Room spinning

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    Profile photo of Becky Oloo LPN

    I had to go to the doctor yesterday because I was having problems that I wasn’t quite what was wrong. I was experiencing vertigo, periods of hot/cold sweats, and at times a racing heartbeat. So the doctor was going through their assessment when they asked me which direction the room was spinning. At that moment I couldn’t answer the question because I wasn’t feeling dizzy.
    My question is what does it matter which way the room is spinning? I’ve never heard this question asked before, and thought it was strange. Can anyone help me out with this one?


    Hopefully someone much smarter than I will respond to your question, but until then, I have never heard anyone ask which direction the room was spinning and have no idea why that is important. Some docs used to ask if they were spinning or the room was spinning around them, but it turns out that isn’t really useful information and most don’t ask that anymore.

    The only thing I can think of is if he was actually trying to ask you on which side do you get dizzy (on your left side or right side.) This is an important question for at least one type of vertigo, BPPV. They need to know which side is the dizzy side so they know which way to turn your head for the first position of the Epley maneuver:

    Other than that, I don’t know of anything in which direction of the perceived spin is important.

    We’ll let one of our neuro nurses handle this one. Hope you feel better.

    All that said, the other symptoms you describe would make me hope the doc checked you out for near syncope in addition to vertigo, as sweats and palpitations aren’t really associated with many causes of true vertigo … as far as I know.


    Have you gone through menopause yet? I went through some similar symptoms when I first went through it!

    Profile photo of Lisa

    I’ve had several similar episodes, diagnosed as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Believe it or not, knowing which way things are spinning is useful information. BPPV is usually caused by a calcium crystal breaking off inside the semicircular canals inside your ears, and getting stuck in the dead-end of one of the semicircular canals. When it presses on the nerves which sense direction, it sends confusing signals to your brain, which makes you feel vertigo. (Brain feels one thing, eyes see something incompatible). We all have 3 semicircular canals inside each ear, and by knowing which direction things are spinning, you may be able to tell which semicircular canal has a calcium crystal stuck in it. There are Physical Therapy exercises which you can do (or have done to you) to help dislodge the crystal and stop the vertigo. Hope that is helpful!

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