Have you ever gone to bed having had too much alcohol and experienced the room spinning?
Well imagine that x 10 and that is how vertigo feels.
A few years ago, I had my first bout of this which lasted a while and seemed to be related to high stress levels.
I had not had a head injury or any brain dysfunction or illness that would prompt such vertigo. At the time is was diagnosed as Labyrinthitis, which is an inner ear disorder. This occurs when one of the two vestibular nerves in your inner ear becomes inflamed, and affects your balance and special awareness. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, and loss of hearing. After a few days the symptoms subsided, but they would reappear if I was over-tired or over-working.
I have a friend who experiences full-blown episodes of Ménière's disease, which is more about high pressure or a chemical imbalance in the inner ear and her symptoms last much longer and are more severe.
When I look back, my symptoms were worse on one side than the other and so my most recent onset of vertigo in the early hours of Saturday morning reminded me of that previous episode, as the very same thing happened as before. As I turned over in bed onto my right side, I felt like I was about to fall out! The room spun like a top every time I moved and I felt nauseous and frightened.
With some exploration, thanks YouTube, it was clear that I was experiencing symptoms of the more common Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This is more likely to affect people over fifty and can happen with head movements like bending over, crossing the road (look left, look right!) or standing up. In fact, my first room-spinning occurred that morning after a session of yoga, which I dismissed as low blood sugar levels, but in retrospect happened after a series of movements which meant my head was down at times.
BPPV is thought to be caused by small fragments of debris (calcium carbonate crystals), which break off from the lining of the channels in the inner ear. The fragments don't usually cause a problem, unless they get into one of the ear's fluid-filled canals and this is when the discomfort arises.
As the cause of this has a more “mechanical” explanation, happily I discovered that I could undertake a simple series of movements that would literally help restore my balance. After a few attempts at one sequence of moves, I copied the instructions of the Epley Manoeuvre video and HEY PRESTO – crisis averted.
So much so, that I felt well enough to attend an event with my husband that evening.
This is just one great example of how seeking out and using complementary and alternate medicine and methods can mean the difference between a slow or rapid recovery, and/or one without any kind of medical or drug therapy. Even my husband, ever the sceptic, was impressed and relieved with the outcome.
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