Understanding the distinction between dizziness and vertigo is crucial in comprehending vestibular issues and seeking appropriate rehabilitation. While both terms often get used interchangeably, they represent distinct sensations related to balance and equilibrium.


Dizziness is a broad term encompassing various sensations of unsteadiness, lightheadedness, or feeling faint. It’s a subjective feeling that something isn’t quite right with your balance, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate a specific cause. Dizziness can stem from multiple factors, including dehydration, low blood pressure, anxiety, medication side effects, vestibular disorder, or underlying health conditions unrelated to the inner ear.

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On the other hand, vertigo refers specifically to the false sensation of movement or spinning, either of oneself or the surrounding environment. It’s often associated with a dysfunction in the inner ear or the vestibular system, which plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and spatial orientation. Vertigo can be triggered by various conditions, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuritis, Meniere’s disease, or other vestibular disorders.

The Difference Between Dizziness & Vertigo

The key difference lies in their underlying causes and the nature of the sensation experienced. Dizziness is a broader term encompassing a range of unsteadiness, while vertigo refers specifically to the illusion of movement or spinning.

How Vestibular Rehabilitation Helps

Vestibular rehabilitation plays a vital role in addressing both dizziness and vertigo. This specialized therapy focuses on exercises and maneuvers aimed at improving balance, reducing vertigo symptoms, and enhancing overall vestibular function. By targeting specific issues within the vestibular system, rehabilitation helps individuals regain stability, reduce discomfort, and improve their quality of life.

Diagnosis is Key

Whether experiencing dizziness, vertigo, or a combination of both, seeking professional evaluation and guidance is essential for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate rehabilitation strategies. Understanding these nuances can aid individuals in navigating their vestibular health journey more effectively and seeking the right interventions for their specific symptoms.

Learn more about Vestibular Rehabilitation at collegiatesportsmedicine.ca/services/vestibular-rehabilitation

​Aspen Haynes, PT​
Collegiate Sports Medicine​
​Red Deer Campus 403-352-7979​