Vestibular Migraine: Common Triggers and How To Manage Them

Vestibular Migraine: Common Triggers and How To Manage Them

Do you suffer from vestibular migraine? If so, you know how debilitating it can be. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common triggers for vestibular migraine and how to manage them. We will also provide some tips on how to cope with attacks when they occur.

First what is a vestibular migraine attack? 

It is a type of migraine where dizziness, vertigo, and balance problems are the predominant symptoms.

Some common triggers for vestibular migraines include stress, certain foods (such as aged cheeses, processed meats, alcohol), changes in sleep patterns, bright lights or loud noises, hormonal changes during menstruation or menopause, and medication side effects.

So how do you manage these triggers? One of the most important things is to keep a migraine diary and track what may be triggering your attacks. This can help identify patterns and pinpoint specific triggers for you.

Managing stress levels is also crucial in preventing vestibular migraine attacks. Finding ways to relax.

What’s the best vestibular migraine treatment?

First, it’s important to identify and avoid triggers. Some of the most common triggers include stress, lack of sleep, bright or flickering lights, certain foods and additives (such as MSG or artificial sweeteners), strong smells, alcohol and caffeine. Keeping a migraine diary can help you pinpoint your personal triggers.

Once you have identified your triggers, it’s important to try to avoid them as much as possible. However, this is not always feasible. In those cases, managing attacks through medication and relaxation techniques can be helpful. In fact, physiotherapy is one of the most effective vestibular migraine treatment options.

Physiotherapists use a variety of techniques to help people with manage vestibular migraine symptoms. These may include exercises to improve balance and vestibular function, education about how to manage dizzy spells, and advice on lifestyle modifications.

Habituation exercises

Can also be helpful in managing vestibular migraine symptoms. These involve exposing yourself to movements that trigger dizziness in a controlled manner, gradually increasing the intensity until your brain learns to adapt and the dizziness decreases.

Balance exercises

Such as standing on one foot, walking heel to toe, or standing with your eyes closed- can also be helpful in improving vestibular function and reducing dizziness.

Gait exercises 

Such as walking on uneven surfaces or practicing turns – can also improve balance and help manage vestibular migraine symptoms.

Why ears ringing due to vestibular condition courtesy of Physiomobillity

What can you expect from your first physiotherapy treatment?

Your physiotherapist will first assess your condition and discuss with you the triggers, symptoms, and management strategies for your vestibular migraine. They may also recommend a migraine diary to help track patterns and triggers.

Depending on your individual needs, your physiotherapy treatment plan may include exercises to improve balance and vestibular function, education about managing dizziness, guidance on lifestyle modifications, and habituation exercises.

It’s important to remember that managing vestibular migraine can be a long process, but physiotherapy can make a significant difference in improving symptoms and quality of life. Stay positive and keep working with your physiotherapist to achieve the best results.

Four types of dizziness courtesy of Physiomobility (Read the caption)

How long does a vestibular migraine last?

Vestibular migraine attacks can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days. The frequency and duration of attacks can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may experience multiple attacks per week, while others may only have one or two a year. With proper management and treatment, the frequency and severity of attacks can improve over time.

Overall, vestibular migraine can have a significant impact on daily life and activities. Working with a physiotherapist to identify triggers, manage symptoms, and improve vestibular function can make a huge difference in reducing attacks and improving quality of life.

If you’d like to find a vestibular physiotherapy near you. Just click the “find a clinic” button on this page.

Vestibular/dizziness treatment sample exercises courtesy of Physiomobility


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

While vestibular migraine is not life-threatening, it can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. It can cause dizziness and balance problems that interfere with daily activities and make it difficult to work or socialize.

No, vestibular migraine does not typically show up on an MRI. Vestibular migraine is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other potential causes for the symptoms (such as inner ear problems or brain lesions) must be ruled out before making the diagnosis.

There is no known cure for vestibular migraine, but symptoms can be managed with triggers avoidance, medication, and physiotherapy. It’s important to work with your healthcare team to find the best management plan for you.

About Gita Mikal

Gita Mikal is the founder and director of Physiomobility Health Group. Gita is a highly trained and experienced Toronto physiotherapist with post-graduate training and certification in Vestibular Rehabilitation, Concussion Management, and Pain Management. Gita’s passion for providing quality care led her to bring together a team of like-minded practitioners with high levels of education and training in their respective fields. Gita has created state of the art facilities where her team can collaborate in a professional yet relaxed atmosphere to help their patients reach their highest potentials. Gita’s vision includes bridging the gap between hospital and community clinics and to facilitate patients’ access to a wide range of treatment options in one clinic. She has achieved this by developing easily accessible, evidence-based treatment programs for chronic pain, dizziness & balance conditions as well as expanding services to provide at-home physiotherapy services to Central, East and North GTA.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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