About three weeks ago, I awoke with the condition of vertigo. I was largely unconcerned with it at first because it was most prominent when I was rising from bed and laying down at night; it never lasted long, and the room usually righted itself within about 15-30 seconds after I settled on my feet or in my bed. Occasionally, I’d have a moment where the room tilted if I moved too suddenly, or if I held my head in a position looking down with my head tilted a bit to the side (I was unaware of just how often I did this until the vertigo came). It came upon me on Sunday or Monday, and when it didn’t clear up by the end of the week, I decided to go in to the VA’s ER on Saturday morning, as I’d risen earlier than usual and knew that getting in before 8:30AM was advisable, especially on a weekend.
So I checked in, they did the blood pressure/temperature/pulse/oxygenation readings, and left me in a familiar room near the entrance from the waiting room, around the corner from the doors. When the doc came to me, I explained my condition, and she performed a test to diagnose the condition. This test involved me laying down on my back with my head off the foot of the bed in another little exam room. Once on my back, she had me turn my head to the right, at which point the world spun. She then had me roll onto my left side until the vertigo went away, then helped me sit up again. She told me that if it had not passed so quickly, it would have indicated a stroke. Apparently, stroke victims suffer consistent vertigo from the time of onset. The fact that mine passed within a minute of the change of position of my head indicated it was more than likely something dislodged in my inner ear, and this was correctable.
As it was explained to me by the ER doc, there are crystals in the inner ear, and they can become misaligned, and this can cause intermittent vertigo. This was verified by the physical therapist I saw just this past Friday.
The ER doc gave me some Meclizine and sent me on my way after promising to put in a referral for me to see the physical therapist. On Wednesday, I received a letter inviting me to a walk-in clinic for the physical therapist regarding my vertigo, and I went in on, as I mentioned, Friday. Incidentally, I had an appointment for another visit regarding my arm at 1:00PM, this referred by my primary care doc after I contacted her regarding a few days of stiffness and excruciating pain to the point I couldn’t sleep; she never did send the medication she promised to put a scrip in for (LOL). Anyway, I went in early on Friday—around 11:00—and checked in to the walk in clinic for the vertigo.
I hadn’t long to wait. The physical therapist came out and I went back to a little exam room with him. I’ve forgotten his name, but he explained what caused my vertigo and did a test to verify I had vertigo. This involved laying down on my back on the exam bed with my head off the end and him observing my eyes for something he called “tapping,” if I remember right (I could be misremembering, but I’ll call it “tapping” for the time being). First he had me look to the left, and he didn’t see this indicator of vertigo. When, however, he had me turn my head to the right, everything whirled, and he saw the “tapping.” He helped me sit up, said the ER doc’s diagnosis of it being caused by issues in my right ear was correct, then had me move to a chair so he could give me instructions on how to correct the condition, demonstrating as he explained. Since we weren’t in his office, and he didn’t have access to the printouts he usually would have had—and he told me it would be clearer if he demonstrated—he told me to take a video of him, which I did.
Basically, for this exercise, I’m to sit at the middle point on the side of my bed. First, I’m to look up to the left, let the vertigo (if any) pass and wait 30 seconds, then lay down to the right, keeping my head in that position, let vertigo (if any) pass, and stay that way for 30 more seconds. Then I sit up. Next, I look up to the right, let vertigo pass, wait 30 seconds, and lay down on my left, let vertigo pass, wait 30 seconds, and sit up. That’s one time. I’m to do this 5 times twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, for two weeks. He was very clear on the fact that, like with antibiotics, I must do this for the prescribed number of days, even if I feel better, to ensure the misalignment in the inner ear is fully corrected.
I’ve already noticed a change just since my visit, as if some of what he had me do put things back into alignment. Still, I’m following his instructions and doing the exercise for the next two weeks.