Learning To Deal With Vertigo!

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.


49 thoughts on “Learning To Deal With Vertigo!

  1. Hello. I wanted to tell you that I too first got dizzy two weeks after a flu shot. I have heard of others who had this same experience. It appeared to be vestibular neuritis, which is linked with various viruses. I had flu-like feelings at the onset of the dizziness. At nine months, I am still experiencing dizziness with movement and cannot work. I have reported this adverse effect to the CDC. I suggest you do the same. You don’t have to be sure of the connection, but it lets them know that there might be cause for concern.

    good luck!

  2. This was very helpful. I have been experiencing Vertigo for over three weeks. ….it started about 4 weeks after my very first flu shot.

  3. Thanks for all your comments! These steps saved my life. I no longer suffer from any effects of vertigo.

  4. My son who is 4 developed vertigo 2 weeks after his seasonal flu vaccine. Symptoms lasted one day and after glucocorticoid treatment was initiated. He was seen by an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist who diagnosed him with post-viral vestibular neuritis (labyrinthitis). He had not had any preceding viral type illness in months prior to onset of symptoms. Relationship to flu vaccine?

  5. My son who is 4 developed vertigo 2 weeks after his seasonal flu vaccine. Symptoms lasted one day and after glucocorticoid treatment was initiated. He was seen by an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist who diagnosed him with post-viral vestibular neuritis (labyrinthitis). He had not had any preceding viral type illness in months prior to onset of symptoms. Relationship to flu vaccine?

  6. My son who is 4 developed vertigo 2 weeks after his seasonal flu vaccine. Symptoms lasted one day and resolved completely. He was treated for vertigo with glucocorticoids (steroids). He was seen by an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist who diagnosed him with post-viral, vestibular neuritis (labyrinthitis). He had not had any preceding viral type illness in months prior to onset of symptoms. Perhaps the vertigo is related to the flu vaccine he received 2 weeks prior?

  7. It sounds very similar to my symptoms after I had my first flu shot. Is this his first? If it is I would consider using something more natural in the future such as elderberry. If it happens again it seems to become a permanent condition, anyway it did for me. Good luck.

  8. I was diagnosed with viral vertigo three weeks ago. Still struggling with it. Had various symptoms prior that I thought were insignigicant i.e. sudden pain in inner left ear that lasted no more than a minute. Last week I had right knee cleanout, then sudden chest pain, drenching sweat. went to er where they kept me for four days giving me hepaing shots in stomach but not really saying blood clots were the issue because i sure would have thought heart attack. I am 43 and female. I have been home now for three days and now have vertigo, fever, fatigue, nausea and more than fatigue i guess just extreme exhaustion. My pulse was 48 my bp was 76/41 when i went into the hospital. my normal is 62bpm and 110/76. I also have asthma so that is what i was diagnosed with!! there was no wheezing, some slight shortness of breath but not like a normal asthma attack.
    I was fine till the vertigo hit, now i cant do anything. Any idieas?

  9. Sorry, it has taken so long to respond to your comments. I am sorry for all your health problems! I hope you have been seeking medical advice. I can’t really give you any help with what is going on with your body right now but I can give some ideas for helping with your vertigo and asthma. Please read my blog on the viral vertigo exercises I have there. If you you do those exercises every morning and night for 10 minutes I know you will start to feel a difference. On the asthma front have you ever done breathing exercises for it? If not may I suggest 20 minutes every day of blowing a feather across your table. Try to do it in one breath, even when you don’t feel like you have any air left try to push a little more out with your diaphragm. It will make you light headed so do it sitting down. Let me know how you do in the future. Best of luck!

  10. Wow, nice read man. Thanks for sharing! However I’m having trouble with ur rss feed. Does anyone else have problems with the rss?

  11. i too got a flu shot and one week later vertigo and 6 months later im still miserable…i may take my case to an attny. no one needs to suffer from this …especially when the govt covers all problems and doesnt address the facts that they may have known this vaccine causes problems…they are accountable for insisting on getting these shots!!!!!

  12. Very interesting post thank you for writing it I have added your site to my favorites and will check back 🙂 By the way this is a little off topic but I really like your web page layout.

  13. i too got vertigo after flu shot and pnumonia also..my world has just been turned around and i have been ill with this for 7 months since nov. i have thoughts of suicide because i just cant stand the dizziness much longer…anyone who ever thinks about a flu shot is crazy…

  14. I got vertigo about 8 hours after my flu shot 3 years ago, after that I never got the shot again till today… praying it doesn’t set off a vertigo issue. I was like most of you dealing with it and going to doctors.. a specialist (ENT) but my family doctor figured it out. Said I had Meniere’s so gave me duretics and it worked, if you don’t take them it comes back.. trust me I thought I was cured and stoped taking them. go Google Meinere’s and you will be shocked that it could be you. Good luck!

  15. My husband had the flu shot a week ago
    3 days later he developed severe sudden vertigo
    He is now in the 7th day of this and can’t stand up without falling.
    I am considering legal action.
    How do you prove that this is what caused this.
    He went to an ENT on Friday and he said it is possibly an adverse
    Reaction to the shot.
    He takes the flu shot every year but this year the vaccine included the h1n1
    In it.
    Sign me very upset to see my husband so sick.

  16. This happened to me too. Flu shot, then less than a week later I had serious vertigo. Took months to fully clear up.

  17. The type of vertigo you are talking about seems to not be from an infection but from something called “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). There are several special tests to screen for this condition and several maneuvers that can be performed to fix it. It is caused by crystals of the inner ear that get stuck in the canals causing dizziness. When your chiropractor spoke of hitting his head, the reason it worked it probably because it dislodged the crystals and they moved back into place. There is an easier, less violent treatment called the dixx-hallpike maneuver that consists of head movements that will help get these crystals back in place. Some medications (ototoxic meds) and pathogens can also harm hail cells in the ear which cause vertigo as well, but this does not sound like the origin of your symptoms. In any case, if this happens to you again, you need not bang your head against anything but go to a physical therapy clinic or vestibular center and try treating for BPPV.

  18. I am so sorry for your husband. I really don’t know what legal action could be taken, especially when doctors don’t believe that it is a possibility. I have a friend who had the same reaction and talked to her doctor about it and he said that wasn’t possible. So let me know if you every find out anything. But meanwhile have him try the exercises.

  19. My sixteen year old daughter had her first flu shot Thursday, she developed vertigo, diagnosed as vestibular neuritis Monday (4 days later), and its getting worse. I’m worried, everything I read says weeks, months, years possibly. Even though her doctor said it usually goes away in a few days to a couple of weeks. Can’t go to school, finals next week, been training daily since August for crew, that’s gone. Can’t stand up straight or hold head still. Hearing hasn’t been but , might be affected? Certain it was flu shot, picture of health up till then. Anything we can do? Feel horrible and helpless.

  20. I had the flu shot on Nov. 2, 2010, 6 day later I developed severe vertigo. My doctor did some examinations on me and told me I got a labyrinthitis caused by virus. I toke Meclizine and laid down on bed for 7 days before I went back to work.
    One week later I found my both ears are sensitive to sound and feel pains sometime. I went to see a doctor on call, he checked both sides of my ear canal by his eyes and told me he didn’t see any problem.
    Now, more than two months after flu shot, I am still feeling ear sensitive and pain sometime. What should I do? I started to take some multivitamin b complex, B12 and Coenzyme Q10 one week ago and believe those drugs will protect my ear nerve cells.

  21. Super-Duper website! I am loving it!! Will arrive back once more – taking you feeds also, Thanks.
    Hello. Fantastic career. I didn’t expect this on a Wednesday. This is a good story. Thanks!

  22. Hi Rob,
    So sorry to hear about your daughter! I know how horrible it is, I have had first hand experience. I have been away from blogging for a while and I see you commented in January. That has probably been long enough to start the exercises that I explain in detail on my blog. They work believe me and what’s more they give you hope for being able to control it. Please have her try them and tell her that at first it will really make her sick to her stomach but not to give up. I still use them when I have a cold, for some reason it seems to come back then, I am sure because colds effect your ears and your equilibrium. Good luck!

  23. I too experienced vertigo for the first time in my life 4 weeks after my first flu shot at age 51. I always said to myself that I did not believe in getting a flu shot. I did not trust it and now I am just shocked that I did not make the connection until now a few months later when discussing vertigo with someone else who suffers from this condition. I will NEVER again get a flu shot. It has been over a month now and am just starting to finally feel that my vertigo is going away I hope for good.

  24. exactly which exercises are you talking about for the vertigo that worked for you? Ive seen several kinds and dont know which you used..thank you!

  25. I have suffered from Vertigo for 21 years now, since October 1990. I was reading the blog and for the first time I am wondering if it is possible it came from a flu shot. I had one in the summer of 1990 but this is few months later so I never connected it to it and still not convinced. Although, I am very much against them and would never have one again. I had a minor soar throat and woke up with severe Vertigo. It lasted a week and went completely away. I went out, thinking I was fine. In two days I woke up with it again, very severe. Had to lay in bed for another week. It went away again for two days. It came again and it just did not go away. I was in bed for months, did not work for a year. Sleeping sitting up for a year 🙁 It saved me that I flew to LA and stayed for 2 months in warm weather where I got much better (the filght was very difficult though). Although I don’t have an attack all the time, if my head has preassure, like if I get a cold or if I am in a high altitude my balance is off. One time I went to the Eiffel Tower and had to run down cuz I told my friend it was moving. I am so sensitive to any movement. I moved from my cold country to live in Los Angeles and have lived there for 13 years. I always felt like 50-70%, always had to be careful not to look up, down or to the sides fast. Sleeping with many pillows. I was able to train myself into excersising but I cannot go on a treadmill. Then one day I found a woman that works with the body and all she did was put two fingers underneath my skull, where the neck and skull meet. She had me lay down on her fingers. I was so stressed but decided I am going to trust her and just let go. I got a lot of pain and stings right up to my head (it was like I was bruised, the pain was so intense) and after wards I got really light headed and sensitive and scared for a few minutes. I felt how the blood stream came into my head, i felt like something that had been blocked was opened. I became so good, I was able to look down and up and to the side, I couldn’t believe it. I kept being careful about not going on a treadmill or anything that moves though but what a relief. But In October 2010 I got a flu and I have had these stings in my ear once in a while and I have been dealing with Vertigo again 🙁 I am not in LA to go see the woman now and like anyone who has dealt with this I get scared and panic attack can occur. But I always carry Valium and that is the only thing that helps and reduces the symptoms (supposedly people get hooked on this but I don’t at all, I hate taking it and only do so if I have to – it only makes you sleepy). I noticed though, even when I had my good period, I had a problem being in closed environment with many people. All of a sudden I could feel like things were caving in on me. Now I have been having a rough time for 7 months. I have some good days and I am functioning but sometimes I have to stay home and can’t go out. I have not tried these manovers on youtube nor have a allowed my doctor to do it to me cuz I can never have my head lowerd so much and turned. 3 years I discovered I also have Mal de debarquement. You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mal_de_debarquement — I have to travel a lot for work and if I go on a plain or train or drive for a long time the symptoms come. I have to take Valium during the travel and then rest for a day. I was 23 years old when I got Vertigo. I was an athlete, I was never afraid of anyting, I was sort of a daredevil. This completely changed me and how I had to live my life. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. They say it can be a number of things that cause Vertigo. In my case I think it is a combination of things. I think that I must have a damage in my inner ear, but the lack of blood flow to my head and neck and shoulder (stress or working on computer) does not help. I am goint to try to find someone who can work on opening up the blood flow to my head again and also see if it has anyting to do with the spinal vertibrae 1 and 2 being out of alignment (noticed that after doing some research in the last couple of days). This is something I found while researching and I would like to look into:
    To all you sufferers out there I feel your pain. Try have someone work on your neck and shoulders and spine. It worked for me once, I am hoping it will again. Wish you all the best… <3

  26. Hi Kris how do I get onto your blog about vertigo, I would like some info about what you did to cure yourself. I am only into my first week and it is driving me crazy, thanks.

  27. hello to all ,particularly Kris, I don’t know how to blog or where to read yours, I’m very interested in exercises . My symptoms are nor true vertigo as I understand it, i’m just unbalanced and nauseated and unable to stand still, moving around is no problem, as long as I have some support even a finger on something soliid I’m fine when standing still .I’ve just attended a tai chi class and had to sit down because of leg pain and no support. I will try to reconnect with this site later

  28. further to my last entry, for me there was no association with a flu shot, and I am blaming the introduction of viral labrynthitis to hearing aids , which I was trialing before this vertigo struck. My self diagnosis is Memiers Disease. I am having some success with doing this exercise : sit on side of bed breath deeply relax yourself, turn hear to right approx 45%
    breath out, fall to the left,bringing the back of the head into contact with the bed or pillow, lay still approx 20-30 seconds repeat on other side, three timeby three times a day.so far so good two days without imbalance.Mauzi

  29. Thanks for all your information! I was searching for associations between vertigo and the flu shot. This last vaccination was the 3rd time I had one in the last three years, and the only time I had a reaction to it. It happened almost 24 hours after I had the shot. Sudden and violent vertigo, lasting about 30 minutes followed by vomiting (probably a result of feeling like I was going to be slung off the planet!) and then the whole episode happened again — this lasted about 2 hours. Then I slept for about 3 hours. So far, it’s been almost 2 weeks and it hasn’t happened again. Here’s hoping it never comes back! Think in the future, however, I will avoid the flu vaccine. (I have never had any symptoms relating to vertigo in my life prior to this shot. I am 50.)

  30. I got vertigo two weeks ago while driving on the highway. Thought it was the wind. I was going golfing, played one hole and had to leave, I was ready to be sick to my stomach. I should not have driven home. I was sick to my stomach as soon as I arrived home. The vertigo was so severe that I had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. There they checked me for stroke, which can have the same symptom.
    I have since been going to the chiropractor, acupuncturist and even tried ear conning. My naturopath gave me some vertigo heel which is a homeopathic remedy. I am feeling much better. I have returned to work half days, because I am still very tired. The doctor said it was a virus and I believe it because I am dragging myself to do things. But at least I am mobile. Every day is better.

  31. Got my flu shot monday sept 26 2011 that saturday was in er couldnt breath felt outta myself. That following monday I had went to my primary dr they said slite bronchitis and gave me prescription for zpack, I took my first dose on tues next dose wed I then experienced extreme dizziness so I ended up calling 911 was rushed to er I have bad vertigo today is oct 11 2011 and I still am dizzy nautious loss of apetite very very fatigue and oitta it all since my flu shot goin to see ent and neurologist soon.

  32. And im so glad im not alone. I really felt like I was dying this is so horrible I still feel like im not myself

  33. Sorry to hear about your problems. I am glad you are starting to feel better. Have you given the vertigo exercises a try yet? They have really made a difference for me.

  34. Sounds exactly like what happened to me. Hope that it doesn’t reoccur, but if it does use the exercises they are marvelous. I also will never have another flu shot.

  35. I also had a severe vertigo attack 2 weeks after my first flu shot! Got flu shot Feb 2011, Im just starting to feel better. I had problems walking straight, rolling over in bed at night, slept on my left side for months, just getting to where I can sleep on my right side again without the spinning sensation! My ENT did the procedure that moves the crystals back to their place. It helped some so I was able to work and try to live life, but still very debilitating. There is NO way I’m getting a flu shot this year! I would rather have the flu! I hope all of you guys find some relief. Vertigo is a terrible disease!

  36. I had vertigo really bad all weekend (about 4 days in total), even today I am a bit light on my feet, but being a contractor I can’t afford to skip any more work days.

    Last night I thought, I wonder if the flu shot I had a week ago had anything to do with it. I have had vertigo in the past, but usually only lasts a few hours and I only have to take a day off work. Never have I had it last so long, it was horrible. My other half has never had vertigo, so while she was sympathetic the first day, got over it for the next few and started getting annoyed that I couldn’t help her do anything as I was stuck in bed.

    At least now I know never to get the flu shot again.

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