Advice about Vertigo & Dizziness
Berkeley Parents Network >
Health & Medical >
Advice about Vertigo & Dizziness
I am 34 and have been suffering from vertigo for the last 2.5
years. The episodes come and go every few months and last about
2 weeks (the first 2-3 days are the worst where I can barely get
out of bed). I am writing because my ENT has said she has no
idea what is causing it and I basically just have to live with it
and hope it clears up on its own. Has anyone else suffered from
Vertigo? Have you found anything that helped reduce your episode
symptoms or eliminated it entirely? I know about the head
tilting exercising and have not found relief in doing these. The
second factor in this question is I live at the top of Marin
St.and have found out that 2 of my neighbors also suffer from
vertigo. I am wondering if the altitude (and constantly going up
and down Marin street) has something to do with it. (by the way
this has all been mentioned to my doc but she has no feedback).
Are there any other vertigo sufferers who live in the hills, or
is this merely a coincidence.
sick of being dizzy
I have had vertigo on and off for the last 15 years. I have
noticed I develope vertigo after taking cold medication which
contains a decongestant. Also, I have developed seasonal
allergies which causes me to have fluid in my ears, and seems to
lead to vertigo also. I just put up with it and it goes away
eventually, but I have noticed a connection between vertigo, the
medication and allergies. Guess it's time for me to find a good
the room is spinning
I just heard an interview...maybe on NPR about vertigo and
chrystals (sp?) in the inner ear. It was really interesting and
seemed to be new news that had recently been discovered. I'm
sorry I don't have more on this. You can probably find out on
Also, can't hurt to change diet. Gluten sensitivity can have
all kinds of odd symptoms. Worth a try.
My mother had a serious attack of vertigo last year where she
was vomitting and could not walk. We took her to the ER and
called my sister who was in med school at the time. Both the
ER doc and my sister diagnosed my mom as having ''ear rocks.''
These are calcium deposits in the inner ear which float around
and give the person severe vertigo. The treatment was a very
specific head rotation thing that is supposed to help the
deposits come to rest somewhere so the vertigo goes away. It
worked! Unfortunately, the little things can dislodge at any
time and cause another attack, but you can learn how to do the
rotation at home. It is not just a matter of ''head tilting,''
but lying in a specific position and following a series of
rotations. We got instructions with pictures from the ER doc
for future reference, you might want to ask your own doctor
--no more vertigo
Vertigo can be awful. I had it for a number of years, and went
to an ENT for way too long, with no realistic diagnosis, just a
bunch of guesses and exams that were all costly and frustrating
to go through.
I finally basically diagnosed myself - my vertigo was related
to mold allergy. We had mold in our house and it was taking a
major toll on my immune system, making me allergic to certain
foods, increasing fluid and causing vertigo. I found a
specialist (since deceased unfortunately) that conducted blood
tests and an array of other thoughtful testing to determine how
to resolve my issues.
Not sure if you happen to have any visible mold in your home?
It can also be hidden (i.e. behind walls, in carpet padding,
etc.) Air tests can be taken to determine whether there are
high levels in your home. Are you perhaps near a creek or other
watersource in the hills?
It may be worth a shot to try and find a specialist - this
website seems helpful http://www.mold-help.org
Finally, there were some OTC products at Elephant Pharmacy that
worked for me during episodes at times - you place them under
your tounge to dissolve - made by the HEEL company,
called ''Vertigo Heel''. It may require a prescription now.
Your symptoms are very familiar to me, including the
ineffectiveness of the head tilting exercises. I urge you to
see a neurologist.
My father suffered from terrible vertigo for years before finally
discovering that the culprit was caffeine. He stopped drinking
caffeine and the symptoms went completely away. Perhaps you have
a similar trigger?
I also suffer from vertigo on and off but not as intense and as
long as you. This is what helps: organic ground ginger powder
in warm water. Drink asap and rest with head elevated on the
couch and don't move. 1 hour later I'm better and can get up
slowly and the nausea & the spinning is gone. At night sleep
with head elevated for the next 2-3 days. This is what I found
out about the cause: If it is not your inner ear (have a doc
confirm) then vertigo can be triggered by the gut, usually
caused by a virus, which is why people often get it after
eating foods gone bad. But that didn't apply to me. I am
detoxing from mercury poisening from amalgams and flu shots,
but I saw many other possibilities for vertigo I wanted to rule
out first. I charted my health on a daily basis for two months
while I stopped the detox and found proof that my vertigo
wasn't triggered by different phases of birth control hormones,
extensive neck movements from dips during salsa dancing, nor by
what I ate (sensitivity to garlic and jalapeno pepper). If my
sleep got interrupted it would only cause a bit of brain fog
but not vertigo. Now knowing that I get surprised with vertigo
3 days after detoxing, I researched that further and finally
found out that vertigo is also a symptom of mercury poisening.
In other words, when I detoxed with Nano-Chlorella, I set
mercury free and therefore temporarily experience stronger
symptoms of mercury poisening. I wisened up and now take Algin
with it to avoid redistribution through the intestines. The
past two non-detox months I felt great, so the whole thing is
working and I will soon start detox again much more moderately.
Just be aware that the vertigo comes from the gut and that is
where our immune system sits and that is where heavy metals
also interfere with enzyme production, digestion and mineral
uptake. I cannot tell you what you have, but I can tell you
that you are on your own with your research. The ''owner'' of
Algin (google) was a very valuable resource to me and so was
practitioner Derrick Pawo (google) in diagnosing my mercury
issue. Once you understand exactly how everything in the body
is related, you leave the western drug pusher docs behind. None
of our physical ailments are a ''got a problem, fix me with a
pill'' kind of thing. Best of luck in your search. It will be
successful if you stay on it and if you want unltimate health.
I had a friend with vertigo who learned that it was an inner
ear problem--something occasionally comes loose there (sorry
this is so unscientifically put), but is temporary so her
symptoms would disappear in a couple days. I had another
friend with vertigo. She received physical therapy, but the
symptoms were increasing so an MRI was done. She had brain
cancer. Since this sounds like an ongoing problem, I would get
another doctor's opinion and push for testing to put you at
ease and give you information to develop a better strategy.
Hi - I'm so sorry to hear you have vertigo. I also had it for
about 2 years. I am thankfully free of it and could have been
much sooner if i had figured a few things out earlier. First
of all, it's good that you have seen your ENT in order to rule
out any possible causes such as Menieres. As you doubtless
already know, vertigo is a symptom not a disease, so it could
be caused by any number of things. If your vertigo is the kind
that makes your ENT shrug his her shoulders then i would
suggest trying different therapies and finding something that
makes you feel better. I had contracted labrynthitis which
causes vertigo, and in theory, goes away after about 6 weeks
(which it didn't with me). My ENT couldn't really help me
out. One thing that I did was to start spending some time on
the internet, which was hard as i could barely read most days.
But here's one forum which was very handy, it's called the
Dizzy Lounge (i can't remember the URL, you'll need to google
it). There are forum topics on different methods people have
tried, what has worked etc. If nothing else, you will learn a
lot about what you don't have. Symptoms vary from person to
person making this a REALLY hard condition to 'cure'. There
are other forums out there too, so it helps to search around.
I haven't heard of going up and down hills as causing vertigo
but it may make your symptoms worse just from the standpoint of
it making your visual input less 'stationary'.
What helped me were taking a sleeping aid to make sure that i
got as much GOOD quality sleep per night, and I also had a few
sessions with a miracle massage therapist who does myofascial
release, Beth Baron (551-9539). It turns out that because of
my vertigo, my neck and shoulder muscles were quite contracted
(but this was unnoticeable to everyone, including myself, i
never felt sore or unhappy about it!). After about 3 sessions,
I felt so much better. Even after the first session, i noticed
Finally, I started taking really really good care of myself -
eating better, stress management, etc. This year i was able to
go skiing with my family, and it was like i was a given a
second chance in life.
I'd be happy to talk more with you if you'd like, I beleive you
can get my email address from the moderator.
Best of luck to you and hang in there!
Not dizzy any more
Hello vertigo sufferer -
Just recently I had an episode of BPPV. I have experieced this
twice now - once recently and once 5 years ago. I live at
Grizzly and Shasta and do drive the many turns to get to my
home in the hills. I have will be seeing an ENT next week.
BPPV is caused by inflammation or a virus. Both of my
experiences have been following a horrible upper respiratory
infection. I believe that allergies might play a role too. I
am not an allergy sufferer but I believe that I do get a little
bit of an allergy in my ear (they itch in April). I think this
contributes to the situation. I continue strive for a low
sodium diet and am mininizing my sugar levels as best as
possible. While these might not help, it certainly can't
hurt. I will ask my doctor about living in the hills.
I did hear a Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross (which I'm sure
you can listen to through the NPR or KQED or KALW website) with
Kristen Chenowith, who apparently suffers from debilitating
vertigo, to the extent that she sometimes literally leans on her
costars. I wasn't listening to the interview very carefully, and
this was a minor part of the interview, but she did say that she
does two things that help a lot: for sleeping, her head is
elevated over the elevation of her feet--I don't remember how
much, but I gathered it was not insignificant, because she has to
ask for special treatment from hotels as well--and a very
low-salt diet. She said it's not clear why this works, but she
said it helps a lot. You could also try googling ''meniere's
disease'' or something like that.
I have had vertigo twice in the last year, and what worked for me
was adding salt to my diet. Several members of my family have
experienced the same thing, and adding salt really helps.
I used to suffer from recurrent vertigo over a period of years.
None of the docs or specialists could determine the cause, though
a neurologist thought it could be migraines without the headache.
The only thing that worked was acupuncture. I used Dr. Ou on
grand ave- there are three siblings named Dr. Ou- I went to the
younger sister. She does a quite painful but effective style of
acupuncture. Eventually it did go away. Sorry I can't offer more.
You need to have a head and neck specialist determine if you
have Meniere's disease or benign positional vertigo b/c the
treatment is different. With Meniere's a diuretic is sometimes
prescribed to lower salt and fluid which can aggravate the
vertigo. If the vertigo is really debilitating, surgery can be
recommended. For benign positional vertigo (BPV) it is a
matter of getting the little calcium particles back in position
(in the inner ear). That's where the Epley's maneuver comes
in. I had vertigo (BPV) really badly for a while, and this is
what I ended up doing...Cut out alcohol, cut salt, generally
ended up eating better, took Sudafed for exacerbations (really
seems to help for unknown reasons), got better sleep and rest
in general. Fatigue seems to aggravate it. Also limited
It has been a couple years now, and I have fewer and less
intense momentary feelings of vertigo. I also started doing
the Epley maneuver once every AM b/c of the mildly persistant
symptoms just to keep things alligned. One more thing, there
is a product out called Lipoflavinoid for ''ear care'' and
possibly meniere's. I take 2 per day, but can't really say it
does anything and it is expensive. Vertigo can make you really
desperate for relief. I had looked into new research and there
was something about magnet therapy for BPV. Since mine
improved, I never pursued it but you may want to. Good luck
and I hope you get some relief soon.
Anyone out there had any good experiences/outcomes in regards to using
acupuncture as a means to elimate persistant symptoms of vertigo. (or
any other helpful treatment for that matter). I've heard that
acupuncture can help, but don't know anything more specific, or if there
is a great Bay Area practitioner who can be recommended specifically for
I had vertigo which was intermittent but getting worse. At Kaiser the
doctor printed out an article from the New England Journal of Medicine
for me with some head exercises that treat the condition. You have to
retrain your brain to interpret certain movements of the head that
trigger the vertigo. Medicine that suppresses the vertigo makes the
condition worse. (First the doctor makes sure you have nothing serious
that is causing the vertigo.) The condition I had was called benign
positional vertigo, a common condition. The exercises worked well and I
have not had a recurrence.
You have my heartfelt sympathy. I know about vertigo. It can be really
challenging. You requested information about acupuncture or other
treatment but didn't mention whether you have spoken with your primary
care physician. Start with your PCP if you haven't already: recurring
vertigo is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis. Hopefully that's not
what is going on with you but there are treatments for MS now that can
make a big difference. Good luck with it.
Been Dizzy too
I suffered from vertigo for a couple of years. Initially i was responding
to labyrinthitis, a viral infection of the middle ear. I tried
vertigoheel which worked for a while, vestibular rehabilitation (for a
short time), did the thing where an ENT manipulated the movement of the
crystals in my ear (this works for some people). All of these things are
ones you should try. Vertigo is the symptom of many possible ailments:
menieres, labrynthitis, etc. You should also visit some internet forums
where people post on their symptoms, possible cures, etc. One that i
recall is called the Dizzy Lounge.
I went to see a well respected acupuncturist/herbalist in SF and he said
that acupunture would be a waste of money but did prescribe for me some
herbal teas which were a pain in the neck to make, horrible to drink,
stank up the house and were expensive to boot. Drinking the teas
probably helped boost my energy levels but did not resolve my vertigo (i
did this for 2 months). However, i am now recovered from vertigo and the
two things that helped me were: 1. taking a non-addictive sleeping aid to
improve the quality of my sleep (my migraines disappeared), and taking
very good care of myself (exercise, stress reduction, better eating), and
probably most importantly: 2. trigger point release therapy. I went to
see Beth Baron who is amazing for treating all kinds of muscular/pain
issues. There are trigger points in the neck that can actually cause
vertigo (i found this out after doing lots of research, reading on
internet forums about vertigo). she's in berkeley (510- 551-9539) and she was able to manipulate the muscles in my neck to get rid of
chronic trigger point inflammation and presto! my vertigo is pretty much
gone. I don't take the sleeping aid anymore except when i'm feeling like
i need a little help sleeping, but i do take care of myself better and go
see Beth every month or two. i would definitely try her out. I wish you
the best of luck, vertigo was no fun.
I found acupuncture to be extremely effective for this! Would recommend
Dr. Robert Zeiger near Ashby and Telegraph. His number is: 843-7397. Good
dizzy no more
Dizziness can be caused by many different symptoms, for a list see
the Dizzy Lounge (http://www.thedizzylounge.com/causes.htm).
Figuring out the cause, much less the cure, can be quite a process.
I have dizzy episodes that last about 6 weeks, then go away as
mysteriously as they started. When this first happened, about 4
years ago, I went to my family doctor who thought it was the result
of a flu and basically told me it would go away. It did after about
a month. When it happened again, about 8 months later, I just lived
with it. My spinning/dizziness is particularly strong when I just
wake up, and seems less at night. But the times between dizzy
episodes shortened, and so I went to the doctor again, and was
prescribed Meclizine, which didn't work. The doctor then suggested
I do a series of exercises which didn't help. (People who have
BPPV, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, when calcium crystals
either form in the inner ear or are moved by backwards head motion,
helped by these exercises; many have been cured by a special
procedure.) But this wasn't what I had. I went to the well-known
dizziness specialist, Dr. Dear, at the California Ear Institute in
Palo Alto (http://www.calear.com/). He was very thorough in
determining if this was an ear problem, another disease whose
symptom just happened to be dizziness, or a neurological problem.
That really is the first step. The process was, more or less
covered by my insurance, although the tests he ordered were not. My
primary care doctor was willing to agree to the tests, so I had
those covered. There were a number of tests, culminating in an MRI.
All came back negative. He thought that my problems were
neurological, not directly related to the functioning of the ear,
which could explain why many of the treatments I had tried, which I
won't list here, didn't work. He suggested I do vestibular therapy,
which are exercises, a kind of physical therapy to retrain the eyes
towards better balance. He also said to see a neurologist who specializes in
Both the doctors thought I had Migraine Associated Vertigo, even
though I don't have a history of migraines and have no pain
associated with my dizziness. I received a list of foods that
trigger migraines and should be avoided, and Diazepam (valium)
which has anti-seizure properties. The valium wasn't a help for me,
I try to avoid certain foods, but about six months later, I have it
again. It's not as strong and I just go about my daily life as best
I can, but it does stop me from going on long hikes, car trips on
windy roads, etc, etc. I went to a very good acupuncturist, after
about 6 weeks of dizziness, and nothing immediately happened, but
it did stop about a week or two later. I'm not sure if this was
because of the treatment. I suspect that a combination of long
hours at the computer, stress, and some kind of other trigger, when
combined, makes me dizzy. It was a long road to my diagnosis, I'm
not entirely sure it's correct, and I'm not completely cured. But I
do know more than I wanted to about dizziness.
In addition to balance exercises, there's a very simple, fairly
recently developed, non-invasive maneuver your Ear-Nose-Throat
doctor can do for you, if he/she knows about it, for BPV (benign
positional vertigo). Typically, dizzy symptoms of BPV are
brought on by rolling over in bed, getting up in the morning
from a flat-lie-on-your-back position, or looking up to reach up
to a high shelf or change a ceiling-light bulb. If that brings
on vertigo for you, read on...
I had all the eye and audio tests and a brain scan done before
getting this simple treatment, because, at the time, it was
deemed necessary to rule out brain cancer and other tumors,
first. I had been skeptical about this procedure, too,
when a friend told me about it, because it sounded too much like
magical thinking. And it took a while before I found a medical
doctor who did the procedure. Now the technique is better known
Current theory is that it re-positions the crystals in the ear
which are stimulating nerve endings, to a more distant bend in
the convoluted inner ear.
The procedure involved quickly assisting me to lie back, and
then log rolling me over to one side, and then repeating the
whole thing on the other side, because I had the
condition in both ears. This made me initially excruciatingly
dizzy, and I was advised to sleep with my head slightly elevated
for 3 days, but then it was over. No more attacks. It's been
several years with no trouble now. I can climb ladders again.
When my sister developed the same symptoms, we looked up BPV on
the web, found a local ENT who did the procedure, and she never
Nowadays, the docs don't even do all that testing, first. This
makes sense, because brain tumors don't get cured by rolling
over. If the technique works, end of issue. Some people have to
get a ''tune-up'' roll-over every five years. I consulted Llyod
Ford, MD, 2121 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Suite G2, Walnut Creek.
925-932-3112. Maybe now, there's someone closer to you. Good
Sorry to be so behind in reading/posting. I had vertigo for 2
years (not the world-spinning kind, more like falling-sensations
and dizzy when looking at things close-range) which turned out
to be from Epstein-Barr contracted maybe a month prior.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs did help alleviate my symptoms
somewhat, exercises from my head/neck surgeon didn't help at
all. I really needed bed-rest which was impossible at the
time... Good luck.
I am interested in any resources for prevention of vertigo. I
have had several episodes and am interested in any and all
ideas for preventing recurrances. Alternative or more standard
treatment ideas welcomed!!
I had this once. It was labrynthitis and it can be caused by an
ear infection. go to the doctor and get checked out for ear
infections. I was VERY sick with it.
A friend of mine had it also and it blew out her nose - she could
never smell or taste again.
Serious stuff. Go to a doctor.
was sick too
I get vertigo because a head injury many years ago left me with
Labyrinthitis. It flares up if my ears get irritated or I get a
bad cold. Your vertigo may be due to another cause, but this is
what I do and I hope it helps:
1- Keep ears itch free by keeping them clear of ear wax. I
started taking Flax Seed Oil a few years ago and that also has
helped my itchy ears and other skin issues.
2- If I start to get vertigo, I take Bonine. It really works
and the over the counter stuff does not make me sleepy.
3- Get extra sleep and reduce any stress.
Vertigo is generally caused by an ear problem or brain problem.
Has your doctor already recommended 250 mg niacin (on an empty
stomach) to make blood flush through the ear and brain area every
evening? A B-complex vitamin can help, too, while you figure out
From the Merck manual:
Vertigo can be caused by disorders affecting the inner ear
(including the semicircular canals), which enables the body to
sense position and maintain balance. Vertigo may also be caused
by disorders affecting the acoustic nerve which connects the
inner ear to the brain, or disorders affecting the connections in
the brain stem and the cerebellum, which also help control balance.
Other disorders that cause vertigo by affecting the inner ear or
its nerve connections include bacterial or viral infections (such
as viral labyrinthitis, herpes zoster, and mastoiditis), Paget's
disease, tumors (such as an auditory nerve tumor), inflammation
of nerves, or use of drugs that damage the inner ear (such as
aminoglycoside antibiotics, aspirin, the chemotherapy drug
cisplatin, and certain diuretics, including furosemide).
A transient ischemic attack commonly causes vertigo when the
blood supply through arteries to the brain stem, cerebellum, and
back of the brain is reduced. This disorder is called
vertebrobasilar insufficiency. The arteries affected include the
vertebral arteries and basilar artery, which is formed when the
two vertebral arteries join together in the back of the head.
Less common disorders that cause vertigo by affecting the brain
stem or cerebellum include multiple sclerosis, seizures,
infections, and tumors growing in or near the base of the brain.
Occasionally, vertigo is caused by disorders that suddenly
increase pressure within the skull. These disorders include
benign intracranial hypertension, brain tumors, and bleeding
within the skull.
Vertigo may be caused by damage to nerves in the neck. If these
nerves are damaged, the brain has difficulty monitoring the
relative position of the neck and trunk. This type of vertigo is
called cervical vertigo. Whiplash injuries, blunt injuries to the
top of the head, or severe arthritis in the neck (cervical
spondylosis) may cause cervical vertigo.
Vertigo may be caused by drugs, including phenobarbital,
phenytoin, and chlorpromazine. Excessive use of alcohol can also
cause temporary vertigo.
As you can see, vertigo can be a symptom of something serious, so
please try to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. An MRI should
be the first step to rule out any brain or nerve problems. If
you have HMO insurance and they try to brush you off, get a
second opinion at your own expense ASAP.
I am having some issues with severe dizziness, which persists
throughout the day and can worsen upon standing. I was told by
my doctor I have borderline low blood pressure. Several readings
averaged about 90/40 (normally it's about 110/60). Blood tests,
etc revealed no other issues.
I don't have accompanying nausea, or any other symptoms except
fatigue. This could also be due to the fact the I have a 5
month old very avid nurser (every 2.5-3 hrs all day/night). My
doctor recommends adding more salts (like Gatorade drinks) and
some moderate caffeine intake. I would like to avoid too much
of this for obvious health/BF'ing reasons.
Has anyone experienced these symptoms? Wondering if there are
any solutions out there other than staying hydrated and getting
more rest (I wish!).
I had similar problems and was put on Iron supplements.Ask your doctor.
It worked for me Redwood City mom
I really do not want to worry you if possible but you do need to have
this looked into further by your doctor. Last year my
37 year old husband had unexplained low blood pressure for about a year
and finally his doctor ordered an echocardiogram.
Turns out one of his heart valves had a congenital defect that we were
unaware of. The doc said that undiagnosed he would have started
developing symtoms of fatique and dizziness. I know that this does not
mean that you necessarily have a defective heart valve but it is worth
looking into. My husband did have to get a mechanical valve put in this
January and all is well now. Because he is so healthy and young
otherwise the surgery and recovery went amazingly well! He was back to
work in 3 weeks and running again in 6-7 weeks. Our bodies are amazing
but it helps to catch things early. Please push your doc for more tests
or find a new doc. There has to be a reason you blood pressure has
changed...Good luck to you.
It sounds like you may have neurally mediated hypotension, a condition
in which signals in your body get confused so that when you sit or stand
up, blood pools in your legs rather than rushing to your brain as it
should. The standard medical test for this is called the tilt test.
Salt and water is the safest way to treat it--and I mean lots of salt,
preferably by swallowing salt tablets, and lots of water, about a gallon
per day. Thermotabs, available at medical supply stores, are usually
the best tolerated salt tablets. (Personally, I couldn't tolerate those
either, so I just put tons of salt on my food.) There is also a
prescription medication, Florinef, which is a steroid that helps retain
fluid in your blood. I doubt very much that it is safe during
breastfeeding, however. An natural remedy which is supposed to have a
similar effect is licorice root--I don't know its safety during
breastfeeding however, so I wouldn't recommend it unless cleared by a
knowledgeable practitioner. So salt and water is your best bet. Good
R.E. Dizziness and low blood pressure. Doctors just love it when you
have low blood pressure, don't they? That's been my experience. I was
prone to dizziness when I was nursing, although, perhaps, not as bad as
what you are experiencing.
Drinking very strong ginger tea could help to a certain extent.
My husband has vasovagal syncope -- common fainting -- where he would
get a ''weird feeling'' not unlike dizziness due to lack of blood to the
brain. Twice he passed out completely, which was so scary! He had
extremely low blood pressure and a very low resting pulse (like in the
high 30s or low 40s), so his doctor put him on the anti-anxiety
medication Effexor -- apparently one of its off-label uses is for this
type of fainting. It has almost completely cured the problem. Oh, and
his doctor said to ''salt everything'' and to stay extremely hydrated.
I wish you luck!
I'd love some advice about how to ''cure'' or at least improve my
husband's unexplained dizziness and nausea. Over a year ago he
was in the dentist's chair and had to get up mid-treatment
since he felt very dizzy and like he was going to throw up. It
turns out that the low frequency drill she was using disturbed
his inner ear crystals and caused those problems. He saw two
ENT doctors in San Francisco and also went to his primary care
physician, went through numerous tests, etc. but they were
unable to find a treatment since they couldn't really pinpoint
the problem. It's been over a year and he still gets the
dizziness and nausea (and things like a change in weather seem
to cause his symptoms to worsen). Has anyone had something
like this? What did you do to either resolve the problem or at
least make it more manageable so you didn't feel so awful all
I don't want to scare you but has your husband had an MRI? It might be a
good idea to check with a neurologist.
Your husband may have Meniere's disease. It's an imbalance of the
fluids in the chambers of the inner ear, causing severe vertigo
(spinning) and nausea. It has no identified cause, and it can come on
without warning. (Perhaps it was coincidence it happened at the
dentist's chair.) It can be treated with diuretics (Maxide, Diamox),
low salt and no/low caffeine and alcohol diets, and big doses of
B-Complex vitamins. It cannot be cured. Attacks are treated with
Antivert (also called Bonine, sold over the counter next to the
Dramamine) (but Dramamine doesn't help), and Valium or Atavan or other
low-grade tranquilizers. In some cases, injections of steriods will
I have the disease and my ENT installed tubes -- I use steriod ear
drops to control the swelling in my inner ear and it works great. Read
more at www.menieres.org and http://www.vestibular.org/
There is a similar condition in which the inner ear structure gets out
of whack and the ENT has to move and jerk the head in a certain sequence
to get it back in order. If the ENTS haven't explored these
possibilities, time to find someone else. I use Dr. William Lewis in
Oakland on Pill Hill.
When I was first being diagnosed, my first ENT had me go through MRIs
and blood tests. It's possible that the symptoms you describe come from
a miniature stroke, or latent otic diseases (even Syphyliis). While
unlikely, if the ENTs didn't get MRIs and blood tests, you shoud get
those, too Peter
I have suffered from dizziness since my early teens. My final diagnosis
was Benign Positional Vertigo. Which means the dizziness occurs when I
move my head. The nausea is from the dizziness. When you mentioned the
crystals that made me think his problem may be similar to mine.
My life was changed by a very simple exercise. You sit on the edge of
the bed and lean to the left until you are on your side. Then you move
all the way to the right until you are on your right side. Then you sit
up in the middle and go the opposite direction. Do this 10 times, repeat
several times a day. I swear I now rarely suffer from vertigo. It may
be difficult when you are in the middle of an episode but do try it.
After suffering for years a doctor gave me this exercise and it changed
my life. I believe you can do a search on the web for benign position
vertigo and find a diagram of the exercise.
There may be other exercises, but this one worked for me. Good Luck.
I think what your husband has is called BPPV (benign positional
vertigo). I too have it. I have also been to 3 ENTs and 4 neurologists.
The ENT's cannot do anything about it because usually when you go to see
them, you are well and not dizzy. If you are dizzy, they should be able
to tell you what ear is effected by your eye movements (nystagmus). You
are right; the ''crystals'' in your husband's ear have become disloged,
surgery is risky and has a lot of drawbacks BUT there is something you
can do on your own. It is called the EPLEY maneuver (some positional
head movements that get reroute the dislodged crystals back to where
If you can get in to see your ENT when you are dizzy, he/she can do it
or you can help your husband. google ''epley maneuver'' and there are
many sites that will walk you through the steps. It is amazingly simple
and it works! Also, not sure if your husband is waking up with this but
not sleeping on the effected ear helps also. If you are not sure what
ear, do the EPLEY for both and see which one helps. Good luck, I know
how frustrating this can be!
Has he had his sinuses checked? When my husband had these symptoms
(after a wet winter) a cat scan revealed a bad sinus infection in a
cavity in the back of his head. I know it doesn't relate to the dentist
but I thought I'd mention it.
Antibiotics cleared it up eventually. Good luck!
It sounds like Meniere's Disease to me. I am not a doctor, but my dad
has a mild form of the disease. You can check the website at
If you have any questions, email me. Good luck!
Maybe these are either panic attacks or Meniere's Disease?
You should see if one of the ENT's (or even your primary physician)can
make a referral to a physical therapist who specializes in vestibular
(inner ear) disorders. Andrea Clark is thespecialist who works at Alta
Bates. Your husband may have a form of BPPV (benign paroxsymal
positional vertigo) or other disorder, which usually responds very well
to appropriate treatment (usually a series of positional exercises,
etc). Often people who experience this type of dizziness may also have
secondary problems with balance and can have reduced neck range of
motion and tight neck muscles as a result of trying to avoid getting
dizzy. There is also a vestibular disorder clinic at UCSF, but I would
try more local first.
a (non vestibular expert) physical therapist
If this truly is a problem with the crystals in the inner ear, there
might be a simple solution. I have had this problem, called Benign
Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, a few times, and I have used a simple
maneuver to make it go away completely each time. I have lost the
article that explained the maneuver, but here is one reference to some
Googling ''vertigo'' and ''maneuver'' will bring up quite a few of these
maneuvers, each with a different name. The idea of the maneuvers is to
get the loose crystals to travel through the inner ear to a place where
they won't cause any more trouble.
Good luck to your husband!
Your husband, & you, have my understanding & sympathy. I had the same
symptoms for over four years. Here's what worked for me.
As you will see, I needed attention to a variety of issues. // 1. Both
acupuncture treatments & Feldenkrais classes helped abate the symptoms.
// 2. Four years after the vertigo began, my new ENT doc referred me to
physical therapy to determine if my vertigo was caused by displaced ear
crystals (Halpike-Dix test).
The test was positive & the treatment (Epley Maneuver) worked.
It took several weekly treatments before I completely stabilized;
subsequently I was able to deal with vertigo onset by doing exercises
the PT taught me. // 3. Even after she had correctly diagnosed &
treated the crystal displacement, she could induce vertigo in some
positions; plus I had frequent headaches. She observed that I carried
my shoulders & head slumped slightly forward & explained that the
resulting tension in my neck muscles was causing the headache as well as
compressing the channel through which some major nerve passes. She
showed me how to balance my head on my neck & taught me simple
No more headaches & no more vertigo! // If you need a very discerning
physical therapist, I recommend Deena Levy. She's worked with vertigo &
has seen things work & not work for a variety of people. She practices
near downtown Berkeley;
510.510.7816 or email@example.com. // 4. I discovered last year
I'm allergic to wheat. When I stopped eating it, my persistent nausea
stopped. I still had the vertigo but what a relief. If you want to
explore food allergies, you might call naturopathic doc Clare Garcia.
For a remarkably low cost, she can get you tested for allergies to a
hundred or so foods. She practices on Piedmont Ave in Oakland;
510.410.1087 or www.drclare.com. I got a new lease on life from her
treatments for a hormone imbalance & lethargy. // 5. Notice whether your
husband is despairing about finding solutions. After two years of
vertigo, I was severely depressed & went on an anti-depressant. As I
felt better, I had the energy & mental clarity to pursue things that
together have made all the difference in my healing. // Best wishes to
you both ann
I think your husband should keep a record of every time he gets the
headaches and dizziness and write down a description of when it happens,
if anything helps or make the symptoms worse, and any other relevant
features. Describe the dizziness; is he light headed or is the room
spinning? Does he have sensitivity to light or headaches with these
symptoms? He should ask his doctor for a referral to a neurologist.
Randall Starkey and associates are an excellent neurology practice,
I had a recurring problem with vertigo that I think was similar to your
husband's for many years, but haven't had it for many years. Mine could
come on at any time, sometimes for just a few hours, sometimes for days.
It was very very unpleasant to say the least.
My doctor at the time (a GP, not an ENT) told me it was a benign
condition in the ear (I can't remember what), and suggested that I take
Meclizine when it bothered me.
Meclizine is sold OTC as Bonine for motion sickness and is very
sedating, but I found that just a tiny bit worked great for me.
I don't know why the problem went away, and it's been so long that I
can't give you a connection with anything else in my life, but,
thankfully, it did stop anon
I didn't see your original post and I know you have had many responses
about your husband. But I wanted to let you know that some people
experience dizziness and nausea together as the ''aura'' before a
seizure. My husband was experiencing those symptoms for 2-3 weeks before
he had a seizure. He hadn't even talked about those symptoms because he
thought he was just tired.
As soon as he was put on anti-seizure meds, he did not experience those
things any longer. I'm not saying your husband has the same condition,
but if he has ever had seizures before, even long ago, it might be worth
mentioning to a neurologist.
this page was last updated: Sep 26, 2010
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network