Is This Vertigo? How can I restore my balance?

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Two weeks ago I woke up around 6:35 am. The minute I opened my eyes it looked as if the entire room was spinning. Every time I tried moving my head, the room felt like it was spinning and I would get terribly dizzy but if I laid completely still, I was fine. It was so bad that I couldn't get out of bed and had to call campus security to open the door and help me out of my bed (my bed is lofted). I thought I was fine afterwards so I never went to the doctor. Boy was I wrong. On Monday after I had returned home for Fall Break, I had another episode while laying in the dentist chair during a proceedure which was quite embarrassing since I'm pretty sure I scared the crap out of the dentist and her assistant. Then I had another episode on Thursday morning. Though this one was quick and I was able to walk myself through it this time, ever since then it has left me with this terrible short but sharp reoccuring pain in my left ear and an annoying, foggy and unsteady feeling like I'm on a boat or I'm falling in the opposite direction mainly when I sit or stand still. I experience it also when I'm walking but if I keep walking for a while, it doesn't affect me as much but walking is still a chore. Deciding I had had enough of this, I went to the campus nurse who reffered me to a clinic. So I went there, got seen by a physician whose diagnosis seemed to be all over the place. She cleaned and looked into my ears and said that she couldn't see any signs of infection but said that it looked like I had some fluid in my tubes which she said could be caused by allergies and prscribed Flonase which I already took for a majority of my life (I suffered from sinuses and terrible allergies as a child and still do but not nearly as bad as before.) She also suggested that I take my Zyrtec daily which I had already been taking but not on a daily basis. I know it's only been six days but I've been doing everything that she's suggested and so far I'm seeing no results. The brain fog is gone as well as the ear pain which is good (It's only been gone for a day) but I would very much like to get my balance back to normal as this boat rocking feeling is starting to worry me a bit and become very troublesome as I often get nervous when crossing the street on the way to classes. Did I have a bout of Vertigo or something? I've heard unsteadiness can sometimes follow after having an attack. The physician also suggested trying the Epley Manuever which I haven't tried yet as I'd like to do it under the super vision of someone else or a doctor just in case I get dizzy again. Is there anything I can do to get my balance back on track? And also should I sleep with my head elevated? I'd really hate to feel like this for the rest of my life.

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  • Posted

    What you describe sounds very like BPPV. Its where crystals in the ear canal break off and settle in a place that upsets the delicate balance mechanism. Doing the epley manoeuvre moves these crystals so that they don't cause the spinning but unfortunately the after effects of BPPV can last a considerable time. I had it in December 2012 and have had a couple of episodes since and still find that I'm woozy and off balance a lot but it does improve with time.

    Definitely give the epley a go, if you try it without a Dr then have someone with you because it almost always causes rotational vertigo while you're doing it.

    Good luck and I hope you feel better real soon.

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    • Posted

      Thank you. The campus nurse said that as well but due to not being able to see in my ears she didn't want to chance misdiagnosing me which is why she referred me over to a physician who said the same thing but seemed very unsure about it.
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  • Posted

    Uh, considering how many different things can cause or are related to vertigo I am really surprised that your doctor prescribed you allergy medicine and sent you on your way.

    When mine started they seemed like isolated incidents and were really, really bad. After several weeks they became more frequent but much shorter in length and I spent 10 months going from specialist to specialist.

    Could be your equilibrium, your ears, your brain (vestibular migraines, not saying you have a tumor!) or skeletal ( vertebrae misaligned and putting pressure on the brain) can you give us an idea of any additional symptoms or problems even if they started before or afterwards? It may narrow down the array of specialists to set up appointments with.

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    • Posted

      Before the first attack I felt fine which is why I was so freaked out when I woke up the following morning. The only thing that I remember happening that I thought was a cause of this was my right ear had this gross swampy murky feeling to it like I had soap in it. That lasted for about 15 minutes then went away. Now, I haven't had another attack thankfully but I'm stuck with this unsteady feeling mainly when I stand or sometimes walk. It feels like I'm walking up hill or being pulled backwards or am about to tip over. That's the only thing I'm dealing with right now which is the main problem.
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    • Posted

      Oh! One more thing I forgot to mention is the doctor had to clean out my ears before looking in them. She said that I had a really bad wax build up
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    • Posted

      Hi Aubree, Im afraid there are so many reasons for being dizzy its very much trial and error.  You need to have some tests, an MRI and blood test and speak to a neurologist.  My diagnosis for my dizziness took over twelve months.  It was very stressful and Ive now been dizzy for three years.  Ive got silent migraine but thats not to say you have.  Its very common to have dizzy issues which I was surprised about, and its a matter of moving along the conveyor belt, ruling things out.  Ask to see a specialist.  I hope you feel better soon.
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    • Posted

      Aubree, based on your description and the lack of other symptoms (sore neck, migraines, swelling anywhere etc) I would recommend you make an appointment with an ENT. They typically examine you and have an audiologist do hearing tests first but if those come back normal they do additional tests like an ENG that tests your balance in relation to your ears, etc.

      I think that should be your first step. If all tests come back normal they may refer you to a neurologist or another specialist but based on your symptoms, I think that is your best bet.

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  • Posted

    Hi Aubree you should definitely  do some Epley Manuevers. Hopefully you will be in the group that wake up one day and it is all gone (that's what my first ENT said but  in my case did not go away.)  I also have to balance carefully after the dentist chair.  Good Luck.

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  • Posted

    UPDATE! 

    Today I had a MUCH better day! I wasn't so foggy and was much more interactive during classes today. I still have the swaying feeling but it's very faint and I almost feel back to my normal self. I sat COMFORTABLY at my desk to do my homework for once! I'm crossing my fingers in hopes that it's finally going away!

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  • Posted

    UPDATE

    Nevermind on that other one. I thought I was good until I decided to lean back to take a photo and got a few seconds of dizziness again which set me way back and knocked my balance back off. It seems to only bother me when I either lean my head back like to look at the ceiling or stretch or lean backwards. Another thing I failed to mention was that two days before the first attack I was doing bench pressing in a wellness class Thursday morning. I only lifted to 50 as I didn't want to push myself since I'm not used to lifting weights while laying down on my back. I didn't get injured or anything though and other than being insanely sore the next day, I was fine until Saturday.

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  • Posted

    Hi aubree, have none of the medical staff you have seen mentioned Labyrinthitis? It's an inner ear infection caused usually by a virus (but can be bacterial too).

    Both my mum and dad have had it. I remember when I was little my mum had to take to her bed with it as the room wouldn't stop spinning! So that could could be what is causing your vertigo. It can give you headaches, ear ache, blurred vision too, plus some other symptoms.

    Worth investigating I think. However it should clear in a few weeks or so (although if it's bacterial then you might need antibiotics).

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    • Posted

      No, they did a poor job and as slow as they were getting to me, the physician seemed in a hurry to get me out of there. She just said it's my allergies and recomended taking my Zyrtec daily which hasn't done anything for me. I have started having headaches but I'm not sure if that's due to it being  timing of the month plus stress  (I've been so worried with this and school lately) AND the fact that I slept flat on my face with my fist in my face lol.....Yeah I'm a hard sleeper, but I seem to be doing a bit better today  my balance is pretty much back to normal (I just have trouble walking near ditches or dips in the street). I have a few moments where I get a little dizzy but instead of lasting for an hour or 30 minutes, it's reduced down to a few seconds. 
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    • Posted

      Well that's good you are not so dizzy now. I still reckon it's an inner ear infection, which by the sounds of it is slowly clearing up. Hopefully you will be back to normal in a week or so. I'm on medication which is causing me dizziness and headaches and it's not pleasant!!

      Hope you feel better soon. xx

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    • Posted

      Thank you. So far I've been feeling pretty good. I'm still sleeping with my head elevated which seems to be working well for me and I'm not as wobbly and can just about walk and sit normally again! My ear still hurts a little bit the pain is not as bad as it was before.
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