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Old 04-14-2011, 08:45 AM   #1
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Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

During my winter break (early December), I started experiencing slight but constant dizziness, like rocking on a boat. I stressed myself out during this time, and it was all that I thought about, constantly.

When I was 9 years old, I had a benign brain tumor on the bottom of my brain. It was tested for cancer, which was negative. I had no symptoms of reoccurrence or anything bad until this past winter break, when I started getting this slight feeling of dizziness. I spiraled into anxiety, thinking that my tumor was back, rationalizing it because I hadnít had any follow-up MRIís since the surgery, things like that.

I saw my primary doctor, who assured me that it wasnít a brain tumor, and that it was probably just an inner ear virus. He gave me some medicines (I believe it was Claritin or something like that) which didnít work. I went back to him, still scared. He recommended an ENT. I had the ENT appointment, and he said that he didnít see anything wrong with my ears and judging by my symptoms, it was not a problem with my ear, nose, or throat. He did not do any real special tests, but just listened to my symptoms and looked in my ears. I went back to my GP and got blood-work done. Everything came back normal. Then, I went to a Neurologist. He assured me that he didnít think my brain tumor was back, but I got an MRI to be sure. No masses, no tumors, no cancer..great news!

After the MRI results, my mind was at ease; my dizziness subsided substantially. I still felt a speck of dizziness at times, but it was barely there and hardly noticeable. Until earlier this week.

I had a relatively normal day: my roommate, a friend, and I had just taken the dogs for a walk in the woods (and itís pretty hot down here in south GA) and afterwards we decided to go to the gym to relax in the Jacuzzi. Before leaving the house, I suddenly got VERY lightheaded. It was the same feeling as when you stand up too quick, but it lasted for awhile. I rode to the gym like this, went into the Jacuzzi like this, and decided that it had to be due to a lack of ďgoodĒ food that day. I had eaten a sandwich, some chips and hummus, and maybe a few granola bars. I didnít have a lack of food, just a lack of ďsubstantialĒ food, I guess you could say. Anyways, after I got back home I started eating a dinner of tortellini (a pasta type food filled with cheese). I also laid on the couch and tried to relax by watching TV. The feeling slowly went away, but I was still very anxious. Since then (that happened on Sunday), I have had the constant worry of dizziness in the back of my mind. I donít know what to do to kick this. I am tired of constantly worrying about being dizzy, and donít know if what I am feeling is real, or if I have just gotten myself into a rut of worry and anxiety.

What worries me is that when I was experiencing this lightheadedness, it felt as if my brain was not getting enough oxygen. That is the only thing that I could think of that could cause something like this. However, I donít want to make a big deal out of it and get a battery of tests just to find out that I am fine, and have this be a continuing cycle with a different series of tests every time. I just wanted to get all of this off of my chest and see what you guys thought..if I should get any further tests, or where to go from here. I also have neck pain/pressure sometimes, which is probably due to an accident that I was in when I was 19. I am 23 now. I donít think the neck pain is causing my symptoms, but there are some days where it feels tighter than others, and I was thinking about trying to see a chiropractor.

 
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:01 PM   #2
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Hello i am also 23 years old and in school. I recentley posted my story and it is somewhat similar to yours except i do not have the history of a brain tumor. I have been sick for about 2 months now, from the minute i get up until the minute i go to bed i have a constant feeling of motion, nausea and fatigue. At first they thought i had vertigo which is dizzy spells but that is impossible because mine is constant so your not alone. I have seen a neurologist, and and ent which they ran all sorts of tests and showed nothing. I am currently scheduled for an vng test which tests for inner ear diseases along with balance disorders, you might wanna look into that test. from the sounds of it tho it seems you might have something different than me thought because yours goes away. good luck!

 
Old 05-01-2011, 09:50 AM   #3
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

When I went to the ENT, I told him about my dizziness and he immediately said that it wasn't anything to do with my ears, since it's not a "spinning" sensation. I don't agree with him..and he didn't even run any tests. Just looked inside my ear with the normal stethoscope thing, then tried to sell me a surgery for my deviated septum.. I didn't like him at all.

I still think it's something ear-related because I have a feeling of fullness, and my ears never feel completely "popped". Well, sometimes they do but more often than not, they have some sort of fullness in them.

The other thing I think could cause this would be the blood flow to the brain? I have pain in my neck sometimes, and was thinking maybe a nerve or blood vessel was being pinched, or something like that. I've never had my neck looked at.

It seems to almost go completely away when I'm not thinking about it at all..which leads me to believe it could be anxiety. But then sometimes I will get dizzy out of nowhere, even after not thinking about it at all.

 
Old 05-01-2011, 11:08 AM   #4
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Well I definetley think you need to get a second opinion and see annother ENT! I do not have a spinning sensation but I do have a constant feeling of motion almost like swaying back and forth on a boat or something. My ENT said it is most likely ear related, he also said i do not have vertigo i have a french word that means movement of motion called Meneires. Did you tell them about the feeling of fullness in your ears and the popping? If so and he then proceeded to tell you it is nothing with your ears he is CRAZY! Also if you are having neck pain I would definetley look into that because something could be pressing on your spine causing the equilibrium to be messed up. I am no doctor but I am just telling you what all these doctors have told me while trying to diagnose me. They still do not know what is causing my symptoms so that is why i am having the Avg test done to determine if ti is anything with my ears. I do not believe the anxiety has anything to do with your symptoms, while anxiety can cause these symptoms and some of it may be in yoru head these kind of symptoms have been explained to me as not normal. So stick with it until you get good results and some answers, you only have one life to live!

 
Old 05-01-2011, 11:53 AM   #5
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Yeah, I told him about the fullness in my ears and he still thought it was nothing. He told me to go to the doctor and get blood work done, because he said it could be something with my Iron levels, or sugar levels. I went, and all of my blood work came back normal.

I have the same thing, to where I'm never having a spinning feeling, but just a rocking motion..almost like being on a boat? And when I lay down in bed (and the mattress moves just a little bit), that feeling is exaggerated. It really sounds like we have the same things..mine started in December, and the doctor thought it was just a simple sinus infection and gave me Alegra and various other allergy medicines, which never helped. And as the dizziness didn't get better, I started to panic more!!

 
Old 05-01-2011, 02:31 PM   #6
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Yes i think we do have the same sort of symptoms, have they ever tested your blood for epstein bar, lyme disease, autoimmune diseases, or inflamation? Those are the blood tests I am currently having done. The ENT told me feeling like this could be caused by a virus. I also have been on various medications: sterorids, nasonex, sudafed, and meclizine. You should also ask about the transdermal scop patch that is what im on now and it doesnt totally work but some days it takes the edge off. It is orescribed to people who go on trips that have motion sickness but in some severe cases they will give it to patients with our symptoms. My neurologist was actually the one who prescribed it. It is a small patch that you wear behind your ear for 3 days and then you change it on the 33rd day. Just giving you some ideas!

 
Old 05-01-2011, 05:41 PM   #7
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Hmm, thank you very much for the suggestions. The possibility of Lyme disease scares me, because I am always doing something outdoors. I love going camping and hiking, but I thought it would show up with a rash, or some other sort of signs??

 
Old 05-01-2011, 06:32 PM   #8
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Yeah i guess unfortunetley lyme disease does not always have obvious symptoms because i said the same thing when the dr said he was testing for lyme. I highly doubt either of us have lyme disease but i would rather be safe than sorry.

 
Old 05-02-2011, 04:37 PM   #9
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

I guess I will go back to the GP and tell them that I would like to have further blood work done. I'd also like them to check out my neck, because sometimes I have discomfort which could cause these symptoms? But I seriously think it's got something to do with my ears..

Do you have a fullness in your ears, and do you pop them multiple times a day? Because I can never seem to get them to feel completely clear.. Also, what is the link to your original thread? I'd like to read it and see what else we have in common/what all you've been going through. Thanks!

 
Old 05-02-2011, 05:54 PM   #10
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Hey, I do think i have the feeling of fullness in my ears but they do pop occasionally? Do your ever ring? Oh and i got my blood work results back today good news is they were all negative, bad news is i still dont have any answers so i called my primary care physician and she wants me to come in this week so maybe she has some new ideas. I just dont know anymore i really cant stand it anymore. I had to turn down a great job offer because of this ****, its really starting it irritate me! My post is the one that says PLEASE HELP, I do not know how to get the link, sorry.

 
Old 05-02-2011, 06:49 PM   #11
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Hey, yeah I can get my ears to pop if I keep trying at it. They will "pop" but usually don't feel completely clear, if that makes sense. And I did have a horrible ringing in my ears (MUCH louder than usual) but that hasn't really been a problem for the past couple of months. If I were to guess, I would say that December-February the ringing was quite noticeable, but mainly when it is silent. Now, it has basically returned to normal. I did have dizziness 24/7 at the beginning, then after the MRI came back clear it went down to only occasionally.

I still feel it every day, but not constantly..basically in waves, I guess you could say. Sometimes I worry about it more than others. I'm really glad that your blood work results came back negative..I will try to get my physician to do the same tests. I don't know what else to do other than that. What is your next step?

They thought it could be Meniere's disease for me as well, but the way my doctor described it to me was as an "illness of exclusions"--meaning there is no way to test for or confirm it, it's basically just what they will diagnose you as having after all other options have been ruled out.

When did this start for you? Mine started in December..almost immediately with the cold season. I live in Georgia, by the way, but we did have quite the harsh winter for our standards.

 
Old 05-03-2011, 05:35 PM   #12
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

That so weird that after the mri t\you kind of felt better. Maybe it was anxiety than hmmm im not sure about that part. And the ringing in your ears and spinning feeling is an automatic sign of vertigo. Yes def have your dr.s run more tests and my next step is tomm goin to see my primary care physician then friend follow up with neurology and on the 20th of may i have an eng test, so hopefully one of them have a great plan for me because i am getting extremely frustrated. Do not let your doctor say you have an illness of exclusion that is rediculous. This all started for me around March 8th and is still continuing to ruin my life!! I live in NY we always have bad winters so that is normal for us. What part of Georgia do u live in? Did you say you are in school? What school do you go to? I go to HVCC

 
Old 05-03-2011, 07:43 PM   #13
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Wait, I have NO spinning..just the swaying-like motion that you described. And I do think a huge part of this is anxiety, as my symptoms got SO much better after the clear MRI (since I had the previous history of the brain tumor I had a good reason to be worried about that).

But yeah, I will keep going to doctors..eventually. I'm sick of going to them, and them not finding anything wrong with me. And my parents..they just think I'm worrying too much too. They claim that they would be able to "tell" or have a "gut feeling" IF something really was wrong with me.

And I am from the east side of Atlanta area..a suburb called Stone Mountain. And I go to school at Georgia Southern, in Statesboro (near Savannah, in the south).

Let me know how all your tests and everything go! Yours sounds so much more severe than mine..or maybe I have just learned to live with mine? At first, I stayed cooped up in the house, and frustrated, and just downright sad about the whole situation. Since then, I've been resuming my normal activities..like hiking, rock climbing, camping, and trying to live my life as normal and ignore it as much as I can. At least I (supposedly) can be sure that it's not something life-threatening, and the symptoms haven't gotten any WORSE, just haven't got much better. You might want to try living with it as well by going about your day-to-day life as much as possible (while you still try to find answers, of course).

 
Old 05-03-2011, 07:47 PM   #14
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Hi there! I have read the thread concerning mostly RyanCunico and Bellasmom1 and I'm sorry for what you have had to go through. I hope to offer some insight as I am improving ...
I initially began with my vertigo about 12 years ago experiencing severe spinning, walking was difficult (had to place my hand on the wall as I walked and just drag it to help keep my balance) and driving around turns (on entrance or exit ramps) was not fun. I was also unable to look at the computer screen when scrolling, could not look at a "busy" and colorful magazine or I felt I'd just throw up right there. After many tests which apparently only ruled out each diagnosis, my ENT suggested I eliminated all caffeine, added salt, and alcohol from my diet...it actually improved and disappeared after about 6 months. The ENT told me that Meniere's Disease is degenerative and along with all the other symptoms (which I had), you also had to have hearing loss to be diagnosed as such. I didn't have hearing loss so no Meniere's. Still don't know what exactly caused it but even the smallest bit of alcohol (a beer) brought back the severe dizziness I began with so I learned to listen to the dr. real quickly!
I started with the dizziness again about 2-1/2 months ago. I never did get the spinning this time but had difficulty when moving my eyes up or down, turning too quickly, had constant ringing in my ears and much louder than usual, and I had strange visual things happen with my eyes -- almost seemed like the print on a page was jumping all around as I tried to read it. I know that my eyes were doing the jumping -- like back and forth -- while I was trying to focus and read in one place. I tried to explain it and the best I could do was say that I felt like my eyes were doing the R.E.M. thing while I was awake and trying to read.
I read here on HealthBoards that some folks got relief from taking the over-the-counter antihistamine called Chlor-Trimeton (or a generic or non-brand, chlorpheniramine maleate) so I tried that and it helped some. After seeing the ENT, eye dr, and neurologist...I ended up taking meclizine 12.5 mg. for only 18 days. After 3 days I knew for sure it was making me worse but the neurologist and pharmacist both disagreed and said I should continue it. I should have gone with my gut because it only made me worse -- had much worse dizziness and was getting bad headaches. I wanted to feel better so badly that I felt I had to trust someone so I stayed on the meclizine -- unwillingly. Finally, I wised up and decided it was enough - you know your own body and have to trust that. I stopped the Rx and restarted the Chlor-Trimeton and felt 95% the very next day. As the next week went by, I felt worse each day but then it eased up. I am feeling much better and near normal now. I can deal with this feeling and am hoping this "viral thing" or labyrinthitis affecting my ears and causing my vertigo is improving. This bout of vertigo had me miss about 12 days of work -- used up all my sick time and had to use about 3 days of vacaton time ... had no choice. I could not walk or drive like that so I had to stay home. It was horrible.
I must say that I'm improving so I'm trying to stay optimistic but it is not always that easy. Work is very busy and extremely stressful so that can't help matters. I am hoping that the worst ever allergy season predicted does not make all of us worse.
Wishing you all the very best and hope you improve as I have been. Hang in there and thank you for your postings -- it has helped me all along the way!
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Old 05-06-2011, 06:36 PM   #15
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Re: Dizziness and Anxiety, or other cause?

Hey fblvr, your story is very inspiring, as it was only a slight change of diet needed to eliminate your symptoms. With that being said, it is also scary as to how suddenly and violently these things can take hold over your life. I do not think that we have the same symptoms as you did 12 years ago, as neither of us is experiencing a true "spinning" sensation. It is more of a swaying, back-and-forth..almost as if on a boat. I did think it was something diet-related as well, and have been eating a bit healthier. I have eliminated all fast food from my diet (for about .. 4 months now at least?) and have not been consuming caffeine or much alcohol.

I find that when I don't think about it at all, the symptoms are virtually gone. However, I hope that you continue to improve. And as a side-note, when I went to my neurologist (in February) he also attributed it to sinuses, and prescribed me some Alegra. I quickly found out that my symptoms were amplified, and I felt the boat sensation MUCH more while on it than while off of it.

I think maybe I need an anti-anxiety medicine and perhaps some tests of my neck (to make sure no nerves are being pinched). Sometimes, when I move my head side-to-side during a dizzy attack, it helps it significantly. I have only recently discovered this...

@Bellasmom: how are your symptoms doing? Any improvements/updates?

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