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toddg25 09-14-2008 01:03 AM

1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
Hi all. I just discovered this site a little while back, and decided tonight to join in order to get (and hopefully give) help. The problems I've been experiencing for a year now affect my head and neck (headaches, neck pain, dizziness), but began with an inner ear problem, so this is the area of these boards I am posting this.

One year ago I turned over quickly in bed and got vertigo, which lasted around 20 - 30 seconds. I stumbled to the bathroom and, after wretching a few times, my wife drove me to the ER. Diagnosis was Labyrinthitis. I had no other symptoms, and had not been sick or anything prior to this. I did experience dizziness the two mornings prior to the episode, but no vertigo. I was prescribed Valium, took one, slept and felt better.

I still felt 'off' for the rest of that week, but no vertigo had returned. One week later, I experienced a violent "pop" in my neck when I merely looked down while sitting on a barstool in my home, which made my left arm jerk wildly. It scared me, as I had never experienced this before. About 4 days later, I was out eating dinner, and started feeling really lightheaded and unstable. One year later, this feeling has not gone away, but has lessened only in it's severity.

I saw an ENT doc, who diagnosed vestibular neuronitis. My primary care doc thought it was BPPV. The Epley maneuver was performed by him, the ENT, another specialist I saw, and a Neurologist, and no vertigo was present.

For months I had severe pressure and pain in my head, particularly at the base of the skull. This has lessened over the last year somewhat. Doctors' theories are that it is a stress response to the inner ear damage I have. I've tried acupuncture to no avail. I've had a brain MRI & cervical MRI, all with normal results. I had an ENG test, which showed a 40% lessened vestibular response in my left ear. I had previously (20 years ago) been diagnosed with cervical stenosis, which numerous doctors have said could not be a cause of my symptoms. The lightheadedness made me think there were blood flow issues, so an ultrasound of my corotid arteries was done, and even a CT Angiogram of my head and neck, for which the results were all normal.

I've gone through vestibular rehab, where no vertigo was ever recreated using the Epley maneuver. I did exercises at home for a few weeks, but it didn't seem to help. The therapy sessions were ended, as she said she could no longer help me. I tried acupuncture, with no improvement.

The symptoms I feel now are aches in the base of the skull, and my head is painful to the touch on top/back part, and causes dizziness when pressure is applied to it. I still feel some instability, but balance is good overall. I've not experienced vertigo since that first day a year ago. I have developed problems with heights and chlostrophobia, and had to cancel a Hawaii trip as I didn't feel I could handle getting in a plane (I already hated flying, but it is impossible now). I feel like all the doctors I've seen think I'm a hypochondriac because all tests but the ENG are normal. I am feeling some pain and discomfort in my neck too. I work shift work, and am up all night half the time. I have a new baby on the way and really want to get some answers and start feeling better before he/she is born. Any help is greatly appreciated.

My heart goes out to those not feeling well on these boards, and I hope you all get some answers and start feeling better soon!


jadeearth 09-14-2008 09:12 AM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness

Sounds like you've covered a lot of the tests. hopefully time will help it improve. have you tried any of the dietary migraine changes?


studyin 09-14-2008 10:07 AM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
Hi Todd,

Your story is not totally unlike mine. I too had brief periods of dizziness initially at bedtime and then BANG, it all hit hard. In short, I had VN or labyrinthitis for 6 weeks solid with severe symptoms. Things improved slowly and then, over time, it morphed into non-stop head pain, neck pain and periods of dysequilibrium and anxiety.

I'd had a small previous migraine history that I was unaware of causing occasional neck pain. But once this puppy blew through, the migraine became a "complicating cofactor" and the whole condition became migraine associated dizziness.

Over the years on this board, I have noted this occurring to MANY people. Either VN kicks off migraine in some or it brings a previous migraine condition to the forefront raising it from nothing more than a mild thunderstorm to what seems like a cat 5 hurricane.

Your constant head and neck pain coupled with feelings of occasional dizziness you now experience all smells of migraine. It explains why all of your tests are normal and why VRT did nothing.

Try following a migraine diet for a month or two and see if there are any improvements. If not, the next step is finding a preventative med to stop your brain from cycling endlessly through the ups and downs of migraine.

Best ... Scott :cool:

violet6 09-14-2008 02:13 PM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
Hi, Todd--

I just wanted to add two things to what Scott said...the best doc for this stuff is typically a neurotologist, if you have not seen one yet. Another good bet if migraine is the problem would be a neurologist who specializes in headaches. I believe that Dr. Baloh is a well-known expert in CA, and seeing an expert can save a lot of time. Always recommended on this board is the book "Heal Your Headache," and it explains the different ways migraine can affect the body; also covers treatments.

Welcome to the board!,

toddg25 09-14-2008 06:54 PM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
Hello Jade, Scott and Violet. Thanks for the welcome, and MANY thanks for the feedback you've given me already. I am going to look into what a migraine diet consists of and try it. I will look into seeing a neurotologist and a neurologist who specializes in headaches, as well as look into Dr. Baloh for sure. I am also going to find and read "Heal Your Headache". Thanks again. I will post any and all progress & updates in hopes they may help another.


violet6 09-15-2008 05:24 AM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
Good luck, Todd, and please do keep us posted!

:) Violet

jomon1961 10-06-2008 02:47 PM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness

just wanted to give you some info for comparison. I almost died from an abscess near my left eye in april, which had not got diagnosed for 3 years and was going into meningitis and septicemia, that's irrelevant except when that was at its worst, I got labyrinthitis for the first time. And now that I've been operated and the abscess is gone, the labyrinthitis (right ear) is still there. it has been diagnosed as whiplash-related as there is no otitis.

Anyway, it seems to me, after struggling with hours of immobility, vomit, fogginess, ringing ear for some months, that the only thing to do is become a health freak in general. Vitamins, alkalizing, no alcohol, coffee, etc etc. Something is wrong & will stay wrong, if the body & mind is in good shape it can fight it. So, no stress, avoid overwork, tension, eat healthy food, rest, exercise (moderate and no head motion). Today it was coming back and I was feeling "out of this world" but I went to the gym all the same, did some bicycle & a sauna, and it got better. Perhaps the sauna warms up the neck, if the labyrinthitis is whiplash-related?
I would like to know if someone has other suggestions,

Emma480 02-04-2009 07:33 PM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
Iím going on 11 months recovering from vestibular neuronitis. Iíve had 2 relapses since my first attach, and itís still hard to deal with. I canít really work and I have a hard time committing to things because I never know how Iím going to feel from one day to the next. Iím scared leaving the house in case I feel really bad.
I have to take small naps during the day if I want to do something in the evening. I also have bad headaches.
Through this past year Iíve been getting sick much more often than normal. Everything from sinus infections, stomach flus, colds etc. Doesnít help the VN recoveryÖ
At the moment Iím taking b12 and folic acid supplements cause itís suppose to help the circulation in the inner ear.

I been a vegan for ten years, and I was wondering if anyone else being a vegetarian or vegan suffer from vestibular neuronitis? Did anyone get better within a year having vestibular neuronitis? How does it affect your life? social life?
I donít really have a life right now. Iím just waiting to get betterÖ..

studyin 02-04-2009 10:01 PM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
Hi Emma,

VN does not keep causing "attacks". Rather, you should be recovering in some sort of forward trajectory Ė two steps forward and one back. If you are purely recovering from VN, you should be experiencing decompensation here and there which should blow over relatively quickly (2 weeks). In some cases you might need VRT to mop up left over dizziness that won't resolve (more info on that in the sticky post). An eye sight issue or the need for glasses can also inhibit compensation from VN.

BUT, if you continue to have heavy attacks and remain at home unable to live your life normally, are plagued with headaches and sinus issues, I'd be looking at migraine being the root cause. As I said previously, VN can easily kick off MAV in those predisposed to migraine. Sadly people spend years thinking it's something else (like me) before they realise they're dealing with migraine.

Get it checked out by someone who knows what they're doing.

Best ... Scott :cool:

jomon1961 02-05-2009 09:25 AM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
dear emma,
just a quick reply - there is some relation between ear ringing (and thus balance sickness whatever you want to call it) and zinc. Vegetarians usually do not get enough zinc as you don't absorb it from vegetal sources. This may not be the right solution in your case but do try a zinc supplement.

Emma480 02-05-2009 07:43 PM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
Hi Scott,

Did you have VN? and how long did it take you before you got better?


sd3 03-20-2009 06:05 PM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
please remove - wrong thread

studyin 03-20-2009 06:15 PM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness
Hi Emma Ė sorry I didn't see your reply here. Will chat to you soon. S

Doll Baby 05-09-2010 02:08 AM

Re: 1 year and counting: vertigo, headaches, dizziness

I have all the symptoms you have was told its degenerative arthritis and there is no room at base of neck so nerves press and therefore the pain i have had steriod epidurals some helped some did not well pain got bad again with dizziness they wanted to do another steriod injection but i feel i have had too many so i went for accupuncture when i went i only had neck tightness now i have severe dizziness muscles are extremely tight anyone out there every have accupuncture and is this normal?

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