This blog describes how to create your short and concise summary for explaining your dizziness and vertigo to a healthcare provider. I hope this saves you time during your visit!

A lot of patients have difficulty describing their symptoms. This leads to confusion for providers and frustration for patients. Some patients will say something like they’re walking around in a fog. Other patients will describe feeling like they are in a swirl or a black hole of some sort.

Using these descriptions for explaining your dizziness and vertigo are helpful in order to communicate with the providers back and forth about how you’re improving during the course of their care, but in general, they are not very helpful in the diagnostic process.

In this blog, I list questions you will need to answer to provide the information that a healthcare provider will really need to review in your summary to help you get an accurate diagnosis. I suggest you copy those questions and answer them to start. Explaining your dizziness and vertigo information to someone who specializes in dizziness and vertigo, will assist them in getting you the proper diagnosis and proper care on a fast track.

The data that your providers really need include your symptom onset, possible trigger, and how long the symptoms last. You can record this using your laptop, on a phone, you can write the information down like a log or a notebook, and if you’re too sick to write it down, you can ask somebody to help you create this summary.

Other information that is important when explaining your dizziness and vertigo is to note how your hearing is affected with the onset of dizziness or vertigo. Did you lose some of your hearing, did your hearing change, did it come back, did it start pulsing or ringing or roaring, whistling? Any change to your hearing should be noted.

Did you have any headache co-occurring with your symptoms?

Make a note of any feelings of being off-balance when explaining dizziness and vertigo.

About 50% of the survey participants (in a survey of 521 people) reported a fall as a result of their dizziness. About 15% of survey participants had injuries so severe that they had to go to the emergency room.

When explaining your dizziness and vertigo, make a note of any falls that you had and of any injuries that you sustained.

Include in your summary any triggering activities that you notice are causing discomfort while you are performing them, any movements that you’ve decided to avoid because you’re afraid that they will trigger symptoms, and how this is affecting your quality of life and your participation in society.

Some people are not able to eat because of nausea. If this has affected your ability to eat, or your ability to exercise, make a note of that.

How are you sleeping? Are you having to sleep upright to avoid dizziness or vertigo? Are you being woken up in the middle of the night with bed spins?

In this blog, I will list common triggering positions that you may want to include in your summary of your vertigo experience.

For more tips on preparing for a healthcare visit, click here.


This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

Accessibility Toolbar