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  • vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

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    Old 03-05-2014, 04:11 PM   #1
    moonstorm
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    vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    Hi, I am a 27 year old female and here is my (hopefully not too long-winded) story of my experience with vertigo/ear issues/etc. I've been on these HealthBoards many times reading what others have written, and it makes me feel less alone.

    It started mid-November 2013 when I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. When I stood up, I felt the most dizzy/vertigo feeling I've ever experienced. It scared me, and it was so bad I eventually threw up from the dizziness. After laying back down to rest it seemed to get a little better, I chalked it up as the flu and stayed home a few days from work.

    SINUS part of the story: About a week later I noticed sinus pressure, went to my GP and was diagnosed with sinus congestion, but gave me an antibiotic to take "in a few days" in case I wasn't better by then and it developed into an infection. I ended up taking the antibiotics and they did not cure the infection. After getting tension headaches from the stress of missing work and not feeling better, I was sent to a chiropractor for the headaches and put on Prednisone (NOT fun, in my experience) to help with the swelling in my sinuses. Pred didn't work, GP referred me to an ENT who then put me on a stronger antibiotic (that I had an allergic reaction to after day 8), had a CT scan of sinuses that confirmed I had infected sinuses, was put on anther round of antibiotics to cure it. Follow up CT showed healed sinuses, no more infection.

    VERTIGO part of the story: During all of this my left ear was very plugged, some pain on certain days. ENT said it was just because of the infection, that it will clear up in time. I had dizziness with the plugged ear, so the ENT scheduled a couple audiograms (a month apart) to compare. The ENT noticed there was a difference and said my ear pain/dizziness was from my left ear having Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, and to continue to take Flonase every day.

    I had been noticing the dizziness/vertigo (not lightheaded, but a feeling of spinning) a bit more 2 weeks ago. I went back to the ENT and she diagnosed me with BPPV (I get dizzy when I move my head, especially up and down). She did the test where she laid me down fast so she could look at my eye movement, but she said there wasn't much movement (I forget what the term is called). She still diagnosed it as BPPV and I am going to PT tomorrow to see if that helps the vertigo.

    Has anyone else had a similar journey? I am nervous and anxious a lot now, and questioning if the ENT has diagnosed me correctly. I can usually get through the workday, but it is becoming very draining (mentally and physically) and my social life is completely gone because all I have energy for after work is to just go home and rest (and I'm also afraid of having bad vertigo in public). The ENT said that if the PT doesn't help, I will need to get an MRI to "see what else might be going on." That also makes me very scared.

    This is my first post, so any advice, comments, anything are much welcomed. I'm having a hard time staying positive through all of this.

     
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    Old 03-05-2014, 11:40 PM   #2
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    Re: vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    It is common to experience vertigo when a sinus or ear infection occurs, and that can continue for awhile afterward, especially if the Eustachian tube is blocked. The Flonase is helpful, and there are a few other things that might help. An antihistamine like Dramamine or Meclizine can help the vertigo, both are OTC. Sudafed can decongest the membranes in the Eustachian tube to help it drain properly, and sinus rinses can help flush out allergens/irritants if you have any allergy tendencies or live in an air polluted city, usually worse in winter. The more you do with these, the more likely this will get better faster, so I would do it all initially, then drop the antihistamine when the vertigo seems to have stopped completely. Stop one thing at a time as you improve, and if you do have allergies, a non drowsy antihistamine like Claritin or fexofenadine OTC can be used when the Dramamine is no longer needed.

    Last edited by ladybud; 03-05-2014 at 11:42 PM. Reason: typo

     
    Old 03-06-2014, 05:55 AM   #3
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    Re: vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    Hi Ladybud -- thank you so much for your response. I have been (off and on) using Sudafed to help with the decongesting to help clear the ET. I tried Dramamine once and that made me feel worse, so I haven't used it since.

    I had been using a NeilMed Sinus Rinse, and it was actually after using it (after using it for about 2 weeks) that my left ear (the one with the ETD) started to hurt again (it had previously cleared up/became unblocked after some antibiotics during my sinus infection). The ENT suggested to stop using the sinus rinse because it caused more ear pain, and I haven't used it since as my left ear is still giving me troubles.

    I have Claritin, perhaps I can add that to my "mix" and see how much that helps. I am paranoid as to why this vertigo is still here after my sinus infection has cleared up! Yes, my ear and ET is still not clear, and I thought that was the main culprit until I had a follow up with the ENT and she said that now she feels the dizziness/vertigo isn't related to the ETD (really!?!? i ask) and she thinks it's BPPV due to how I described my vertigo (more intense when I move my head).

    I'm seeing the PT today for the BPPV this afternoon. I must say I am nervous as I don't know if I trust that the ENT diagnosed me correctly with BPPV, but I supposed I should give it a shot. If nothing else it can be ruled out, I suppose.

    Do you think I can really have dizziness from a healed sinus infection from a couple months ago? If yes... my body needs to hurry up and fix itself!

     
    Old 03-06-2014, 01:39 PM   #4
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    Re: vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    Yes since you still have ear symptoms I think your vertigo is related, not BPV. Anyone with vertigo gets worse with shaking their head or sudden movement. BPV is a diagnosis of exclusion, when there is no other possible explanation. If the Claritin doesn't help, I'd try fexofenadine, as I think it is stronger. If your ear symptoms clear up completely and you continue to have vertigo, then I would get an MRI.

     
    Old 03-06-2014, 03:55 PM   #5
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    Re: vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    ladybud: thank you for your feedback! the physical therapist I saw today did in fact rule out BPPV (which I had suspected would be the case). She said she's confident I just have "unilateral vestibular deficit" (after running different tests for balance, eye movement, etc.). She started me on an exercise and gave me tips for improving the "strength" in my ear/eye stuff. She actually explained things (my ENT rarely explains things...) that made sense, and I was much more comfortable with what she was telling me. I brought up to her that I was nervous about getting an MRI, and she assured me that she thinks my problem is ear related, not brain (central) related. That has helped to calm me down a little.

    I really hope these exercises work (and the follow up PT sessions) and that I will start to feel better soon. This is so draining.

     
    Old 03-07-2014, 06:59 AM   #6
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    Re: vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    You might try meclizine instead of Dramamine, and start with a very small dose. Or if you have Dramamine left, try it again but take only 1/2 tab to see if you feel better with a smaller dose. That can make a huge difference in the vertigo.

     
    Old 05-06-2014, 10:33 PM   #7
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    Re: vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    Moonstorm - How are you doing now? My PT also said I didn't have BPPV, so couldn't then treat me. Sounds like you have a knowledgeable PT! What kind of exercises did she have you do? I can't get into an ENT for nearly two months, and I'm just not sure what to do to feel better...

     
    Old 05-07-2014, 08:02 AM   #8
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    Re: vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    I too am curious how you are doing Moonstorm. If you are better, great! Could you share what helped and how things turned out? It helps us who advise and helps those still struggling to know the outcome of situations. Thanks!

     
    Old 05-08-2014, 11:47 AM   #9
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    Re: vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    Hi Hbeez and ladybud -- thanks for asking! My vertigo is much better now, thanks to the PT (I also am doing acupuncture). Yes, my PT did seem very knowledgeable on the topic of vertigo. I had 3 sessions with her, and then she told me to continue the exercises as needed. I do them about 3-4 times a week once a day, and I am at about 90-95% on most days, so that's a huge improvement. I still notice some vertigo/weirdness now and again, but it's much more manageable. It happens more (the vertigo feeling) on days where I don't get much sleep, and I have allergies right now and that is affecting it a little, but as I said, more manageable.

    What helped was the PT -- I'm not sure how to explain what exercises I do because they are difficult to explain, but basically they intentionally make me dizzy, and then my ear/brain/eyes get "used" to feeling that way, so when I experience it in the "real world" it doesn't seem so bad. I have to shake my head "yes" and "no" while focusing on an object... I walk up and down a hallway while turning my head back and forth and up and down... I hold a ball with both hands extended and then I move the ball in a large circle and follow it (that still makes me really dizzy), so yeah those are what I do. Maybe if you search/Google "PT exercises for vertigo" they might show up in a video or something.

    I also go to acupuncture and that has helped to calm me down, and it helped my headaches as well. A couple of times I could feel the fluid in my ear actually draining during some sessions, so whatever my acupuncturist did seems to have helped.

    I still have some ear blockage sometimes, but I've kind of just accepted it as part of my life instead of having it stress me out (but it still does from time to time).

     
    Old 05-08-2014, 11:48 AM   #10
    moonstorm
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    Re: vertigo/BPPV/ETD (started as sinus infection), any advice is welcome

    Hi Hbeez and ladybud -- thanks for asking! My vertigo is much better now, thanks to the PT (I also am doing acupuncture). Yes, my PT did seem very knowledgeable on the topic of vertigo. I had 3 sessions with her, and then she told me to continue the exercises as needed. I do them about 3-4 times a week once a day, and I am at about 90-95% on most days, so that's a huge improvement. I still notice some vertigo/weirdness now and again, but it's much more manageable. It happens more (the vertigo feeling) on days where I don't get much sleep, and I have allergies right now and that is affecting it a little, but as I said, more manageable.

    What helped was the PT -- I'm not sure how to explain what exercises I do because they are difficult to explain, but basically they intentionally make me dizzy, and then my ear/brain/eyes get "used" to feeling that way, so when I experience it in the "real world" it doesn't seem so bad. I have to shake my head "yes" and "no" while focusing on an object... I walk up and down a hallway while turning my head back and forth and up and down... I hold a ball with both hands extended and then I move the ball in a large circle and follow it (that still makes me really dizzy), so yeah those are what I do. Maybe if you search/Google "PT exercises for vertigo" they might show up in a video or something.

    I also go to acupuncture and that has helped to calm me down, and it helped my headaches as well. A couple of times I could feel the fluid in my ear actually draining during some sessions, so whatever my acupuncturist did seems to have helped.

    I still have some ear blockage sometimes, but I've kind of just accepted it as part of my life instead of having it stress me out (but it still does from time to time).

     
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