Side profile of a woman with a wavy rollercoaster track running through her head

Can Psoriatic Arthritis Cause Vertigo?

I was walking through a busy train station the first time my vertigo hit. There were tons of people walking around me and at any moment, I felt like I was going to crash into someone. When I tried looking up at the train schedule, it made the world spin even faster. Was the world spinning or was I?

As I made my way to the platform, my stomach lurched. I became terrified of falling off the ledge, which appeared to move unpredictably. I managed to find a seat and sink into it, feeling relieved, and finally feeling safe.

Vertigo is terrifying

Vertigo makes life positively terrifying. The dizziness makes it easy to lose balance or crash into something. Even when you're sitting, it makes it hard to concentrate on anything other than the fact that you feel like you're riding on a roller coaster.

Connecting the inner ear

There are a variety of health conditions related to psoriatic arthritis. Studies have shown that people living with a psoriatic disease can suffer from damage to their inner ears.

For some, this damage can appear as hearing loss. However, it can also cause other issues including dizziness and vertigo.

Neck and jaw pain

Vertigo can also occur if you suffer from neck or jaw pain affected by psoriatic arthritis. Inflammation in your jaw may irritate the inner ear, triggering dizziness or earaches.

There is also a type of dizziness, called cervical vertigo, that can be brought on by arthritis in the neck. Personally, I experience vertigo due to my temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and neck pain.

Poll

Do you experience vertigo?

Seek help from a doctor

If you're experiencing vertigo, it's essential to seek help from a doctor. It may mean it's time to adjust your treatment plan, including adding the option of more physical therapy.

It can also mean new medications such as Dramamine to reduce the spinning sensation or muscle relaxers. Even if you feel sure that your dizziness is brought on by PsA, you should still check in with your doctor.

Is vertigo a side effect?

While it's true that some people with PsA experience vertigo due to their condition, it's not safe to make assumptions. It could be a side effect of a medication or a sign something else is going on.

For example, sometimes during allergy season, I experience vertigo if I'm suffering from a lot of sinus congestion. Treating my allergies with nasal steroids significantly reduces my symptoms!

If you suspect your jaw is the cause of your dizziness, it helps to see a dentist. There are many options to help treat TMJ inflammation, such as splinting, physical therapy, or even acupuncture. Addressing the issue at the source will significantly reduce or could eliminate vertigo.

Tips for management

It's hard to live with vertigo. While you're waiting to get help, try to avoid getting into dangerous situations like driving, standing on public transportation, or riding a bike.

Stabilize yourself by sitting or lying down during a dizzy spell. Lean on a wall, shopping cart, or something stable if you are unable to sit. I know these things aren't always practical. We all have busy lives and can't take the time to stop, but safety should always be your priority.

Don't be afraid to ask for help and let others know what's going on. Many people have experienced vertigo or know someone who does and understand how dangerous it could be. In my experience, others have expressed empathy when I've needed accommodations.

I'm thankful for how much others have helped me; they've been my rock while my world was spinning. Or, at least helped me dodge all the people at the train station.

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