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Old 02-10-2009, 02:28 PM   #1
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JacksonHole HB User
balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

Hey guys,

About 8 weeks ago I started having a general foggy headed feeling with balance issues and an occasional roar in my ears (especially when my eyes are closed) It was not brought about by any particular incident - head trauma, flu etc, but seemingly came out of nowhere. This is certainly not the first time I have had similar issues, but my previous experiences were much shorter. I had a similar issue this past spring but it passed after 10-14 days and cleared up (I was using a sinus flush and otc allergy medication at the recommendation of an urgent care office I saw) .

I went on vacation for several weeks in a tropical climate away from anything environmental that I thought may be the cause ( as a GP had once told me it was allergy related).

I saw a ENT a few weeks before my trip and again last week - both times he was adamant that I was having residual effects from a viral infection in my ear(s) and it would work itself out with normal activity. I have always had great coordination and balance until recently. I dont have wild spinning sensations and/or crippling vertigo, but I have serious difficulty maintaining focus during conversations and my general sense of balance and body control have suffered greatly. I tried to participate in an indoor soccer game a few weeks ago and was completely lost - the speed of the game and all the moving parts was too much to process. I have always been very outgoing and social but have been feeling far more reclusive and opposed to much social interaction as of late. I have a loud roar in my ears when I close my eyes tightly also. Being in busy environments tends to make matters worse (grocery store, restaurant)

I eat healthy and typically get ample exercise when I am feeling normal.

What could be going on? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I have not yet had an MRI for costs reasons.

PLEASE SHARE ANY THOUGHTS YOU MAY HAVE.

Last edited by JacksonHole; 02-10-2009 at 02:34 PM.

 
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:06 AM   #2
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Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

In preparing a list of symptoms for the next doctor visit I put together the following sheet, most are duplicates of my original post - For what its worth, I am a 29 year old male.


• General problem with balance and coordination impairment. Overwhelming feeling that something is just ‘not right’. Very debilitating and depressing to wake with day after day.
• Fullness in ears, constant need to pop or clear them similar to airplane cabin pressure
• Not always associated with movement, uncomfortable sensation immediately upon opening eyes in morning. Hypersensitive to sudden noises in morning and movement. Girlfriend moving in the bed feels as though I am on waterbed.
• Difficulty following simple conversation, often space out or zone out. Feeling generally dumbed down and slower than I once was.
• No extreme whirling or spinning sensation, just a feeling of constant movement and lack of focus/control.
• Reoccurring, general a 10-15 day issue that slowly “rights itself”. Typically occurs twice per year. I have seen no common occurrence which seems to link these episodes.
• Was told to use sinus flush and Zyrtec by a GP as they thought it was most assuredly allergy related. (May 08)
• Some nausea although rarely.
• Roaring in ears, especially when eyes are closed.
• Coordination is off, fall/slip occasionally and never used to.
• Have seen ENT on 2 separate occasions (early Dec 08 & Feb 09) – no tests were administered. First visit I was prescribed to a low dosage of valium and told to maintain activity levels. Did not help. ENT seemed to think the symptoms are stemming from a viral infection in ear and said that there was no treatment.
• I try to maintain healthy diet – low sodium, plenty of fruits and vegetables. I don’t smoke; I consume plenty of water per day.
• Things appear to be moving when I know that they are not – ex. If I am looking at a bookcase focused on 1 book, my peripheral seems to see moving objects.
• Pressure and fullness in head and sinuses.
• Intermittent muffled hearing.
• I feel as though while walking around I am constantly cognizant of maintaining balance and not fainting or stumbling into something.
• Started 12 years ago – which coincides with a blunt force trauma to head.
• Feeling social anxiety and reclusiveness as a result. Feels better to avoid all social interaction.
• Have not had recent CT or MRI
• I left my current surroundings for several weeks during this +/- 9 week episode and had all the same issues while away. This leads me to believe that it is not a local allergy or reaction to something in my local environment (weather, elevation, plants, animals, etc)

Last edited by JacksonHole; 02-11-2009 at 08:23 AM.

 
Old 02-11-2009, 06:17 PM   #3
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Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

Hello, Jackson--

I am so sorry to hear about your dizziness. As Lucille said, the best doc for this is typically a neurotologist and/or a vestibular therapist. They will do a VNG test to examine your inner ear, but after 12 years this is not likely to be solely an inner ear problem. Like so many who come to this board, you sound like you are a candidate for migraine associated vertigo. Why? Because it is an extremely common cause of dizziness that is largely unrecognized by most medical practitioners and often goes misdiagnosed for years. It can fluctuate like yours or be constant. It causes all the symptoms you mention and many others. You do not have to have headaches, but if you do you may not have identified them as migraines. It all boils down to an imbalance in brain chemicals. Treatment often involves preventive medications. Also, diet can be somewhat helpful as well as other things...but mostly meds. Vestibular therapy can also be useful, depending on your case. Find an expert to help you navigate this...see the VEDA web site. (Also, see stickies for more info...also the book "Heal Your Headache.")

(Note: BPPV could also be involved, but again this may well be related to migraine. It would be very useful to see an expert during a dizzy spell to examine your eyes closely--with Frenzel goggles.)

Best of luck!
Violet

 
Old 02-12-2009, 09:16 AM   #4
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Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

Thank you Lucille and Violet for the feedback/advice, one of the issues is that I have to travel 4+ hours to find any doctors worth a hoot, so scheduling and transport make matters even more difficult.

 
Old 02-13-2009, 04:19 PM   #5
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Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

MRI scheduled for Monday - it seems to be standard protocal to have an MRI done pretty early on in the diagnostic phase right?

I truly hate whatever disease, afflication, sickness, imbalance this is. I used to take 'normal' life for granted.

 
Old 02-14-2009, 08:32 AM   #6
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lucille8 HB User
Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

I understand 100%. I feel the same way. I keep wishing every night I go to sleep that when I wake up everything will somehow go back to normal. Never happens.

I had an MRI as well back in October. It was the most horrible thing in the world to me. I use to never be scared of enclosed space and whatnot, but ever since I've been suffering with dizziness by anxiety goes through the roof with certain things. Being enclosed, with my head strapped down was not enjoyable and weird clicking noises surrounding me.

Anyways, that's how it went for me. I hope it doesn't bother you.

Whenever I'm feeling some anxiety I just have to remind myself that obviously I'm not going to die from it, it just feels odd/off.

 
Old 03-02-2009, 10:20 AM   #7
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Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

I was free and clear of the majority of my symptoms for about 7-10 days last week and seemingly out of nowhere they all came back with the same intensity and veracity with which they started. I have racked my brain to try to determine any triggers or changes that may have initially alleviated my issues and then brought them right back after a brief episode of respite. No luck. I had an MRI that came out clean as well as a full blood work-up which came back as completely normal in all catergories.

Why the 1 week + tease only to have the same problems hit me like a ton of bricks again?!

 
Old 03-12-2009, 08:23 AM   #8
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Exclamation Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

Over the last several days I have been experiencing extreme ear pressure and a 'stuffy presence' in my ears. It culminated yesterday in a severe and debilitating attack of vertigo - balance was way off and I could barely function (the feeling was magnified if I tilted my head upwards towards the ceiling).There didnt seem to be any specific trigger that precipitated this attack - the only thing helped was driving home (very dangerous) and laying down for a few hours.

I have seen the ENT 3 x with no help whatsoever - he tells me that it will pass just to maintain normal activity levels. Also when I open or move my jaws to alleviate ear pressure, I can hear clicking/popping. I have extreme sensitivity to sound when I wake up in the morning and every time my girlfriend moves in the bed it feels like I am on a raft in the ocean.

My question is: Would such obvious ear related issues be MAV related or can I start to rule that out? Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am trying to figure out my next best step - a regional balance center that conducts a battery of test or a neor-otologist.

PLease offer any advice/feedback you feel may be appropriate. My depression/rage are reaching dangerous levels and I need answers and perhaps a glimmer of hope.

 
Old 03-16-2009, 11:16 AM   #9
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Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

JacksonHole,

Your symptoms are spot on with mine - by that I mean, I have experienced all of those at times.

These symptoms all began about 9 years ago for me, I remember the first few years as miserable because I was certain something was seriously wrong with me and I was facing imminent death.

My worst trigger these days is getting in an elevator. The actual ride doesn't make me lose my balance, it is only after the elevator stops and I get out. I think the worst elevators are those that slowly come to a stop. About six steps off the elevator, I'm not even sure where the floor is moving. While that is bad, it only lasts a few minutes, but I will still feel the residual effects a day or two later.

Both seeing periphereal objects moving when they're not, focusing on small print (text on a Tylenol bottle seemed to move), and the worst being I feel like I will fall out of my chair and I have to grab my cube desk (probably three times a week) for stability.

I saw many specialists (ENT, internist, cardiologist, gastro) and they all had some suspicions (underlying allergy, viral infection, stress) but the blood work ALWAYS came back normal, blood pressure and pulse fine, urine and etc all normal.

The worst diagnosis was always anxiety. I was only anxious because I couldn't keep my ******* balance! When people fall they don't relax, right?

Anyway after 9 years, this is my own diagnosis:
A virus infection had damaged my vestibular system. Whether the inner ear or somewhere in the brain, the damage was big enough to affect my balance. Over the years, my brain obviously adjusted itself to gain more control via other means - but when the balance system is taxed (like in an enclosed moving elevator), the damage still shows.

Prognosis:
I doubt anything but time will cure (control) the damage, and seeking out surgeries or more tests may introduce other issues - like taking drugs that won't have any effect (anti-anxiety, allergy medications) but have side-effects.

Best I can say is I hear you, and I understand you completely!

 
Old 04-16-2009, 01:06 PM   #10
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Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

I've finally got an appointment with a neurotologist and hope to get some answers and treatment options. My gut tells my that this has nothing to do with MAV because I can feel discomfort and pressure in my ears and have never really had any issues with migraines in the past.

My symptoms fluctuate drasticaly from one day to the next and so forth and so on, week by week. On about month 6 now and nothing seems to help. I have greatly reduced sodium intake, am taking a daily diuretic, getting excercise etc but nothing helps.

What is about busy sidewalks and freaking grocery stores that are like kryptonite to me now?! Unbelievable.

 
Old 04-16-2009, 05:30 PM   #11
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Wilc516 HB UserWilc516 HB User
Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JacksonHole View Post
I've finally got an appointment with a neurotologist and hope to get some answers and treatment options. My gut tells my that this has nothing to do with MAV because I can feel discomfort and pressure in my ears and have never really had any issues with migraines in the past.

My symptoms fluctuate drasticaly from one day to the next and so forth and so on, week by week. On about month 6 now and nothing seems to help. I have greatly reduced sodium intake, am taking a daily diuretic, getting excercise etc but nothing helps.

What is about busy sidewalks and freaking grocery stores that are like kryptonite to me now?! Unbelievable.
Hey there JacksonHole,

I can relate to what you are going through. THe neurotologist is probably the best doctor you can see. Problem is, and as others have said, there may be nothing medically that can be done for you.

I have very similar issues that just appeared mid-December. After extensive tests, I am told I have a total bilateral loss of my vestibular system. There is no "why" they can give me, it just is. Your brain eventually adapts to learning to balance without the benefit of the inner ear.

Odd that so much time has passed for you and you've not seen improvements. Are you doing things that are difficult to push yourself? Or do you tend to take it easy because its uncomfortable? I don't mean that in a negative way, before I was diagnosed, I had no idea what was wrong and did little more then sit around and dwell on feeling lousy. After I knew I had no brain tumors, MS, etc. and that doing the things that make me feel lousy WILL eventually help improve the symptoms, I have seen an improvement.

Do you have oscillopsia (the bouncing vision - when you move, everything bounces and you can't focus while moving?

 
Old 04-16-2009, 06:45 PM   #12
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stargrave HB Userstargrave HB User
Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

Hey Jackson.

I can tell you that, I could have used your case description, with some real spinning episodes added, to describe my own case.

I believe that going to the neurotologyst is your best bet, and will give you much light on what is happening with you.

One of the toughest things with this condition is that is almost unpredictable, but rest assured that there is a real chance for improvement and recovery, it's just a matter of taking the right steps, and you took one with this new appointment.

Last edited by stargrave; 04-16-2009 at 06:45 PM.

 
Old 04-17-2009, 12:55 PM   #13
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Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilc516 View Post

Do you have oscillopsia (the bouncing vision - when you move, everything bounces and you can't focus while moving?
Not really that I have noticed. As for activity, I try to stay as active as possible but it is often rather difficult. I tried to play in an indoor soccer game months ago and was just lost - everything was a whirlwind and I had no prayer of keeping up.

 
Old 04-18-2009, 07:37 AM   #14
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Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JacksonHole View Post
Not really that I have noticed. As for activity, I try to stay as active as possible but it is often rather difficult. I tried to play in an indoor soccer game months ago and was just lost - everything was a whirlwind and I had no prayer of keeping up.
Well there goes my theory of medical diagnosis!! Guess its best to leave that to the medical experts! Good luck.

 
Old 09-25-2009, 04:29 PM   #15
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limbokimbo HB User
Re: balance issues, foggy, just not "right" - help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JacksonHole View Post
I've finally got an appointment with a neurotologist and hope to get some answers and treatment options. My gut tells my that this has nothing to do with MAV because I can feel discomfort and pressure in my ears and have never really had any issues with migraines in the past.

My symptoms fluctuate drasticaly from one day to the next and so forth and so on, week by week. On about month 6 now and nothing seems to help. I have greatly reduced sodium intake, am taking a daily diuretic, getting excercise etc but nothing helps.

What is about busy sidewalks and freaking grocery stores that are like kryptonite to me now?! Unbelievable.
I am dealing with most of the issues you are dealing with. When things are overstimulating, when I am coping with feeling like I am walking on a slippery deck that can shift without warning, extraneous input can cause me to simply overlode (kryptonite). One thing that has helped: when I am alone, I will focus on feeling very balanced with my arms held out to my sides, I imagine walking, in a tranquil setting, I can hear, but noise does not intruse; I am focused on the horizon and remaining balanced. (angel image)

When I am on a sidewalk or even at the store, if I am having an episode, I will stop, grab the shopping cart or lean against a wall, and pretend to be reading my shopping list or looking at my cell phone. Once anchored, I focus on the angel image walking calmly, unobstructed and mentally my outstretched arms become the wings that have always carried me safely through the moment. I find in this focus, I tune out the lights and the sound as I look at the picture on my cell. Sometimes I can continue, other times, this method simply lets me retreat in a dignified manner. I am simply surviving right now...awaiting diagnosis.

Just had my VNG today. That was hard work for me. I was dismayed by my response to the warm and cold stimulus to the right ear which caused me to be unable to respond to very basic questions that were effortless during the testing of my left ear...knowing I did not have control over balance is one thing. Being unable to repond to simple logical simple questions like say more than one geographic location starting with the letter a, I could name one place for every portion of the test, but was unable to move on to a 2nd. I even had to focus counting down from 100 like I was doing it in a foreign language. What's up with that?

 
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