I just wanted to give you a quick update about my health and recovery. So I have been taking medicine since June 2009, and as of today August 2010 I am almost back to myself again. I worked my way up to 75mg of nortriptyline (anti-depressant) and was also taking verapamil for about 4 months. I noticed no extra help with verapamil. As for the nortriptyline, it has really helped calm the nerves in my brain and inner ear and was the #1 drug that took away my spinning vertigo sensation after 2 weeks. I still had dizziness but at least it wasn't the spinning kind. Over the months I slowly, and I mean slowly improved. I thought I would never get to a place where I am today. With the nortriptyline, it would help keep my headaches/migraines away for a few weeks to months and then I would get a bunch of headaches again which would bring on crazy dizzy spells. I kept increasing another 10mg, then another 10mg etc. I couldn't keep doing this forever, so I stopped taking the verapamil because it was doing nothing for me and tried another recommended medication. You can be on 3 medications at a time to help control the symptoms and gradually work your way off them in the future. Prozac (anti-depressant) was another medication recommended for migraines, so I started off with 10mg. Sedation, dizziness and dry mouth were the main side effects which go away for the most part after your body gets use to the medication. I knew about this medication and I didn't want to get on it because I was told you can't be on more than one anti-depressant at a time. This is not true, you just have to make sure one of the medications is at a lower dosage. I knew this medication would probably help me because I got on it years earlier for about 6 months when I was going through some tough times and I remembered that my headaches had almost completely vanished not knowing at the time that prozac was helping with that as well. So before I got on prozac I was still getting bad headaches/migraines and dizzy spells and would get extremely irritable when I would have these attacks. Also I still had major issues with driving (motion) still could barely drive at all; only for a few minutes here and there.
After 3 months of adding prozac in with my other medication, I am almost headache free, other than around my menstrual cycle, and I can drive so much better. Also, I don't get as irritable anymore mostly because I have less frequent headaches and dizziness and even when I do feel bad I'm not anywhere as irritable as I use to be. That must be a relief for my family. I just added another 10mg (total 20mg) this month and have been going through the side effects again (more dizzy and tired) but I am still able to function more than I ever have since this illness began. I joined a co-ed softball team, and yes sometimes I get a bit dizzy from moving too fast but I am happy. The only thing that messes with me a bit is sometimes I have more blurred vision than I would like.
The last thing I would like to say with utmost importance is, when you are feeling well enough to exercise; then EXERCISE! I exercise almost every day now, and I would have to say that is the #1 best thing you can do for your body. It keeps my headaches away and helps my inner ear work with balance (especially yoga). I notice that if I sit around all day and do nothing motion wise, I start to get a headache and exercise helps get rid of it and keep it away. Get that blood & oxygen flowing to the brain.
I also take other natural supplements that are healthy for the brain and inner ear. Here is the list:
-Xango (mangosteen fruit juice) 4 ounces a day keeps pain away and gives you lots of energy. I take 2 ounces am/2pm. It is a major anti-oxidant that helps protect the body against cellular damage especially caused by medications.
-Omega 3 fish oil (1000mg) I take 4 X a day. 2am/2pm Great for brain & heart function.
-B complex (I take 1 X a day in am) Great for brain/nervous system.
Folic Acid with DHA (I take 1 X a day in am) taking before & during my menstrual cycle.
-This last one was just recommended to me by my new doctor. He said riboflavin helps decrease inner ear episodes of vertigo. The only brand I found at the drug store is called LIPO-FLAVONOID PLUS. It is a unique ear health formula that was created by an ear doctor. I take this 1 x a day in the evening because it is mostly B Vitamins.
I have noticed foods to stay away from that bring on headaches. They are pretty much anything aged/fermented. Cheeses, alcohol, yogurt etc. I slip up sometimes for cheese
Also caffeine I stay away from. Oh, and don't skip meals!
Well I think that's about all I can tell you for now. I'm not 100% there just yet but feel pretty close. Maybe in another 6 months things will be fantastic, won't have any problems with motion or driving and can hopefully start reducing my medication mg.
Don't give up hope, you need to keep fighting for your life and independence. I know how frustrating it is to be dizzy, but keep doing your homework, talking to people, reading online information, books, anything and everything you can find and try everything until something works for you. Wish you all the best and let me know if you have anymore questions.