Archive for August, 2009

Join us on Twitter!

LifeStyle is on twitter – come join us and “be our friend”!

We provide daily vestibular disorder tips on twitter as well as 140-word-or-less tweets on vestibular disorders.

twitterhttp://twitter.com/balancechicago

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Purchasing Balance Exercises Online

Yesterday we had a woman who called us and asked if we would suggest any particular balance exercises to buy from an online source. She had found some online for $59.99 and wanted our opinion.

Our answer was: Go see a licensed healthcare professional who deals with vestibular disorders!

The reason vestibular rehabilitation and balance therapy works is because a trained professional is watching you and making sure you are doing these exercises correctly. These therapists and doctors are educated  in teaching how these exercises re-train your brain and vestibular system. Even slight changes the therapist makes can make a big difference in your recovery.

So check with your healthcare professional and you’ll be back to doing things you have been wanting to do!

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**Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice – always go see your doctor before you start any new activity when you have a vestibular disorder.

Dr. Hain and the 3rd Vestibular Support Group

Our most recent Vestibular Support Group, held at LifeStyle’s office in Chicago, increased in attendance and we had our first guest speaker, Dr. Timothy Hain. Chicago’s “dizzy doctor”, as many patients call him, is a neurologist with Chicago Dizziness and Hearing as well as a Professor of Neurology and Otolaryngology at Northwestern University Medical School.

Dr. Hain began his discussion with an overview of the different definitions of dizziness and the reasons for dizziness. Patients go to doctors for many reasons and use the term “dizziness” and it could refer to many things, whether it’s vertigo, or a sensation of motion, ataxia, an unsteadiness, or lightheadedness/faintness.

dizzyAlmost 50% of dizziness stems from your ear, but that means that about 50% of dizziness stems from something else (including brain trauma, psychological reasons, and other medical reasons).

Dr. Hain then gave an overview of BPPV, Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis and bilateral vestibular loss. He gave great insight and even case examples about the different vestibular disorders. Dr. Hain discussed studies that are being conducted on mice (no humans yet) to regenerate damaged, non-working hair cells within ones ear – which are the cells that are the sensory receptors for the vestibular system – humans are not able to regenerate damanged cells while birds are able to.

Dr. Hain also discussed the use of Betahistine in the treatment of Meniere’s Disease – while not FDA legal in the US, the Europeans widely use the product. For an overview and Dr. Hain’s review of the drug, please go to: http://www.dizziness-and-balance.com/treatment/serc.html

For more information on Chicago’s VSG, please send an email to: info@balancechicago.com.

Reminder: Vestibular Support Group on Saturday!

Our Vestibular Support Group will be held this Saturday, August 15th at LifeStyle: 3130 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657. We already have a fantastic RSVP list but would like to have more. Dr. Timothy Hain, a renowned neurologist from Chicago Dizziness and Hearing, will be speaking  at the meeting. Bring your family, friends, and support systems. Light refreshments at 11:30am, meeting starts at 12:00pm.

For more information or to RSVP, contact info@balancechicago.com.

Maximizing the Office Visit

Keeping a diary before going on your office visit for a balance problem is a great way to be prepared for the questions your doctor may ask. These are some routine questions that your general practitioner and/or neurologist may ask. By writing down the following information before the office visit, you may save yourself a follow up visit to that same doctor!

Frequency of dizziness:

  • How often do you have dizziness or other symptoms of a balance problem?
  • Do you feel dizzy or have a vertigo attack after eating certain foods that contain high levels of salt, alcohol or caffeine?
  • How do weather systems affect your symptoms?
  • Have you ever fallen? If so, when, where and how often?

Medications:

  • What medications are you taking? Remember to include all over-the-counter medications, including antihistamines and sleep aids.
  • Do you take any supplements beyond a multi-vitamin, such as St. John’s Wort, Ginko Biloba, etc.?

Other Medical Conditions:

  • Do you have another medical condition(s)? If so, do you take any medication for this condition?

You Don’t Have to be Dizzy

We recently received this e-mail from one of our former patients.

“I wanted to let you know that I am doing very well with my balance & stability. I’ve had no dizziness episodes – I am hiking, cycling, playing tennis……I am feeling great and stable while being active. The physical therapy was awesome! I continue to do the exercises at home…”

T.P. 6/24/09

October 29, 1916

On October 29, 1916, an article was published in the NY Times that states that from the research and works of several individuals, it has been verified that vertigo (or seasickness as they call it) results from an imbalance in the inner ear. In the article it states that vertigo was often thought of as an intestinal or digestive disorder brought upon by indigestion or stomachaches.

In 1900, the relationship between vertigo and the inner ear was first established and many tests ensued. In one experiment, animals were rocked on a moving floor that simulated a rolling sea and it resulted in the animals getting seasick. The head researcher, Kreidl, then severed the eighth nerve (the acoustic/auditory nerve). The same experiment was then conducted on the moving floor and the animals did not get sick.

1916 was the beginning of the acknowledgement that vertigo was the distinct result of the “disturbance of the vestibular apparatus”.  A lot of things were proven in the years leading up to 1916, such as champagne giving relief to vertigo symptoms (see last paragraph of the article) and the causes of vertigo “no longer be[ing] regarded as vague or mysterious”.

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=950CE1DA113CE733A2575AC2A9669D946796D6CF