Causes Of Dizziness & Balance Problems

Dizziness and balance problems can cause issues in your daily life. Find out more about the main causes of dizziness and balance problems with OneWelbeck.

What Are The Main Causes Of Dizziness And Balance Problems?

Experiencing dizziness and balance problems can cause many issues in your daily life. From preventing you from driving to knocking you off your feet, these health issues aren’t easy to manage on your own.

This article looks at the main causes of dizziness and balance problems, while also highlighting when to speak with a doctor. Learn more about managing your health with OneWelbeck.

Understanding dizziness and balance problems

Dizziness happens for lots of different reasons and most people will experience it at some point in their life. Symptoms of dizziness will often make you feel light-headed, nauseous or like you need to sit or lie down.

Dizziness can make it hard for you to go about daily life, making it dangerous to drive, cycle or exercise properly.

Balance problems can feel similar to dizziness but they have a direct impact on your mobility. People with balance problems may find that they can’t walk in a straight line, or they will find themselves tripping or falling over more often than usual.

You don’t always feel dizzy when experiencing balance problems and vice versa. However, you can feel both at the same time, as well as separately. And, while they both seem like they have similar symptoms, their causes can be very different.

Dizziness symptoms

The most common symptoms of dizziness are:

  • A sense of motion or movement even when you’re still
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling unstable or losing your balance
  • Feeling woozy or not present in the room

Sometimes dizziness can also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, as well as fainting.

What can cause dizziness and balance problems?

Both dizziness and balance problems can overlap but they can also have different causes. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of these conditions, including inner ear disorders and medications.

Inner ear disorders

Inner ear disorders can be the reason for balance problems and dizziness.

The most common inner ear disorders include:

  • Labyrinthitis — can make you feel dizzy, cause balance problems, nausea and vomiting, hearing loss or ringing in your ears
  • Vestibular neuritis — causes the same symptoms as labyrinthitis, except it doesn’t cause hearing loss or ringing
  • Positional vertigo — can make you feel dizzy, almost as though the room is spinning, and can also cause balance problems because of extreme dizziness
  • Meniere's disease — causes vertigo, as well as pressure and ringing in your ears and hearing loss

Cardiovascular conditions 

Cardiovascular (heart-related) reasons could also explain why you experience dizziness or balance problems. These include low blood pressure, anxiety and panic disorders and more.

Low blood pressure

Having low blood pressure can cause you to feel dizzy and even faint. It can also cause symptoms such as blurred vision, weakness, confusion and nausea.

If you notice that you feel dizzy throughout the day and have other signs of low blood pressure, speak with your doctor so they can run some diagnostic tests and check it for you.


An abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia can make you feel dizzy. This is because your heart is either beating too fast or too slow — both of which can make you feel lightheaded and even faint.

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

This medical condition can cause dizziness among other symptoms.

POTS happens when your blood vessels don’t contract as they should do when you stand up, causing your heart rate to spike when it doesn’t need to. This then changes the blood flow to your brain and can leave you feeling lightheaded and dizzy. It can also cause other symptoms like fainting, heart palpitations and shortness of breath.

Medication side effects:

Certain medications, such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants, can cause dizziness. Always monitor any side effects that you may be experiencing and let your doctor know if they persist.

Some medications can also temporarily impact your inner ear, causing balance problems.

Panic and anxiety disorders

Panic disorders and anxiety can also be behind your dizziness. It’s not common for them to be the cause of balance problems, but extreme dizziness can make you feel unsteady on your feet.

When you feel anxious or panicked, your brain and body go into overdrive and release a hormone called adrenaline, which causes you to feel lightheaded and dizzy.


Not drinking enough water can cause dizziness or lead you to experience vertigo. This is because, when you’re dehydrated, your heart struggles to pump oxygen-rich blood to your brain, which causes you to feel dizzy and lightheaded.

Neurological causes

As well as cardiovascular causes of dizziness and balance problems, there are neurological causes too.


Migraines can feel like extremely painful headaches, but they can also be accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity.

Some people experience vertigo during a migraine, causing dizziness and potential balance problems. However, these issues normally resolve once the migraine has gone.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis causes a wide range of symptoms that mostly affect your coordination and balance. It can also cause tremors, muscle weakness or stiffness and spasms, all of which can impact your balance day to day.


A stroke can cause weakness in one side of your body which makes it very difficult to balance. If a stroke happens in your brainstem, this can cause vertigo.

However, with the help of physiotherapy, you might be able to regain control of your balance over time and reduce your feelings of dizziness and vertigo.

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease affects your brain and will slowly cause more damage as time goes on.

Parkinson’s disease causes shaking — or tremors — and can slow down your movement, as well as cause your muscles to stiffen. This can then lead to balance problems and feelings of dizziness, both of which are often associated with the condition.

How are balance disorders diagnosed?

Balance disorders need to be properly diagnosed by a doctor so that the right treatment can be recommended.

There are different ways to test for balance disorders, such as:

  • Hearing tests to check that your hearing isn’t affected
  • Posturography tests — where you have to remain still and standing on a moving platform while wearing a safety harness
  • Imaging tests like an MRI or CT scan to check for underlying medication conditions
  • Blood pressure and heart rate tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Electronystagmography or videonystagmography to record your eye movements and check your vestibular function (sense of balance)

It’s important to seek a professional, medical opinion on any balance problems in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. This way, any underlying medication conditions can be ruled out and the appropriate treatment plan can be actioned.

When to see a doctor

If you experience dizziness regularly, it’s important to seek guidance from your doctor.

Sometimes, dizziness will require immediate medical attention. You should always call for medical assistance if you experience new or severe dizziness on top of:

  • A sudden or severe headache
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Numbness in your limbs
  • Fainting
  • Impaired or double vision
  • Rapid or changes to your heart rate
  • Changes to your speech such as slurring
  • Sudden, severe vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Changes in your hearing
  • Facial weakness or paralysis

While dizziness and balance problems can occur at the same time, they aren’t always caused by the same condition — and one can appear without the other.

If you are experiencing dizziness or balance problems on a regular basis, then get in touch with our professional medical team at OneWelbeck. We would be happy to discuss your symptoms and help you understand the cause of your condition.