Dizziness Made Worse by Moving The Head Symptoms & Causes

Understand dizziness made worse by moving the head symptoms, including 9 causes & common questions.

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  1. 9 Possible Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

9 Possible Dizziness Made Worse By Moving The Head Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced dizziness made worse by moving the head. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Possible meniere's disease

Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in the ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. Meniere's commonly develops between the ages of 20 and 60, and most often starts in only one ear.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: nausea, episodic dizziness, ringing in the ears, vertigo (extreme dizziness), ear fullness/pressure

Urgency: Primary care doctor


Dehydration means the body does not have enough water to carry out its normal processes.

Most susceptible to serious dehydration are young children with fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. In adults, some medications increase urination and can lead to dehydration. Anyone exercising vigorously, especially in hot weather, can quickly become dehydrated.

Symptoms include extreme thirst; dry mouth; infrequent, dark-colored urine; dizziness; and confusion. Young children may have sunken eyes, cheeks, and soft spot on top of the skull.

Severe dehydration is a serious medical emergency that can lead to heat stroke, kidney damage, seizures, coma, and death. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through blood tests and urine tests.

Mild dehydration can be treated simply by drinking extra water, or water with electrolytes such as sports drinks. More serious cases may be hospitalized for intravenous fluids.

It's important for anyone who is outside in hot weather, or who is ill, to drink extra fluids even before feeling thirsty as thirst is not always a reliable guide.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, dizziness, vomiting or diarrhea, racing heart beat, being severely ill

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, is a common cause of vertigo –dizziness whenever the position of the head is significantly changed.

BPPV may occur after a head injury, whether minor or serious; or it can be caused by inner ear damage, which affects balance.

Most susceptible are women over 50, though it can happen to anyone at any age.

Symptoms include mild to intense dizziness or spinning; loss of balance; nausea; and sometimes vomiting. Flickering, jerking eye movements called nystagmus often occur at the same time.

Though BPPV is not dangerous in itself, it can cause falls and interfere with quality of life. If the dizziness occurs with severe headache, vision changes, trouble speaking, or paralysis, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, particularly looking for nystagmus. Specialized eye tests and imaging may be done.

BPPV may eventually resolve on its own. If not, therapy to adjust the sensitivity of the inner ear may be done, and in some cases surgery is effective.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: nausea, episodic dizziness, vomiting, vertigo (extreme dizziness), dizziness

Symptoms that always occur with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: episodic dizziness

Symptoms that never occur with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: hearing loss, heartbeat sound in the ear, ringing in the ears

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) characterized by a rapid rate and irregular rhythm that feels like the heart is quivering. It can lead to chest discomfort, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and the formation of blood clots, which can cause...

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Dizziness Made Worse By Moving The Head Symptom Checker

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Central vertigo

Central vertigo is vertigo due to a disease originating from the brain or spinal cord. Vertigo can cause individuals to experience hallucinations of motion of their surroundings.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: vertigo (extreme dizziness), numbness or tingling sensations in skin, difficulty walking, jerky, unsteady, or uncoordinated walk, motor disturbance

Symptoms that always occur with central vertigo: vertigo (extreme dizziness)

Symptoms that never occur with central vertigo: hearing loss, heartbeat sound in the ear

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Earwax blockage

Ear wax production is a normal process, as the body makes wax to protect the ear from infection. Sometimes ear wax can build up and cover the eardrum, which is a thin layer of skin that stretches across the end of the ear canal and picks up sound from outside. Ear wax buildup has nothing to do with poor hygiene, and it is not possible to prevent a build-up by washing.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: dizziness, dry cough, ear canal pain, ear fullness/pressure, ringing in the ears

Symptoms that never occur with earwax blockage: swollen ear, fever

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Vitamin b12 deficiency

B12 is an essential vitamin for the production of myelin, a compound that speeds up the conduction of nerve impulses, and the production of red blood cells, the cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. It only occurs naturally in diets containing animal byproducts.


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Motion sickness

Motion sickness is also known as car sickness, travel sickness, seasickness, or air sickness. It is the feeling of dizziness and nausea that some individuals feel when riding in a moving vehicle.

It is caused by a clash between what the eyes see and what the inner ears sense. For example, a boat moving up and down or a theme park ride spinning and twisting causes the inner ear to sense movement. At the same time, the brain knows that the person is not making those movements and disorientation results.

Most susceptible are children; pregnant women; and anyone who suffers from migraine headache.

Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, paleness, cold sweat, headache, and vomiting.

If symptoms persist even when no longer riding or traveling, a medical provider should be seen to rule out other conditions such as an inner ear infection.

Looking at a stable object, such as the horizon, can be helpful. Otherwise, there are several good medicines for motion sickness that can be taken before leaving for the trip or getting on the ride.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: nausea or vomiting, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach bloating

Symptoms that always occur with motion sickness: nausea or vomiting

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Vestibular dysfunction

The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. If disease or injury damages these processing areas, vestibular dysfunction can result. People with vestibular dysfunction usually get light headed, or lose balance easily. It can also result from or be worsened by genetic or environmental conditions, or occur for unknown reasons.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: nausea, vertigo (extreme dizziness)

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Real-life Stories

Once your story is reviewed and approved by our editors, it will live on Buoy as a helpful resource for anyone who may be dealing with something similar. If you want to learn more, try Buoy Assistant.

The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.

Submitted Stories

My Mysterious Vertigo

Male, 23 years young. February 24 (2020), I was struck by vertigo. It happened a few minutes after working out. It was just like another normal night for me--lying down (face down), focused on playing my favorite mobile game. I wanted to switch positions where I'd be able to play more comfortably. But just as I got out (quickly) from the push-up position (trying to get into a proper sitting position), everything started to spiral. I was so scared because I did not understand what was happening. The spiraling lasted for a couple of minutes. After the spiraling, I felt very dizzy and nauseous. That night and the following day, I puked. This feeling, accompanied by a pressure on my head temples and forehead (just above my eyebrows) lasted for two weeks. There were also times that the pressure and dizziness would intensify when I got exposed to bright lights and loud noises. March 5, Thursday last week, I got the coughs, colds, and a dry throat accompanied by a hoarse voice. Fast forward to March 9, exactly two weeks after vertigo attack, I got rushed to the hospital because the back of the head feels painful when I lie down, plus the pressure was also starting to build up on my ears, not only on my head temples and forehead. I also tried lying down facing left and right, but both sides also hurt, as if telling me not to lie down sideways. They injected pain reliever that fortunately worked. I went back to my ENT Dr. to tell him what have happened. He recommended that I take sinupret for for one week. Since taking the medicine, the pressure on my temples and ears gradually decreased. My ENT doctor ruled out BPPV and cerebellopontine angle tumor after doing eye tests on me. Albeit the improvement, I am still worried about my condition because they haven't pin-pointed it out yet. My hearing tests also garnered positive results. However, I have been hearing thumping and ringing sounds on my right ear. Could it be that there's something wrong with my ears? Or is there a more serious underlying condition? I hope someone could help. Thank you.

Read More ...

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Dizziness Made Worse By Moving The Head

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Do you hear a ringing or whistling sound no one else hears?
  • Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Have you noticed a change in your hearing?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Dizziness Made Worse By Moving The Head Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your dizziness made worse by moving the head

Dizziness Made Worse By Moving The Head Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced dizziness made worse by moving the head have also experienced:

  • 8% Nausea
  • 7% Headache
  • 5% Fatigue

People who have experienced dizziness made worse by moving the head were most often matched with:

  • 50% Dehydration
  • 25% Possible Meniere'S Disease
  • 25% Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

People who have experienced dizziness made worse by moving the head had symptoms persist for:

  • 41% Less than a day
  • 25% Less than a week
  • 17% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

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