Vestibular migraine

Handb Clin Neurol. 2016:137:301-16. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63437-5.00022-4.


During the last decades a new vestibular syndrome has emerged that is now termed vestibular migraine (VM). The main body of evidence for VM is provided by epidemiologic data demonstrating a strong association between migraine and vestibular symptoms. Today, VM is recognized as one of the most common causes of episodic vertigo. The clinical presentation of VM is heterogeneous in terms of vestibular symptoms, duration of episodes, and association with migrainous accompaniments. Similar to migraine, there is no clinical or laboratory confirmation for VM and the diagnosis relies on the history and the exclusion of other disorders. Recently, diagnostic criteria for VM have been elaborated jointly by the International Headache Society and the Bárány Society. Clinical examination of patients with acute VM has clarified that the vast majority of patients with VM suffer from central vestibular dysfunction. Findings in the interval may yield mild signs of damage to both the central vestibular and ocular motor system and to the inner ear. These interictal clinical signs are not specific to VM but can be also observed in migraineurs without a history of vestibular symptoms. How migraine affects the vestibular system is still a matter of speculation. In the absence of high-quality therapeutic trials, treatment is targeted at the underlying migraine.

Keywords: dizziness; migraine; nystagmus; vertigo; vestibular.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology*
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / physiopathology*
  • Vestibular Diseases / complications*