The October Slide Phenomenon

Why does my vertigo always creep up in the Fall?

By Lauren Wootton, PT

The beginning of fall in Ontario is such a lovely time with picturesque colours, our favourite fall sweaters and an annual apple picking outing with the family. But for those who suffer from recurrent vertigo and dizziness, October often marks the beginning of an uptick in symptoms. This phenomenon has been coined as the October Slide in the world of chronic illnesses.

What is the October Slide?

The October slide is a phenomenon where symptoms of chronic illnesses start to ramp up. It's a time of year when I see my Vestibular Therapy schedule start to fill up faster, and some familiar names start to pop into my calendar as past clients vertigo and dizziness symptoms start to flare or re-appear after having a fairly uneventful summer.

What Causes the October Slide?

Seasonal Allergies and Respiratory Viruses- an increase in nasal/sinus congestion at this time of the year is often a recipe for increased symptoms.

Barometric Pressure - many vertigo sufferers are triggered by large swings in barometric pressure. This time of year often brings large dips in pressure with the changing weather patterns and increase in precipitation.

Less Sunlight - low vitamin D in your system is a known risk factor for recurrences of vertigo related to Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Reduced Activity - with new fall routines (school, work) you may be less active in the fall, or less likely to be doing your vestibular exercises. This may be the culprit of your symptoms returning.

What Can You Do to Prevent the October Slide?

First of all, understanding what is causing your vertigo will be key to managing it effectively. 'Vertigo' is not a proper diagnosis. See 'The Vertigo Comparison Chart' to learn about some common sources of vertigo.

Speak with your trusted health professional, such as your vestibular physiotherapist about strategies particular to your situation.

Some general tips to combat the October Slide:

  • Maintain your exercise regime, or consult a physiotherapist to create one
  • Stay well hydrated and nourished
  • Wash your hands often
  • Supplement with vitamin D as directed by your healthcare provider

Have you seen an increase or recurrence of your symptoms this Fall and need help getting them back in check? Book a Free Phone Consultation with one of our vestibular therapists for tips on how to manage and to learn how we can help.

Are You Ready To Get Rid Of Your Vertigo And Dizziness?

Booking a Free Consult is for you if you live in Ontario AND :

  • You need someone to listen to you (really listen!) and provide the right course of action
  • You want to explore more treatment options for your symptoms besides medications
  • You want to get rid of your vertigo/dizziness or prevent future attacks

Lauren Wootton, MScPT, Vestibular Physiotherapist

Lauren is the founder of The Vertigo Therapist and has developed an effective method of assessment and treatment of vestibular conditions using virtual appointments and various technology. 

Lauren has found that the most effective way to help someone with vertigo is to tailor treatment not only to the specific condition but to the individual person in order to meet their goals (big and small) at a pace that is right for them.

Contact her through booking a free consult or e-mailing: