NHS website

Dizziness

Dizziness is a common symptom that’s not usually a sign of anything serious, but its cause should be investigated by a doctor.

10 December 2018

Introduction

It's common to sometimes feel dizzy, lightheaded or off-balance, and it's not usually serious. See a GP if you're worried.

Check if you have dizziness

Dizziness includes feeling:

  • off-balance
  • giddy
  • lightheaded or faint
  • like you're spinning or things around you are spinning (vertigo) ↗

How you can treat dizziness yourself

Dizziness usually goes away on its own. But there are things you can do to take care of yourself while you're feeling dizzy.

Do

  • lie down until dizziness passes, then get up slowly
  • move slowly and carefully
  • get plenty of rest
  • drink plenty of fluids, especially water
  • avoid coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs

Don't

  • do not bend down suddenly
  • do not get up suddenly after sitting or lying down
  • do not do anything that could be dangerous while you're dizzy, like driving, climbing a ladder or using heavy machinery
  • do not lie totally flat if you feel like things are spinning
  • do not use pillows to prop up your head

See a GP if:

  • you're worried about your dizziness or vertigo
  • it won't go away or it keeps coming back
  • you're finding it harder to hear
  • there's ringing or other sounds in your ears (tinnitus)
  • you have double vision, blurred vision or other changes in your eyesight
  • your face, arms or legs feel numb
  • you have other symptoms like fainting, headaches, feeling or being sick

Causes of dizziness

If you have other symptoms, this might give you an idea of the cause. Don't self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.