Dizziness and off balance for three months? Is it anxiety or bppv?

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On July 8, I woke up with vertigo. I didn't make a big deal of it because I thought, "Maybe I just woke up dizzy because I went to sleep feeling hungry." I went on with my day. My brithday was on July 9. I was very stressed because I wanted things to be perfect. That night, I woke up with vertigo again, but this time it was worse and I panicked. I started sweating and throwing up. I visited the ER where they told me that I was just having anxiety attacks. Another doctor told me it was BPPV and that I should try the Epley maneuver and other exercises. I tried them and they didn't work.

After about a week, the vertigo went away. However, my cat suddenly died around that time and I started feeling dizzy and off balance. It was like a swaying sensation. After this, I started having anxiety attacks every day. These feelings went on through the rest of July, August, and the beginning of September. Then, just when I thought I was getting better, I woke up with vertigo again. Now the dizziness is back. I went to another doctor last week who, once again, told me it was BPPV. They also did blood tests, which will be ready tomorrow. I told the doctor about my anxiety and all she said was, "Relax. You're too young to have anxiety and I don't want to give you medication."

I feel exhausted. Sometimes I completely lose my appetite and food makes me feel sick. My neck feels tense all the time and I get tension headaches. I even had to stop going to school because I'm afraid of having another attack there. I'm only 21, but I feel so cut off from everyone my age. I think it's making me depressed. How do I keep a positive attitude through all of this? Is this really anxiety? Or does this have something to do with my ears? 

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  • Posted

    Hello Vanessa.  I'm so sorry that  you're feeling this way.  However, again, I think this may be related to neck issues.  Do you feel like your shoulders are beginning to draw up to your ears?  Literally - are you so tense around the neck that you're in that position maybe without even knowing it?  My doctor ordered Valium for me to take at night, which I take occasionally.  Other than being a sedative, it acts as a muscle relaxant.  You are doing things correctly by checking out what all could be going on, but don't be surprised if all those tests come back normal.  That is my situation, and it gets to the point where I begin to wonder if I'm crazy.  My family and friends always tell me that I "look fine" which I guess by all practical purposes I do.  Dizziness doesn't have "a look."  But only you know if you're feeling off balance.  I don't think anyone is too young to have anxiety in this world anymore.  There is literally no "down time."  The feeling of nausea and little hunger goes along with being dizzy.  Try to relax your neck as much as you can, and don't think you can't be better.  Good luck!
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    • Posted

      My family tells me the same thing! There have been times when my dad and brother have yelled at me because they think that I'm just being lazy. My dad even said that I'm doing this as an excuse to drop out of school, which is just wrong. There are so many things I want to do with my life.

      And yeah! I my neck muscles feel tight. I often wake up with neck pain. I've tried doing yoga, but it makes me feel dizzy.

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    • Posted

      I understand feeling dizzy from the yoga I guess, because changing positions also makes me feel that way at times.  Please don't worry about people thinking that you're lazy right now.  Concentrate on trying to relax your neck/shoulders and see if that helps.  Maybe go and have a massage?  I do believe that getting uptight will only make things worse in the long run, so try and stay calm.  Hang in there!
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    • Posted

      Hi, Go to the VEDA site, Vestibular disorders Association, they also have a FB page, and learn a lot on there, but also there,s some. Info you can print off for your family and show them that this is not about being lazy, it is a genuine complaint and can have a big impact on your life and they need to start believing you!!  there is, sadly, a lot,of,ignorance out there about Vestibular  problems, and yet if you think about it, it,is like,having a Satnav out of sync, as basically your hearing, your sight and balance mechanism Isn,t working  together to maintain your balance.  most people,take it for granted ,until,it,goes "off" and because there are so many ,variables, on the cause even the medical,profession doesn't seem,to have much of a clue.  the best thing you can do for yourself is educate yourself on the different kinds and VEDA has some great pages that explain them.  although neck,pain can sometimes be the cause of dizziness, (which requires x Rays, MRI,s,etc to rule,out), it can also be a symptom as explained to me by a reasonably good Dr. As you are going through your day doing all those movements you used to take for granted, unconscious ones, your body is now having to,do it differently and the eyes may be doing more,work, and your neck,will,get tense as your body is trying to maintain your balance  (even when you,re sitting you still need equilibrium).  any exercise will more than likely make you feel worse, at least it,does for me, if not at the time, but after I stop, and even the next day!  I always liken it,to a spirit level, that gets shook,up and has to be levelled,out again to remain level and balanced, but on a much more complex me larger,scale.  The best ,exercise,you can do is something like guided meditation, something to calm yourself with and to focus yourself okay?
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    • Posted

      Hi Gillian,

      Some good points for sure.  As I said in earlier posts however, once vestibular disease is ruled out, one needs to consider other reasons for the dizziness.  One doctor I saw mentioned the 3 parts of the body that regulate balance - your eyes, ears and bottoms of your feet.  Getting a good eye exam is probably a good idea.  Also, seeing an allergist, which I'm scheduled to do next month, could possibly find an allergen causing all the misery.  It's difficult, but we just need to keep on searching for the answer to all of this.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your response! I do feel that it's the dizziness that makes me anxious. It's a vicious cycle.

      And my mom has noticed that I open my eyes wide a lot more. I didn't even realize I was doing it, but I guess it's just another way for my body to maintain my balance. I am going back to pick up my blood test results, and if everything is clear, I'm going to ask the doctor to refer me to a specialist. 

      Oh, and I know what you mean! Whenever I do the Epley or any other vertigo exercise on my own, I end up feeling worse. 

      Guided meditation seems gentler. 

       

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    • Posted

      yes Nanci I agree about getting Vest disease ruled out.  I have found however, here in the UK a lot of drs, including the specialists aren,t prepared,to commit themselves,to ruling it out,,or in, for that matter!  It,just seems to be a guessing game, they do MRI,s mainly to rule out the big stuff like,tumours etc from what I,be heard, and a high percentage of,people,on here all day heirs come back ' normal' as did mine!  I do believe the neck plays a big part in it all,whether  the initial,cause or the neck ends up in a mess because of something else.  the Brain and Soine Foundation website that I,v ementioned before is a good place,to look.  I found some interviews with a Nurse on there last week and found a mine of info on neck stuff, one mentioned spinal fluid not getting, or inhibited from getting  through to brain etc etc.  You have to,look,around on the site to find these chats, but they are there when you look. it,s well worth registering with them.  I am feeling annoyed myself today as I saw my Rheumatolgist yesterday for my once yearly check and mentioned my neck as I wanted to get  an x ray done, and all I got was. 'Oh it,s probably just wear and tear '! although he,s agreed to give me anti inflammatories again after taking me off them some years ago (interestingly around the time all this began!) he mentioned Paracetomol,,to which I replied. As my parting shot as I left  'oh I take those every day already as I get a headache from the neck problem!.'  so mad about that, so now lol have to,play it up,to my GP and see if I can get one done via him somehow. so annoying when Drs think they know everything about you, all in 10 minutes once a year!!
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    • Posted

      Hi Gillian.  Sorry about the delay - computer problems............

      So true about being seen and diagnosed in a few minutes.  I realize doctors are under pressure, but so are we when we feel lousy!

      The spinal fluid scenario sounds similar to stenosis causing pressure on nerves.  Again, I remember the PT I saw telling me that I couldn't possibly feel well the way my neck was so rigid.  An anti-inflammatory like Advil does give a little relief, as do some of the creams that heat up and relieve pain.  I'm sorry to not remember exactly what you said before, since there were quite a few replies yesterday.  Did you mention having congestion as well?  I just have such a hard time trying to make sense of things - am I feeling dizzy because of a circulatory problem, vestibular problem, allergy problem, hormonal deficiency, eye issue, or what?  Most all of those things have been ruled out, but the neck stiffness persists, making me suspect that as the major culprit.

      When your doctor said you have wear and tear, that says to me he's referring to discs in your neck.  At any rate, I wish you luck, and hope that you feel better soon.

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    • Posted

      Hi yes. Thanks for sympathy ,I just needed a rant after yesterday, and as you know it,s all so tiring as well plus  I have to do it on public transport, so a 10 Minute consultation is a 4 1/2 hour round trip, not because it,s miles away just a convoluted journey. And they always run late etc etc.  It,s all 'Hurry Up and Wait" as one of my friends in the U.S used to,say!!

      I also hear you on the different problems that it,could be, I,have thought about,all of those, and taken various supplements for them.  interestingly I cannot tolerate antihistamines now when before all this I could.  they make m feel really worse, makes you wonder why eh? I now, just this summer, took a homeopathic remedy, just "Mixed Pollens' for,the tree pollens we get here. they worked fine and no side effects.  

      yes I am sure the wear and tear is the discs.  I have had neck,discomfort etc for ages, even before all this, but stopped having my neck,adjusted by Oseopaths years ago,too so don t think I can blame them.   I didn,t mention congestion. But I have it every morning , bit I can clear it up with a few good blows, and if bad I use a sea,salt wash.  I have however, since all this started, given up most dairy, (except real butter!) and only have goat.s,cheese which isn.t as bad as cows for congestion.

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    • Posted

      I visited the doctor today. My blood tests came out perfect.

      I forgot to mention in my original post that the last time I went to the doctor, I was diagnosed with a UTI. I've been taking antibiotics for it. I told the doctor that although I the vertigo had gone away, I still felt dizzy. She told me that the UTI may have been causing the vertigo and that my body is possible still recovering from the infection. 

      So, now I'm a bit hopeful that in time my body will recover. I had no idea that a UTI could cause so many problems. 

      But yeah. I'm really hoping that this is the cause of my dizziness.

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    • Posted

      Hello again Gillian,

      Hurry up and Wait for sure!  I will be back in that routine next week with seeing an Allergist and Gynecologist for my hormone pellets.  I really do question whether allergies can cause alot of this dizziness, because when you head is so congested - ears feel full, and that "vacuum" in your head seems off  -just sort of makes sense to feel off-balance.  Throw in an issue with a eustachian tube that the otoneurotologist told me that he suspected that I was dealing with.  He called it a Patulous Eustachian tube, meaning that it stays open.  Also said there is really nothing to be done for it, and wished me good luck.  Great huh? 

      The neck issues causing problems makes sense as well, seeing how when mine gets really tight/sore, I experience tinnitus with hearing loss and that "fuzzy feeling."

      You mentioned having problems taking antihistamines.  I have had problems in the past with decongestants making me feel spaced out and faint.  I don't know - just hoping that maybe an allergy triggers some of this stuff and that I can avoid the allergen.

      You definitely have my sympathy, as do the others dealing with feeling like their equilibrium is off.  There just has to be some common thread!

       

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  • Posted

    Good morning Vanessa! I have BPPV and the Epley did not work on me ,which needs to be done by a professional to do it right! Did he do a Hall Pike where they tipped you back and tuned your head to either side to see which side is the affected area? It's only at that point guided by the spins and nystagmus in your eyes they can tell you if you have BPPV . When that is established they will do the Epley which is a bigger process that movies the crystals to their rightful place! It made me very ill when they did it (3 times ) decided enough was enough and sending me to a specialist in this area (sydney) 1246 km away ! As you can tell I'm in Aussie! Anyway all the syptoms are there to press ahead and blow off the anxiety as vertigo invites anxiety as its party trick! If it's neck , vestibular nerves or BPPV ( floating cysrtals ) you need to find a balance specialist and blow off the GP's that know jack and put your efforts to the people that specialise in this ! If it goes on too long MRI would eliminate other nasties ! Keep us posted as its the top 10 most miss diagnosed conditions and everyone here good chance had to fight for a correct diagnoses ! Best of luck! Donna 
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    • Posted

      None of my doctors have performed anything on me. One of them said I had nystagmus because she saw the movement in my eyes, but she just told me to look up BPPV on the internet. That was all. I am going back again to ask if she can do it, or if she can refer me to any specialists. 

      Thank you, Donna! 

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    • Posted

      If she didn't do the Hall Pike first up diagnosing BPPV don't bother going back to her ! Head to a doctor that specialises in Vertigo ! All types of vertigo so specialises in Vertigo - where are you from as someone might pick this conversation up and direct you to someone - yes mediation etc to help with the anxiety plus if you have BPPV you should be in meds with instructions as to improve the syptoms - grrrrrrrr to that doctor sending you off like that ! 
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    • Posted

      Yes Vanessa you have to be pushy I am afraid, learned that one over the years!  I don,t,know what type,of drs you have seen, but I really believe unless your see a Neuro Otologist, you are wasting your time.  there may be, somewhere,,a very rare other Dr who,is clever and interested that would help, but they are like,hens teeth!!  if you are in the U.S. Or even Aussie with a paid medical insurance etc.m aren.t you in a better position to state the type of Specialist you want to see?  I had to,work my around it here in the UK and put up,with seeing ENT,s, Audiologists etc before my GP was lost and I presented him with a print out of a hospital,here that specialised in Neuro, and Otology ,problems. ,Luckily for me I am not too far from London where,it is,,but I believe these otolgists are around the world, butnGP,s Don,t seem to be very aware of it!!
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    • Posted

      In that case she is not qualified enough to tell you anything about your problem! I wouldn't mess bout any more,,just say you have looked it ALL up,on the Internet and the general,concensus is you. NeEd to see a Neuro Otologist who are experienced and qualified in diagnosing with specific tests. (Not just a regular Neurologist by the way as they do not train in the Vestibular area, moresmores he brain olnly okay?)
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