People with MS sometimes experience bouts of dizziness during an exacerbation or on an ongoing basis. The symptoms can range from light headedness to sensations of rotational movement (vertigo) where individuals feel as if they or their surroundings are moving around and around. These symptoms may indicate myelin damage in the brainstem area that connects the inner ear and the brain.
Vertigo is often also associated with nystagmus, or jerky eye movements. Episodes last from a few minutes to weeks or months. There may be a single episode or there may be recurring episodes. Dizziness and vertigo may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting as with seasickness.
If associated with an exacerbation (flare up) of MS, these can occur with other symptoms, such as balance trouble, double vision, sensory or motor abnormalities, weakness, or numbness. Dizziness and vertigo can severely impact the ability of a patient to conduct daily activities. It is very important, therefore, to seek early intervention by an MS health care provider at the onset of these symptoms.