Dizziness can be debilitating
Statistics say the average dizzy patient visits four doctors before receiving an adequate diagnosis and treatment. When you factor in the time it takes to be seen by each physician, that can be a very long time to experience dizziness.
In addition, it’s not uncommon for people to search for answers online. But how do you know which answer is correct? Without an expert’s opinion or diagnosis, you don’t. We often see patients who have unsuccessfully tried to diagnose and treat themselves by “Googling” their symptoms.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a very common inner ear related problem. BPPV can be described by attacks of true room-spinning vertigo that typically last less than one minute and are provoked by changing positions. Approximately 50 percent of people over the age of 70 will experience this at least once in their lifetime. However, it can occur at any point in your life.
This condition is the result of a mechanical problem within your inner ear (deep in your skull). BPPV, when diagnosed correctly, can be fixed with different physical maneuvers. If you do an online search for BPPV treatment, you’ll find videos that attempt to show you how you can self-treat. The problem is that this condition can occur in six different areas within your inner ear. Each problem area requires a different set of treatments and maneuvers. Specialized audiologists have spent years studying and perfecting these treatments.
As a lay person, it is difficult to determine the specific affected area or the best treatment. Self-treatment maneuvers used to treat BPPV online can actually cause more problems such as:
The displaced particles move from one semi-circular canal into a different canal. Typically, this dizziness is very intense and lasts for a longer time. Instead of getting dizzy with position changes, you get dizzy with every head movement. This often is accompanied by nausea.
During repositioning maneuvers, the objective is to move the particles from one canal back to where they belong. Sometimes, they can get stuck. When this happens, you experience intense dizziness because those particles are constantly stimulating the membrane until they are physically forced out. This experience can be dangerous when self-treating and is best handled in the care of an experienced professional.
Crisis of Tumarkin
In the process of moving the displaced particles back where they belong, they can get “hung up on a shelf” in the inner ear anatomy. When you sit up, gravity causes them to drop quickly. When this happens, you can experience a significant attack of dizziness, causing you to feel like you are falling or that the floor is dropping out from underneath you.
Severed vertebral artery
As trained audiologists, we have to take orthopedic issues (aches and pains) into consideration. Prior to every treatment, we perform a screening to ensure your vertebral artery (major artery in the back of your neck that provides significant blood supply and oxygen to your brain) is not compromised.
If our screening is positive, we need to modify our maneuvering techniques to keep our patients safe. If modifications are not made and self-treatment is performed, this artery could be damaged, the consequences could be very serious. Even if you have a friend who has a similar condition as you, everyone’s body reacts differently. Your friend’s treatment may not work for you.