like the fact that you take the half a tablet sometimes as yes they do make you into a zombie indeed I think i sleep for the first two days with the tablets! also today i read that prochlorpazine and diuretics such as indapamide that i take do not mix and not advised and can be dangerous , I wonder why doctors do not note this sort of thing

i so wish i could have coped with the exercises to test if they would help but I just could not and indeed my head did go in a massive spin when i tried to do them it was expremely scary, i was already in a full blown attack of vertigo so i tended to just lie still looking ahead as that is all i seem to be able to do to stop the 'panic' and the stress that for me comes with the attack.

Perhaps I also had migraine symptoms and that made me feel far worse , five days later today the feelings have subsided quite a lot but my head is still muzzy.

I must say I have just had a loop revealer fitted by the cardiologist that the 'vertigo' chap sent me to, this is mainly for attacks somewhat different to the vertigo but--- I am wondering if they are combined, the cardiologist is suggesting that i may need a pacemaker, I know it sounds drastic but if that is the answer i would do anything to live a life again! The alternate attacks are very sudden ,passing out feeling , i am pale disorientated breathing difficulties , my eyes do not focus, yes I panic due to this. The revealer has been inserted in my chest and when i have a bad attack as just said , i have a wee device that i can put over the revealer and record any irregular heart beat etc that may be there . It would record automatic any problem whilst having the vertigo attack . I have the device checked on the 6th july.

I previously some years ago had a stroke --- this was discovered on a ct scan for something else! I can remember well the unusual symptoms at the time but a call out doctor said i had had a vertigo attack! so there fore the stroke was left untreated for a few years really, not good eh !!! the symptoms of the stroke i remember well and quite different to the vertigo attacks as i know them at present but then i took the doctors word!

there is an article in todays Daily Mail re migraine and vertigo you may find interesting , the young woman had various symptoms eventually a specialist put her on a tablet called 'pizotifen ' it is worth a read. thank you again for your help and kindness tina x


hi there, i understand how you feel i couldn't leave my home for five years it takes over your life if you let it, but im going to fight it now and getting out more, best of luck.


I get dizziness too, though not always linked to a migraine attack - I am keeping a diary to see if there is a link, but it does not seem obvious yet. I had my first dizziness attack in November and have had frequent but mild attacks since - I can't walk to fast or get out of bed too quickly or the room starts spinning!

I've also had a lot of sinus pain over the years, after lots of investigations it seems that what I thought were infections with intense sinus pain, were in fact migraines. Regular physiotherapy/sports massage has helped this, I have lots of sore spots in my neck and shoulders that refer pain to my face.

I am now noticing that I do have feelings of anxiety and low mood, particularly after a migraine attack so I sympathise. It's difficult to know whether these feelings are just due to coping with the health problems or other issues.


i have suffered from vertigo for years, just seems to come out of nowhere and very unpleasant. like being drunk, can't walk and need to sit or lie down until it passes which can be hours. sometimes the start of a migraine but sometimes just when i'm tired i think. completely different from the dizziness you get from low blood pressure. just impossible to walk without falling to one side. my father also gets this so i don't know if it's hereditary? i have also had problems with depression/anxiety and sinus probs. also epilepsy and i don't know if any of these are related. good luck and nice to meet you :)


I highly recommend going to migraine.com and checking out the phases of a migraine because depression/anxiety can be parts of the phases of a migraine or they can be comorbid (co-existing) conditions, so you really should see your GP about that.

When I finally got my chronic migraine diagnosis what I had been attributing to sinus pain/sinusitis was actually migraines and even some sinus medications can relieve some minor migraine pain, so make sure you see a neurologist that has a specialty in migraines.

I also experience vertigo with some of my migraines. I usually get the vertigo as a part of my aura stage and sometimes during the pain/headache stage.

I've also been diagnosed with mild depression, but now that I'm seeing improvement with my migraines I think that the depression was a part of my migraine cycles and not a separate thing on it's own, and if it is, I wouldn't blame my body for having some brain chemicals being a bit wonky with all the other crazy stuff going in in there!


Oh gosh, you've just described to a tee exactly what I go through. I thought I was the only one! I feel 'normal' now - in some respects.


I had my first episode of vertigo and dizziness when I was 9 years old. I had a year of this and then in my 20's and 30's I had the odd couple of weeks when I would be dizzy. I was never told that I might have migraines.

During my 30's I had a half a dozen commen migraine attacks, with the distortion infront of my eyes but the headaches were never too bad and the attacks never lasted more than a couple of hours.

However, from the age of about 28 onwards I had a pain in the back of my neck and in my sinus's and the left side of my head. I was told I had sinus problems. I was put on antibiotics about 6 times a year. I have recently been told that these are sinus migraines.

5 years ago the dizziness returned with a vengence, along with the pain in my neck and sinus and increasingly over the years head ache. At first I was diagnosed with menieres disease but then my ENT surgeon said he thought that that I might actually have migraines.

Before being put on medication I would get attacks that lasted or felt like they lasted 21 days. At first the main element of the attack was dizziness, like phobia, sound phobia. I got inflamation in my sinus. Pain in the left side of my face, sinus and the left side of my neck. After about 18 months, I increasingly got more headaches on top of my head. The attacks got so severe I couldn't get out of bed for days on end.

My GP didn't seem to know what was wrong with me. I had been sent for scans which didn't show anything on my brain but it was a very frightening time.

It was not only very painful but I couldn't do anything much, couldn't do much on the computer, read, watch tv, concentrate on anything. I became increasingly anxious and depressed and then of course the Drs concentrate on that!

I was eventually sent to see the headache specialist a neurologist at the JR. I tried several different things. Epilim didn't work well. Made my hair fall out.

I am now on a combination of topimax, pizotifen for the migraines and betahistine for possible menieres.

Apparentley there is often a cross over with Migraine and menieres disease.

The specialist thinks as I do that they are predominately hormonal my attacks and he is confident that after the menopause things should get better for me. Fingers crossed. I have found however that while I can eat chocolate during a quiet faze, that during an attack if I eat chocolate, it makes it worse!

Stress is also a huge factor with me. So hormones and Stress are my 2 biggest factors.

Not alot seems to be known about dizziness and migraines. It turns out that I presented dizziness for years rather than the classic headache and while I also had light phobia. Because I didn't have the classic headache, my GP didn't realise I had migraines.

You have a big huug from me. Its most uncomfortable but I am much more comfortable on the medications I am now taking.

I wish you all the best :)


thanks so much i am grinding my teeth also in awful pain


Hello Knowles. Have you been to the clinic recently to see a specialist about this? We'd love to help. 0207 251 3322.


Yes I got the report today I have got to see the GP tommorow about the tablets. Suggested Propranolol to start with.


I suffered from verigo for several years before I started to get pain as well and was diagnosed with migraine. I think it's quite common.


Hi there, I absolutely do get vertigo too. About a week or so before and leading up to a nasty migraine. I'm not saying its correct but I am saying its part of the pattern for migraines for me, together with dizziness and tight and fuzzy, tight feelings. Take care.


I have had vertigo since last September and this seems to have become worse, the docs originally decided it was an ear problem but after endless (pointless) tests they have now decided it may be down to recurring severe migraines. The vertigo came first then migraines seemed to come in December. Does this sound similar to anyone else who has actually managed to get a diagnosis? Back to the GP this afternoon to start the reffering process all over again after hitting another dead end with ENT (who suggested migraines but wouldn't refer me to neurologist unless I took yet another day out of work for a 3rd hearing test!) Hows best to get to see a neurologist? All feedback extremely welcome!


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