I honestly had never heard of Viral Vertigo until it knocked me flat, literally, and my subsequent visit to my doctor enlightened me on the condition. I then knew exactly what is was, a very nasty virus that I didn’t want. Unfortunately, it didn’t want to let go of me and I battled it for quite a few years. I think I have it under control now because it has been sometime since I have had an episode, so I would like to share a few things that I did to help control/get rid of the problem.
I love the internet, had Google been around at the time I had viral vertigo, I would not have had to struggle so long on my own. Not that my doctor didn’t try to help, he just didn’t have all the answers or options that could have shortened the duration of the disease. I would like to share my experiences with the condition and some information from websites that I liked that shed a little more light on what the disease is.
A website called the International Center for Nutritional Research, Inc or http://www.icnr.com, in an article by Dr. Gerald H. Smith, divided viral vertigo into types.
“There are two basic types of vertigo: objective and subjective. Objective vertigo exists when the external world revolves around the individual. Subjective vertigo manifests when the individual perceives them-self revolving in space. Vertigo is a result of a disturbance of equilibrium. It can be caused by middle ear disease; cranial distortions, dental malocclusion; toxic conditions caused by aspartame, mercury poisoning, silicylates (aspirin), cocaine, alcohol or the antibiotic streptomycin; sunstroke; under-active adrenals, postural hypotension; or toxemia caused by such things as food poisoning or infections (viruses, bacteria or fungi)”
Another website http://www.vestibular.org, the Vestibular Disorders Association listed the types of vertigo a little differently:
“Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis are disorders resulting from an infection that inflames the inner ear or the vestibulo-cochlear nerve (the eighth cranial nerve), which connects the inner ear to the brain. Vertigo, dizziness, and difficulties with balance, vision, or hearing may result.
Infections of the inner ear are usually viral; less commonly, the cause is bacterial. Although the symptoms of bacterial and viral infections may be similar, the treatments are very different, so proper diagnosis by a physician is essential. Such inner ear infections are not the same as middle ear infections, which are the type of bacterial infections common in childhood affecting the area around the eardrum.
Neuritis (inflammation of the nerve) affects the vestibular branch of the vestibulo-cochlear nerve, resulting in dizziness or vertigo but no change in hearing. The term neuronitis is also used. Labyrinthitis (inflammation of the labyrinth) occurs when an infection affects both branches of the nerve, resulting in hearing changes as well as dizziness or vertigo.
An inner ear viral infection may be the result of a systemic viral illness (one affecting the rest of the body, such as infectious mononucleosis or measles); or the infection may be confined to the labyrinth or the vestibulo-cochlear nerve. Usually, only one ear is affected.
Symptoms of neuritis can be mild or severe, ranging from subtle dizziness to a violent spinning sensation (vertigo). They can also include nausea, vomiting, unsteadiness and imbalance, difficulty with vision, and impaired concentration. Sometimes the symptoms can be so severe that they affect the ability to sit up, stand, or walk. Labyrinthitis may produce the same symptoms, along with tinnitus (ringing or noises in the ear) and/or hearing loss.
The onset is usually very sudden, with severe dizziness developing abruptly during routine daily activities. In other cases, the symptoms are present upon awakening in the morning. After a period of gradual recovery that may last several weeks, some people are completely free of symptoms. Others have chronic dizziness, if the virus has damaged the vestibular nerve.”
My Vertigo appeared suddenly and without warning. I don’t remember even feeling sick but when it hit I had instant vertigo, falling on the floor with nausea, and throwing up. My doctor gave me the Antivert medicine but it really didn’t help and it made me drowsy. So not only did I have vertigo, but now I was too tired to do anything about it.
My first go round with vertigo lasted over 3 months and yes I was able to get around but driving was a hair raising experience because I never knew if I would have another sudden attack, also walking a straight line was very difficult. It finally disappeared and I thought I was free from it.
Now this is where I might sound a little controversial, but I really didn’t make this connection until my second bout of vertigo. I realized that my first episode happened 1 week after my very first flu shot, because the second episode appeared 1 week after my second flu shot only one year later. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Unfortunately the second episode became a rather permanent condition not like the first one. I couldn’t seem to get rid of it. It could appear when I was sick or just moving my head wrong. It was not a pleasant thing as anyone who has experienced it can tell you. I just didn’t know what to do. Finally, I talked to my chiropractor about it. He told me that the cochlear had probably detached and were intermittently playing havoc with the balancing sensors of the cochlear chamber. He had had the same condition and whenever he felt an episode of vertigo coming on, especially while driving he would pound his head hard against the head rest. That sounds so bizarre I know but it really worked. I was able to control the vertigo. He also had me really focus on one spot in the room whenever I had vertigo and not give into the urge to close my eyes but fight through the spinning until it stopped. This helped as well. It didn’t clear up the vertigo but it did help to control it. Finally, I was told about a great clinic on hearing and balance. They gave me exercises to do that I feel really helped me turn the corner. It was through constant repetition of those exercise that I feel finally helped me to be free of vertigo.
I will explain the the vertigo exercise in my next blog.