Many people have vertigo from stress. For that reason, stress is considered a risk factor for dizziness and vertigo. A comprehensive approach to treating dizziness and vertigo often includes stress management. Sometimes, personal changes may need to be made also such as lifestyle and behavior choices that cause stress. In this article, I will share five root causes of vertigo from stress.

Root Causes

1: Reduced Immune System Function

Stress is known to affect our immune system. When our immune system is not working well, old viruses that we conquered before can start to multiply. A deficient immune system can cause viral overload. Viral vertigo is a potential root cause of vertigo from stress. For these cases, anti-virals medications may be prescribed along with immune support.

Learn more about one type of viral vertigo.


Stress is known risk factor for a new onset of BPPV. BPPV is another potential root cause of vertigo from stress. Many patients state that they were really stressed out right before they woke up with BPPV. Stress may be due to an upcoming exam, family problems, or work-related stress, for example. For BPPV, I recommend working with a vestibular physical therapist.

Learn more about BPPV.

3: Neck Tension

Neck tension is another possible root cause of vertigo from stress. Stress can cause mental tension, which can show up as neck tension in your body. Neck tension can show up as muscle trigger points. Upper cervical dizziness can also be caused by neck tension.

Learn more about upper cervical dizziness.

4: Migraine

Migraines, and especially vestibular migraines, can be triggered by stress. Therefore, a migraine or vestibular migraine can be a root cause of vertigo from stress.

Learn more about strategies to avoid migraines.

5: Anxiety-Related Dizziness

Stress can exacerbate or worsen anxiety for people with preexisting anxiety issues. Stress can also trigger a new onset of anxiety for people who have never suffered with anxiety before. One symptom of anxiety can be dizziness. Anxiety can even cause nausea or a rocking feeling! That is why anxiety is another potential root cause.

What to Do

I recommend incorporating stress management into a holistic approach to recovering from dizziness and vertigo. That way if the vertigo is due to stress, it may have fewer recurrences. I love laughter as a way to quickly reduce stress.

Of course, ultimately I am an advocate to discover all root causes of dizziness and vertigo. A root cause approach is the best for optimizing the results of care.


This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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