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goingeast 01-04-2013 12:06 AM

vertigo attack and aftermath
Hi All,

First time I had an attack of vertigo was about six weeks ago. Very severe. Everything spinning. Uncontrollable vomiting. Had to be taken to the hospital and put on an IV. Severe vertigo subsided after a few days; but I remained very dizzy, nauseous, vision blurred, could barely walk.

Limited healthcare where I am right now so seeing a vestibular specialist is not an option. The doctor I did see, a GP, didn't see any problem with my ears or eyes. He thought my problem might be related to neck pain and referred me to an osteopath. I do suffer from severe chronic neck and back pain; but the osteopath told me he did not see a misalignment in the parts of the spine that can cause dizziness, only in the midback. So, although I do have very severe neck pain, it appears to be muscular, and the osteopath only deals with the spine. After the adjustment I did feel a bit better than before, but it didn't last.

I can see an improvement in my condition since the original vertigo attack, but it is happening very slowly, and it seems like there is some point of resistance I can't move past. I feel best for about the first hour after waking up; then as the day goes on the dizziness gets worse and I seem to get tired a lot more quickly than before. My eyes also seem to get tired quickly and sometimes a bit of blurriness or cloudiness comes on unexpectedly. It seems to cause me more trouble when the light dims or it gets dark.

I don't really know how to explain the sensation I'm left with. The spinning is gone, but every time I move my head, particularly when I move it to one side or the other, I have a feeling of dizziness which is often accompanied by nausea. It feels like there is a "heaviness" or "slow motion" when I move my head, like something is out of sync. I have noticed that if I force myself to be active despite the dizziness and nausea, there will usually be a short time afterwards where I feel somewhat more steady and "normal" but the dizziness and nausea always return.

Wondering if anyone here has experienced anything similar? Is it possible the original vertigo attack and the dizziness I still experience with head movements could be caused by my chronic neck and back problems?

Seekingpeace12 01-04-2013 10:03 PM

Re: vertigo attack and aftermath
Welcome to the boards Goingeast and sorry to hear of your incident six weeks ago. Yes, your vertigo and dizziness can be from a neck, back or other mis-alignment issue. Although, the severity of the vertigo and dizziness that you first experienced is somewhat uncommon to be coming from a misalignment. I am not a medical professional so that it is just my opinion. It can also be from an ear problem such as crystals being lose (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV) or other inner ear problems.
Can you recall anything that may have happened when you first got dizzy? a fall, head injury, or anything that may have aggravated your neck or head? I wonder if you feel better in the morning because resting your head on the pillow or resting the offending part overnight relieves the pressure on it? Did the doctors put you on any medication to lessen the vertigo? SSRIs and other medicines can help with severe cases of vertigo/dizziness. If no medicines were prescribed, are you taking any over the counter supplements such as ginger to help you cope? I suffer from dizziness and vertigo so I know how debilitating it can be. Good luck in correcting the source of the problem.

goingeast 01-10-2013 02:18 AM

Re: vertigo attack and aftermath
thanks for your reply, seekingpeace.

I actually did have a fall, I think about a week before the vertigo attack. I slipped on a wet tile floor and fell on my back. I didn't hit my head though. Since I have neck and back pain generally, it's hard for me to know if this fall had any effect on my neck, since neck pain is nothing out of the ordinary for me.

The osteopath I saw (one month after the attack) told me there was no misalignment in the parts of the spine usually responsible for dizziness. The GP (who I also saw a month after the attack) just did some very basic tests, but decided, from these, that I did not have BPPV. He had me lie down quickly on each side and then look up at im and said there was no nystagmus. He also had me close my eyes and walk toward him a few steps and since I could do this concluded I had no balance problems. I explained to him that this was not the case--that my balance is off and I feel unsteady while walking, but he didn't seem to understand. He even asked me if I was sure I was dizzy and was not just anxious about having another vertigo attack. I'm assuming I would really need to see a specialist to get meaningful feedback.

When I was taken to the hospital the day of the attack they did blood tests which showed I had an elevated WBC count. They concluded I had food poisoning and did not do any further testing. Assuming I had an ear infection there were no symptoms. I wasn't sick before the attack. The GP I saw checked my ears and said everything looked fine (but, once again, that was a month after my attack).

I'm guessing somehow my vestibular system did get damaged though, especially if, as you say, a severe vertigo attack would not normally be caused by neck issues.

I have been given two different medications for dizziness/vertigo. They didn't help at all at first. Afterwards I took them a couple of times and found they seemed to improve my condition a little though not totally; but I have been hesitant to take them since that, because I read that taking these medications will just delay my recovery?

I have tried some natural things I read about like ginger, lemon juice, gingko, but haven't noticed any benefit these.

Seekingpeace12 01-13-2013 08:44 PM

Re: vertigo attack and aftermath
Do you mind sharing the names of the medicine? Since you have found some relief from the medicines, it may help others in your situation to know what may work. As for not taking the medicines;, my personal opinion (and I am not a medical professional) is that with dizziness and vertigo, the brain will try to adjust your walk, balance and posture to compensate for the illness/symptoms. If taking the medicine makes you "normal" then your brain will not have to compensate and won't have to re-train itself again after the issue is corrected. But please, do what is best for you and I sincerely wish you a quick recovery.

goingeast 01-24-2013 10:13 PM

Re: vertigo attack and aftermath

The names of the medicines are Merislon and Taginyl.

Have your dizziness and vertigo improved over time?

Is there anything you have found that has helped in your recovery, any exercises or something else?

I've been looking up balance exercises on the web and trying to do them each day, but can't yet tell what the ultimate effect is. Sometimes I feel temporarily better after doing them.

Do you know why changes in lighting as the day goes on make the dizziness worse?

Seekingpeace12 01-30-2013 08:49 PM

Re: vertigo attack and aftermath
Interesting that you ask about lighting... I just realized that after my dizziness started I have to adjust my rear view mirror so the lights from cars behind me are not so strong. oncoming lights also seem brighter that they used to.

Just today I ran into a symptom called Heterophoria. It seems that with Heterophoria, your brain gets confused when it gets a different signal from each eye and this causes dizziness and vertigo. Prism glasses correct this and the dizziness goes away if this is the problem. So, I am going to make an appointment with an Opthamologist and see if they can test for horizontal/vertical heterophoria since none of the doctors that I have seen so far have figured out what is causing it.

As for exercises, I haven't really found anything that helps. Some days are worse than others. For example, yesterday I saw my ENT doctor and he did some tests and did the Epley maneuver which did not help, but instead made me more dizzy today. One interesting thing though; One of the tests involved playing sound/tones of different frequencies in my ears. One of the sounds made me nauseous right away. Also, they placed this device behind my ear and it vibrated. One of the vibration frequencies instantly made me so dizzy that I almost fell of the chair. I mentioned it to the doctor and we tried it again and I could not replicated the symptom. How weird is that?

The ENT doc is sending me for a head MRI to make sure there are no tumors or abnormalities in my brain.

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