Dizzy spell and fell over getting out of bed. Constant dizziness since

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Hello

Just over a year ago, I got out of bed, was incrediably dizzy and fell over.  It felt like I had been spinning around.

Since then I get a swaying feeling, like on a boat, whenever I walk.

I do suffer with awful anxiety and this is what my GP puts it down to.

It is ruining my life- I have got myself into a state and now cannot leave the house by myself.

Any ideas on what is going on?

My GP seems to put any symptom I have down to dizziness.

Thank you for reading this.

Liz xx

 

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  • Posted

    Liz hope your ok.

    Your symptoms depend on how long you've had it for, but you have to try and distinguish between anxiety and possibly ENT.

    If it is ENT and you have only had it in the short term, vestibular rehabilitation exercise can be very effective, but if you have had these symptoms for more than a couple of weeks then you should seek further investigation or refferal by your doctor to ENT.

    Jay

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  • Posted

    Hi Lizzie, it is true that anxiety can cause dizziness due to tension in your neck. However, the symptoms you describe - especially feeling as if you're walking on a moving surface - sound more like real vertigo.

    I know it can be hard if you're in the UK, but you really need to pressure your GP into referring you to an ENT specialist. He can't legally refuse a referral if you insist (though many try to wriggle out of referrals due to cost targets).

    You can't get diagnosed on a forum, but your symptoms definitely fit in with a vestibular (inner ear) disorder of some kind. These disorders, though not dangerous, can be a complete pest. I know this as I'm currently in the middle of my second attack of BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) which is what most people on these vertigo boards seem to be suffering from. Another possibility is that you had a viral infection that affected the nerves in your inner ear a year ago. However, you can only get diagnosed by an ENT specialist or a neurologist.

    In the meantime, try not to let it get the upper hand. My latest attack of BPPV is now entering its third month, so I totally sympathise with the walking-on-a-boat thing, and understand how this can make you lose confidence. I'm 72 now, and I too was scared to go out for the first week or so after this started. However, I live alone so can't afford to lose my independence. In fact, many people (including me) find that the unpleasant sensations get slightly better after a few minutes of slow walking outside. I think this is probably more true if it's BPPV.

    Try and force yourself to go out for a few minutes on your own - even if it's only to walk to the end of the street. Take all sensible precautions, like wearing suitable shoes, not walking too near the kerb etc. and walk slowly. That way, if you do fall over you won't hurt yourself seriously.

    However, this doesn't replace getting yourself seen by an ENT doctor or neurologist. I'd start with the ENT. Good luck and sympathy from a fellow sufferer!

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    • Posted

      Lizzie - just as a PS to my latest post. Don't worry about walking down the street like a drunken sailor! I've steadied up a bit now, but for the first couple of weeks of this attack I was weaving all over the pavement. I felt a bit embarrassed but have fortunately reached the age where I no longer feel I need to worry about what other people think. If they disapprove of what they believe is my drunkenness, it's their problem not mine!razz

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    • Posted

      Hello Lily

      Thank you!

      I have been to a couple of psychiatrists and they say the "walking on a boat" is classic anxiety.

      I have been brain storming to think of a trigger and the esisode when I got out of bed feeling spinning seems to the trigger.

      It ws  year ago now in January.

      The funny thing is, I can have a wiggle to the radio no problem!

      It's just walking I have the problem with.

      I shall go back and ask to be referred.

      Thank you xx

       

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    • Posted

      Hmm... I suppose it could all be put down to anxiety. In my teens and early 20s I sometimes went through near-panic attacks when I felt I couldn't walk properly, so I can see the connection. However, that doesn't compare at all with the sensation of walking on a moving surface that I get when suffering from attacks of BPPV. The two are entirely different for me. I never actually fell over during the panic attacks, just felt as if I was going to. I've had several falls during vertigo attacks, because it literally felt as if a giant had pulled the ground from under me without warning.

      I have to say your morning episode, when you got out of bed, experienced spinning and immediately fell over, sounds far more like genuine vertigo than the dizziness produced by anxiety. You may, of course, be suffering from both. Vertigo can certainly generate anxiety, which can then bring on dizzy spells. The two conditions can easily feed into each other.

      I get the bit about being able to dance to the radio too, but I don't think that automatically means your problem is purely psychological, even if there is an element of anxiety involved. I find it much easier to walk around at home than out in the street in attacks of vertigo. I suspect this is because there's often a visual component in vertigo, and being in a more limited space provokes less visual interference.

      When I had my last attack of BPPV I was living on high ground in an open suburban area, where I could see long distances to the horizon. Everything in the distance seemed to dance about at every step (a bit like watching a video someone has filmed on an iPhone) and I'd get really sea-sick when I was outside. I think this current attack is actually worse than the first one, but I don't find walking in the street as bad, as I now live in a much more built-up urban area, without any long vistas.

      Even if you are suffering from anxiety, your doctors shouldn't be putting all your symptoms down to this without investigating first.

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    • Posted

      Now there's a thought... I must confess I never hesitate to play the old lady card these days when I think it'll get me what I want. Well, there have to be some advantages to getting old, don't there?twisted

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  • Posted

    Sounds like how my BPPV started. See an ENT.
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    • Posted

      your GP,is  not in the  to diagnose a vestibular complaint. They will be only able,to guess. Therefore,,you are perfecly within your rights to say you want (Not ask) to be seen by an ENT. If the word 'anxiety' comes up,at all, you respond to that by saying it,is the 'Vertigo Symptoms' that is causing this, not the other way around! And btw, Vertigo is actually a description of dizziness of all kinds, it is not of itself a condition (Nor anything to,do with heights). You can have Vertigo symptoms due ,to BPPV, or Menieres, or Mal de Barquement, or Nystagmus,and the long list of things that cause a feeling of .disequilibrium. So just make an appointment, go back, maybe see a different gp in the practice, point out that this BEGAN a year ago, a d you have motmhad a normal,day since then. Sorry to,point out the obvious but i'm afraid you have to do this nowadays to get thru to GP's. Think,of,them like a conduit to get you to who you Need to see.   A good GP,would in fact do,this anyway. Let us know how you get on ok?

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    • Posted

      Hi Lizzie,

      I hope you'll take all this on board rather than just resigning yourself to being fobbed off. We're not nagging you about getting an ENT referral, just trying to make sure you get the correct treatment. We're all on your side. Just because you suffer from anxiety, it doesn't mean you can't have a purely physical condition too. Suppose - for the sake of argument - you started vomiting blood? Would your GP and psychiatrist just say stomach ulcers can be associated with anxiety and leave it at that?

      Don't be intimidated by your GP. He's legally obliged to give you a referral if you insist. Think of yourself as the customer and him as the supplier. It's easier for me, I know. I used to be a nurse so I take no prisoners when dealing with doctors.twisted

      You go girl - and get well again! And stay in touch.

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    • Posted

      Hi everyonne

      I really appreciate your help.

      Im really fed up with the GP saying everything is anxiety.

      I forgot to mention the dizy spell that made me fall over.  I thought Id had too much to drink the night before!

      I will see a different GP as I cannot continue like this.

      I certainly will keep in touch.

      BTW, is there any test I can do at home?

      Much love

      Liz xx

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    • Posted

      It sounds like vertigo but definitely have it checked. I saw an ENT and he told me I have vestibular neuritis and it will go away in a month. I was dizzy and getting panic attacks out of no where. Im taking Claritin now which and er doctor suggested and flonase nasal spray. It really helps. Just started lexapro for the anxiety and Im feeling much better. I do wonder though as Im 40 is this perimenopause. Ive been researching and many women suffer these exact symptoms when they begin this. And ive noticed monthly changes. Whatever it is I wish it would go away as Im sure we all do. Try to keep active or itll take longer to adjust. There are some great vestibular exercises on youtube as well to help regain your balance. Hang in there...youre not alone by far.💕

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    • Posted

      You can do the Dix-Hallpike test, Lizzie. This is specific for BPPV. Sit up on your bed, legs stretched out in front of you and your head bent backwards and turned to one side. Lie down quickly holding your head in this position. If there's no reaction on one side, sit up (slowly) and wait a few minutes before trying it again with your head turned to the other side.

      If it's BPPV, you'll get a brief attack of violent spinning when your head is turned to one side or the other (or even both sides if you're unlucky enough to have it in both ears). There's usually a delay of up to about 5 secs before the spinning starts and it only lasts max 10 secs. The side which gives you vertigo is the affected ear.

      If you have someone with you, you can ask them to stand at the side of the bed to which you're turning your head and look at your eyes. And don't try to focus your eyes on anything - look up and let the spinning happen. If they're quick enough, they should notice the classic flickering movement of your eyes, which is called nystagmus. If it's very violent, you may also feel your eyes moving of their own accord yourself.

      Don't worry about doing this - it'll make you feel a bit queer for a few seconds, but the vertigo from doing the test is very short-lived. Also, as soon as you've established there's a problem you can stop it by turning your head to the opposite side while still lying down.

      Afterwards, take your time sitting up. You'll feel dizzy immediately afterwards (just like you probably do when you sit up in the morning) and may even have another attack of spinning, but it won't last long. Then wait another couple of minutes before getting off the bed, preferably with someone beside you.

      It's my understanding this test will only work if you've got BPPV, which means the crystals in your inner ear have got into the wrong place. However, if it doesn't produce spinning it doesn't mean there's nothing wrong, only that there's another cause for your symptoms - e.g. a virus attacking the vestibular nerve in your inner ear.

      Give it a go and let us know the results.

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    • Posted

      Yes do that. Any GP who says that will be of no help to you whatsoever. It's usually a sign of ignorance regarding vestibular problems! They dont learn that in med school!  There's not really a. Test, you can do at home. But for good info on this i always recommend people,look at the Vestibular Disorders Association website which is very comprehensive on all things dizzy!!

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    • Posted

      Interesting you should mention menopause Becky. I had a very abrupt menopause at age 45 (like all the women in my family) so could pinpoint exactly when it happened. My first attack of vertigo (which was BPPV not vestibular neuritis) started just a couple of weeks later.
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    • Posted

      Don't be scared. You won't do yourself any harm. At worst, you'll just give yourself a very brief attack of vertigo, no worse than the sort of thing you get regularly.

      If you do decide to try it, however, don't move on to the Epley manoeuvre, which may be included in the YouTube video. That's the one where you hang your head over the end of the bed then turn over etc. That one should only be done under medical supervision. The video will probably say you have to hang your head over the back of the bed to do the test, but that isn't necessary. Just take the pillow off the bed first.

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    • Posted

      It was interesting to read about so many women experiencing vertigo with menopause. It really makes me wonder. I just thought Id put it out there because its interesting. Its frustrating when your gp says its sinus, then vertigo, anxiety. Then ent says vestibular neuritis. But after all of these diagnosis i noticed body changes like sore breasts for over a month, my monthly began 2 weeks early..just weird changes so i looked up perimenopause and boom there were so many others with dizziness, vertigo, anxiety. I find ruling out things has helped and understanding whats going on helps control the panic and lessens dizziness. Us women sure do go through a lot in life. No wonder were so strong.😉

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    • Posted

      Hi

      Whilst "Googling" I have come across the Epley.

      I certainly will not try it.

      I must say when I wash my hair in the shower, I bend over, and when I stand upright again, I am really dizzy.

      Does this mean anything do you think?

      x

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    • Posted

      That always happens in BPPV. I'm not sure whether the converse is true, and the fact this happens automatically means you have BPPV, but I suspect it does.

      The vertigo experienced in BPPV is caused when the naturally-occurring crystals in your inner ear have got loose from where they're supposed to be and move about when you perform certain head movements. In BPPV you normally only feel the extreme dizziness during the few seconds they're actually on the move after a head movement - though you tend to feel vaguely sea-sick and unsteady the rest of the time. Once they settle down again - albeit still in the wrong place - the extreme symptoms stop. If the extreme dizziness you feel when standing up straight again only lasts for a matter of seconds, or maximum of a minute, I believe that suggests BPPV.

      I've never had vestibular neuritis (often caused by a virus) but it's my understanding that in this case, extreme dizziness can strike at any time rather than being related to specific movements like bending, straightening up, lying down, getting out of bed etc.

      Regardless of whether or not it's BPPV, what it almost certainly means is that you have some kind of vestibular problem that needs looking into.

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    • Posted

      Hello

      Oh my!  That is wonderful to know!

      I feel I may be getting somewhere now.

      I will certainly go the GP, I will write everthing down as to not forget.

      You've been absolutely wonderful.  I really appreciate all the help Ive received today.

      Thank you

      Best wishes, Liz xx

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