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If you suffer from vertigo, a simple treatment can help ?stop the dizzying sensations?
Stop spinning from vertigo with this simple new treatment
Vertigo is the sensation of movement — spinning, falling, tumbling and turning — when your body is still, which can all be very scary. Diagnosing the condition can be difficult since several diseases and medication side effects can cause vertigo. But with testing, your doctor can help determine the cause.
Fortunately for those with a certain type of vertigo called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), there is a treatment that’s easy and very effective.
“I noticed it first here at the gym lifting heavy weights,” says vertigo sufferer Mark Wohan.
“Whenever I would tilt my head the slightest, it would feel like the world was spinning around me — light-headed, nauseous, dizzy.”
Dr. Scott Eggers of the Mayo Clinic says people with BPPV also experience rapid eye jerking, which happens when your inner-ear balance system is stimulated in the wrong way.
“It’s a mechanical disorder that develops because some of the normal little calcium particles that our inner ear creates in order to help us sense gravity and movement float into the wrong part of the system,” explains Dr. Eggers.
This system in our inner ear is our gyroscope, helping our brains register where we are in space. When our calcium crystals are out of place, our brain gets the wrong messages resulting in the sensation of vertigo.
BPPV may go away by itself in a few weeks. But if treatment is needed, a series of head positions can make all the difference for some sufferers. Moving the head in a specific pattern can stop the symptoms by helping the dislodged crystals float back to their original and correct location.
Wohan felt much better after one treatment. “After Dr. Eggers put me through that manoeuvre, I mean, 20 minutes after, I was feeling 100 per cent,” he reports.
Although BPPV cannot be prevented, some factors increase your risk of developing the condition. Having an inflammation of the inner ear, ear surgery, a head injury or just getting older all increase the risk. Also, if you’ve had one episode of BPPV, you’re likely to have more.
If severe, medications to suppress vertigo can help, but they may also cause fatigue. Before embarking on treatment, it’s critical to have the proper diagnosis.
If you have BPPV, the simple series of head positions can be performed by specially trained physicians (ear, nose, throat specialists) and physiotherapists, and it’s about 85 per cent successful.
In the year following treatment, the recurrence rate is about 30 per cent and sometimes a second treatment may be necessary. You can also ask your therapist about home exercises to help your brain overcome and adjust to the vertigo signals.
To find a physiotherapist who can help, visit the B.C. Physiotherapy Association.
Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.