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Can Stress Cause Vertigo At Work? Here Are 5 Ways To Avoid It

7 min read
Last Updated on 23 April, 2024

Stress is one of the most common yet inevitable problems at work. Almost everyone experiences stress or stress-related issues at work, yet one of the most common conditions caused by stress is often overlooked.

Vertigo is a peculiar condition that often gets unnoticed and undiagnosed at work. It is often confused with dizziness or feeling lightheaded, but it is not the same.

You must have experienced vertigo at some point in your life, like when you feel like you are spinning or lose your sense of balance at work after a hectic day. But little do you know that it might indicate you are experiencing burnout or chronic stress.

This article will help you better understand vertigo caused by stress and how to prevent it at work.

What Is Vertigo?


Vertigo is a condition that makes you feel like the environment around you is spinning in circles. It makes you feel dizzy and off balance. Vertigo is not a disease, but rather it is a symptom of varying conditions.

Dizziness and vertigo are not the same, even though people often confuse both as the same thing. Vertigo is the feeling of your body or head spinning horizontally or vertically, whereas dizziness is the feeling of being unbalanced.

Vertigo is a common phenomenon. Almost 40% of Americans experience vertigo at least once during their lifetime.

Some Common Causes Of Vertigo At Work

Vertigo at work can be caused by many factors, some of which are listed below -

1. Inner Ear Problems (Vestibular System)

The inner ear plays a crucial role in maintaining your balance, and any issues with it can cause vertigo. If you are suffering from BPPV, Meniere's disease, or vestibular neuritis, then changes in your head positions or movements at work can cause vertigo.

Vertigo is often caused by ear injuries at work. In most cases, it is caused by exposure to high audible noises or by wearing noise-canceling headphones or earplugs while working. In addition, due to the natural link between balance and hearing, employees are at risk for vertigo.

2. Poor Work Environment

Workplace ergonomics issues, such as flickering lights or inadequate lighting facilities, can cause eye strain, fatigue, and vertigo. Work environments with high noise levels, strong odors, or poor ventilation can also trigger vertigo in some people.

Suggested Read: Learn How To Reduce Eye Strain At Work

3. Stress

Physical and mental health can be adversely affected by workplace stress. The chronic nature of it can lead to anxiety, burnout, and even depression, resulting in vertigo.

4. Dehydration

You often forget to drink water or keep yourself hydrated at work because of the work demand. But when you're dehydrated, it can affect the balance centers in the brain, leading to feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness.

Approximately 5% of American adults experience vertigo when anxious or stressed.

Symptoms Of Vertigo


The symptoms of vertigo can be caused due to several factors depending upon the underlying cause. As mentioned above, vertigo is a symptom of different conditions and can occur in a combination of other symptoms.

  • A spinning sensation that feels like you or your surroundings are moving

  • Loss of balance or unsteadiness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Sweating

  • Ringing in the ears or hearing loss

  • Headache

  • Abnormal eye movements

  • Feeling lightheaded or fainting

  • Blurred vision

These symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually and last a few minutes or several hours. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How Can Anxiety And Stress Cause Vertigo At Work?


Stress and anxiety at work can lead to vertigo, dizziness, or spinning, making you feel unsteady or lose your balance. It happens because stress at work can affect your inner ear, which maintains your balance and spatial orientation.

Since you are exposed to a high level of stressors at work, it can elevate your stress hormone levels and cortisols which eventually can negatively impact your vestibular system.

In addition to affecting your inner ear or vestibular system, workplace stress can also cause high blood pressure and heart rate, which can contribute to dizziness. Further, stress and anxiety are common at work, leading to muscle tension and headaches which can again exaggerate the sensation of vertigo.

People with anxiety disorder are 2.7 times more likely to develop benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Also, people with social anxiety might experience dizziness or nausea when forced to be around people or in a crowded room.

5 Ways To Prevent Experiencing Vertigo At Work


It is important to address stress and anxiety in the workplace to help prevent vertigo or any other health issues caused by stress. Although stress alone doesn't cause vertigo, it can affect your inner ear function, leading to vertigo attacks.

The best way to reduce stress-induced vertigo is to try to minimize your exposure to stressors at work by following a few strategies and practicing methods at work -

1. Manage Your Stress


The best way to reduce stress-induced vertigo is to minimize exposure to work stressors. You can manage your stress by using stress-reducing techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. You can also take regular daily breaks to relax your mind and body.

If your daily lifestyle or routine cannot squeeze time for real-time yoga or meditation classes, you take a step ahead by taking advantage of health apps that offer virtual health activities. You can download an app with features ranging from 5 minutes of mental stability meditation sessions to 18-minute affectionate breathing sessions.

2. Get Enough Sleep


Sleep plays a crucial role when it comes to managing your stress and your overall mental health. If you are sleep deprived, it will not only affect your performance at work, but it will deteriorate your mental health too. Make sure you are getting enough sleep every night.

Sleep hygiene can help prevent stress and vertigo due to lack of sleep. When you cannot motivate yourself to sleep at the proper time, try some health apps that offer features like 10-minute sleep meditations or even 12-minute sleep gratitude meditations. Taking part in these relaxation meditation sessions before bedtime can help you sleep more quickly.

3. Stay Hydrated And Maintain Healthy Habits


Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. It is possible to experience dizziness and vertigo if you are dehydrated. To ensure your body gets the nutrition, engage in healthier eating habits.

When at work, try not to consume excessive caffeine. Both caffeine and alcohol can worsen your vertigo. As natural as it is to consume these substances during periods of high stress, it will only exacerbate your condition.

4. Unwind And Take Breaks

Walking around periodically is a good idea if you sit for extended periods. Sitting in front of the laptop can overwhelm you, eventually leading to burnout.

So, taking a small break from your screen time and engaging yourself in activities or even taking a short 15-minute power nap at work can help you unwind and rejuvenate. It can help improve blood flow and reduce dizziness.

Suggested Read: 10 Effective Ways To Combat A Sedentary Lifestyle

5. Exercise Regularly


Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve your overall health. It is one of the most convenient and recommended methods to prevent vertigo or other mental health issues.

Since your physical and mental health are both interlinked, participating in any physical activity can help your body release endorphins. It eventually makes your mood better and further helps to prevent you from experiencing vertigo.

Suppose your work requires a lot of sitting in front of the laptop. In that case, you can take a few minutes of break to practice desk exercises. You can even use the help of a wellness app that offers a feature to log cardiovascular activities or even other workouts like CrossFit.

You can keep track of your workout or step counts while working. Progress can help you feel motivated to be fitter and less stressed out.

Suggested Read: Vantage Fit: A Complete Solution to your Employee Wellness Program

Summing It Up

While the exact number of people struggling with vertigo at work is not sure, it is still a common phenomenon many of you might have experienced once. Although it is often overlooked as a sign of weakness or just mere dizziness, it should be addressed, and more awareness is required about the same.

Stress can affect your body adversely and elevate cortisol levels in the body. But if you are facing chronic stress, it is possible that it can affect your vestibular system and further lead to vertigo.

If you are experiencing vertigo more than you should or despite taking preventive measures at work, it might be helpful for you to talk to a doctor or seek professional help.

This article is written by Neha Yasmin who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle. A selenophile with a penchant for discovering great meals and drinks. Is a self-proclaimed binge racer with a knack for cooking in her spare time. For queries, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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