Anyone suffer from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)? I am being treated with Vestibular PT for some ongoing imbalance / disequilibrium over the past 4 to 6 months. Had first session of PT yesterday with a few more scheduled. Am wondering how others here may have fared with this issue. Am also curious if rolling a kayak has brought on episodes of BPPV?
Yes, I have had problems with it since I damaged my inner ear on the left side after sustaining a fractured skull from a bike crash, sans helmet, in my mid 20’s that sent me unconscious to the ER with blood and spinal fluid running out of that ear. I have not been able to ride a roller coaster since then and had to drop out of Aikido training when the normal roll maneuvers in sparring would leave me prostrate with nausea and vertigo for hours.
All I can offer is that you do eventually adjust somewhat: I have learned to be careful about abrupt head movements or upper body positional changed. I worked for years as an electrician and knew not to make any sudden head jerks when up on a ladder or in a bucket truck.
That said, I have never had trouble with vertigo nor nausea during paddling, even in rough water. I do admit that I have been a little anxious about practicing rolling, but in fact I have not had BPPV problems during any such practice in spite of my dread. I have wondered if that may be due to the fact that, being on the water your balance system is already in flux and adjusts more readily. And, I usually automatically close my eyes when I am underwater which may be key. Visual signals seem to increase my BPPV reaction. I have also never had BPPV problems when SCUBA diving, which I have done numerous times since the accident – but you really can’t make abrupt positional movements under water.
I imagine there are individual differences in how BPPV affects people, especially depending on what is causing it. In my case it was displacement of my otolith “ballast” crystals by trauma on one side. Maybe there are neurological or organic causes that would be different.
My doc taught me the canalith repositioning exercises but I have only used them a few times and can’t swear they helped that much. Since abnormal eye movements seem so tied to BPPV I think my instinct to close my eyes during abrupt movements has been the most helpful in avoiding the worst effects.
Odd sidebar here: since I had that accident in my 20’s, I have had sporadic nightmares during deep sleep where I am spinning out of control, as if I was in a speeding car on an icy road, always in the dark and often as if I am blinded and can’t see where I and my vehicle are hurtling. I guess these are like the “falling” dreams I hear other people having where you awaken before you hit the ground – I always wake up in mild panic before the “crash” occurs. Since I was knocked cold by my accident (and have complete amnesia of what occurred between riding my bike and reviving on the table in the ER as they were cutting off my best jeans) I wonder if my brain relives that accident for which I have no conscious memory.
Huh? No but only cause I’m not so bad that I’ve been diagnosed.
However, sometimes when, after paddling in heat, it kicks in when loading boats or picking up gear. Head below waist, movement from light to dark, and perhaps a little dehydration seem to kick it off. Never had it during paddling. Rolls ? Don’t know.
My Dr. Daughter tells me how they chase those little crystals out. Hang in there.
Last year I had a sudden onset of extreme vertigo, the original diagnosis was BPPV. It continued for several months, since the symptoms were really severe I spent a bit of time in the ENTs office. Diagnosis was later changed to viral vestibular neuritis. I had large doses of prednisone, and gradually the problem went away. Emphasis on “gradually” ie months, as it takes a while for your brain to figure out how to manage the loss of nerve signals from the inner ear. I had a hearing loss in that ear to begin with, and now have almost no hearing in that ear. When I was having issues, rolling a waveski did not set it off, and I tried stand up paddle surfing. I had a very difficult time, keeping my balance during the sudden acceleration phase of catching a wave. Unfortunately strange movements could set it off, like sitting in a car and having the car next to you move. I have a friend who has problems with windshield wipers setting off vertigo. My neighbor has mild BPPV and it re-occurs three or four times a year. If you are having severe issues I would discuss the possibility of Meinere’s disease or vestibular neuritis with your doctor, and for the latter see if it make sense to have steoids and anti-herpes meds. Being incapacitated by the room rotating around you like you are in a aereobatic plane, and often incredible nausea is no fun. I hope you get help getting over it. My advice is try to keep active and let your brain adjust to the activities you like to do, but always have a back up plan on how to deal with the vertigo if it hits.
In regards to Willowleaf’s comment about inner ear problems and vertigo presenting differently in people, closing her eyes works for her, but for me to get back into control I can’t close my eyes, I have to look at a fixed object about three to five feet in front of me. I actually visualize that I am kayak surfing or skiing and force my brain to calm down as much as it can and focus on keeping upright. A strange side symptom is profuse sweatting while this is going on. My wife works with a guy who also had the problem and his wife complains that when he wakes up screaming and throwing up she has to go turn a light on and he stares at it the rest of the night without going to sleep.
Thank you all for sharing your respective experiences. I realized I left out some details specific to my issue. This has been running about 6 months now. I do not experience any room spinning, just a sense of falling primarily forward. This I attribute to nephropathy in both feet. Barefoot is very painful on hard floors is to be avoided. Changes in floor composition, texture, elevation are greatly noticed. Most of my imbalance is standing vs sitting, so the foot issues seem to be a contributing factor. No diabetes, but low B-12 levels cited as my cause.
What does make my head swim is tilting it forward especially in shower. That coupled with feet issues makes me hug the shower wall. Thinking I had the loose ear crystals, the initial PT sessions focused on using the Epley maneuvers. It never provoked my dizziness, but did relieve it. As does tilting head back. But I keep having to repeat it. Why does it not provide enduring relief?
Consequently I think the head/neck postures of Epley do make me fell better. At today’s PT we focused on neck issues as being the root cause, which make sense to me. PT describe other patient’s similar issues with certain head/neck postures. I will continue to maintain better posture and to keep my neck loose. Will post again after a week or so.
I had an attack of severe vertigo a few years ago. The apparent cause was dehydration but it took a several weeks to get over it. It happened in the middle of a road trip at 3am .
A doc inadvertently sort of cured it by doing a nerve study on my leg. I was put in a position that brought it on to the max and had to stay that way for several minutes. It took over an hour for it to calm down enough to drive. After that it wasn’t too bad and I continued to do the exercises .