Archive for June, 2009

Battling Meniere’s

In Summer of 2008, the Deafness Research Foundation published an article by Raymond Hines that described how he coped with Meniere’s. This article was published in hopes that you can pass it on to your support system to give them a better understanding of what it is like, battling Meniere’s.

Migraines and Vertigo

One of the results of vertigo may be migraines, which are debilitating and painful to deal with. These migraines can be classified as “vestibular migraines”.

Common Triggers: Heat, stress, and lack of sleep or food. Others have noted chocolate, alcohol, smoking, artificial sweeteners, MSG, and contraceptives as triggers.

Therapy and Treatment: Avoid triggers (may take some time to figure out what your triggers are). Medication can help reduce the pain and severity of migraines, but note that they may cause an increase in dizziness (read the labels!). Biofeedback therapy is a therapy that teaches individuals how to control their own body functions –  through this therapy patients learn how to control their migraines during onset. Other treatments include a change in diet and acupuncture.

Coping with BPPV (Home Treatments)

Here are some home treatments for BPPV:

  • Use two or more pillows at night.
  • Avoid sleeping on your side with the ear causing the problem facing down.
  • Get up slowly in the morning and sit on the edge of the bed for a moment before standing.
  • Avoid leaning over to pick things up or tipping your head far back to look up.
  • Be careful about reclining, such as when you are in the dentist’s chair or having your hair washed at a hair salon.
  • Be careful about participating in sports that require you to turn your head, lean over, or lie flat on your back.

    Living with Meniere’s Disease

    Reading about other’s experiences and sharing your own helps many individuals living with vestibular disorders cope. I found these pages/blogs from people living with Meniere’s Disease. Hope they are helpful!

    Visiting your Vestibular Disorders Doctor

    At our support group we often hear our vestibular disorder sufferers discuss the difficulties that they faced during initial visits to doctors or healthcare providers. Often times doctors are unaware of vestibular disorders and qualify the symptoms as other disorders.

    The below steps may seem like a long list, but after listening to the frustrations that some of our support group members dealt with, it may be well worth going through at least Steps 1, 2 and 7.

    Step 1) See an ear and throat doctor first if you suspect that you may have symptoms of vestibular disorders (For Symptoms: Most of these type illnesses originate in the head and neck regions, so before seeking treatment you first can get a definite diagnosis from an ENT.

    Step 2) Visit a neurologist who specializes in various diagnosis approaches to vestibular disorders. He/she can determine if there is a specific brain cause of the disorder rather than an ear or throat link.

    Step 3) Contact an eye doctor and/or neuro-ophthalmologists to ensure that there may not be a defect in the eye and brain connection that is worsening your vision, thus causing balance problems.

    Step 4) Detect emotional or mental problems causing vestibular disorders by visiting a psychologist…The psychologist can run tests and provide therapy…Visit a psychiatrist to take a medicinal instead of sometimes more risky surgical avenue.

    Step 5) Determine if a hearing difficulty is not the specific cause of any diagnosed vestibular disorder. An audiologist can administer a test to detect any hearing impairment that may be causing a physical imbalance.

    Step 6) Make an appointment with a neurotologist. The neurotologist gives more specific information on the origins of the disorder and what course of action needs to be taken.

    Step 7) Communicate to a physical therapist any pain you may be suffering from as a result of any treatment for vestibular disorders. They can…rehabilitate a disorder sufferer as well as reduce any pain.

    Vestibular Disorders and Alcohol

    Vertigo is a condition in which one experiences the sensation of spinning that results in a lack of balance and dizziness. Vertigo and dizziness can be caused by many things, one of which is alcohol. When drinking alcohol, it is absorbed into all aspects of the bloodstream. Vertigo occurs when alcohol is aborbed into the inner ear.

    The obvious answer to this problem is to not drink while you have symptoms of a vestibular disorder. One might overlook this suggestion, but note that alcohol reduces the effectiveness of vestibular rehabilitation.

    Online Dizzy Support Group

    For those individuals who do not have access to a support group or those who would like another outlet to discuss their vestibular disorders, there are support groups on Yahoo! Groups focused on diseases like Meniere’s and BPPV. Two groups in particular, “dizzygroup” and “meniersetc”, have a large group of followers. Enjoy!