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quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

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quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby mattcav » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:53 am

a few years back i had a fall while scrambling on a small mountain out here. i slid about 20-30 feet before being knocked unconscious. since then, i've had an increasing sense of vertigo or balance disorder that comes on when i am overlooking a steep drop. i've had it at low and high elevations and it usually comes on slowly... but over time i feel dizzier and dizzier until im off the section of the mountain that overlooks a big drop or descends steeply.

the most recent occurence was last week on san gorgonio (southern california). i'd ascended 4000 feet and about 9 miles. i'd kept on top of electrolytes, food, and water. my hr stayed primarily in the 65-80% range the majority of the hike. drinking water seemed to help a little but finally, at 600' below the summit, i had to turn around because i was stumbling from my dizziness and that's not a smart thing to do on a narrow ridge trail overlooking a 1000'+ drop.

so my question: what can i do about this? i met someone who recommended taking b1, zinc, and iodine as a way to settle my stomach better and to therefore help the other processes that affect the dizziness, but im not sure if there's support for this.

any ideas?
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Re: quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby adventurer » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:51 am

Have you tried describing your symptoms to a Doctor?
"When you travel, if you avoid the people, reject the food, ignore the customs, and fear the religion..... you might as well stay home"
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Re: quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby awilsondc » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:31 am

You should probably see a doctor. There is a chance it could be psychological. You say the only time you get it is overlooking a steep drop? What about looking down at something close (like a book) for a long time? Does that trigger it? What about looking straight out at the horizon at something far away? Do you notice it more or less when your heart rate is high? What does the dizziness feel like? Loss of balance? Room spinning? Lightheaded / like you're going to pass out? Could be something to do with your eyes. Could be something with your upper neck as a result of the trauma. Could be your inner ear. So many possibilities you should really see a doctor.

As a chiropractor and the fact that your symptoms were triggered by a trauma I would want to look at your upper neck. A misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae could have an impact on the nerves around your brain stem and your cerebellum (balance center ) could be affected as a result. I would really need more information to know if an adjustment could help or could be a "quick fix" for you, but I would definitely see a chiropractor in your area. You may also want to see a neurologist or some specialist. You could just start with your GP but you'd likely be referred out. Good luck!
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Re: quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby mattcav » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:17 am

awilsondc wrote:You should probably see a doctor. There is a chance it could be psychological. You say the only time you get it is overlooking a steep drop? What about looking down at something close (like a book) for a long time? Does that trigger it? What about looking straight out at the horizon at something far away? Do you notice it more or less when your heart rate is high? What does the dizziness feel like? Loss of balance? Room spinning? Lightheaded / like you're going to pass out? Could be something to do with your eyes. Could be something with your upper neck as a result of the trauma. Could be your inner ear. So many possibilities you should really see a doctor.

As a chiropractor and the fact that your symptoms were triggered by a trauma I would want to look at your upper neck. A misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae could have an impact on the nerves around your brain stem and your cerebellum (balance center ) could be affected as a result. I would really need more information to know if an adjustment could help or could be a "quick fix" for you, but I would definitely see a chiropractor in your area. You may also want to see a neurologist or some specialist. You could just start with your GP but you'd likely be referred out. Good luck!


Hey Awilsondoc-
I go to a chiropracter every month or so and haven't ever been told that there was anything up the upper cervical part of my spine. However, next time I'm there, I'll have to bring that up to him and see if he might find something unseen previously.
I also have made a doctor appointment for a couple weeks from now. The feeling comes on more often when my HR is higher, but I just assume that happens because I am usually hiking or scrambling and that usually happens in more vertical environments. The feeling is more of a sensation in my stomach (like a sense of nervousness), a spinning sensation in my head, and a tightness in my legs. I don't know if my amigdala is just going nuts because of my previous fall or what. I also do get this sensation when I'm watching a movie or tv and the camera shot looks down from a building, helicopter, etc.

Thanks for your input!
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Re: quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby Diego Sahagún » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:37 pm

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Re: quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby alpine345 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:05 am

I'm not an M.D. but it sounds like one or more of the otoliths in your inner ear may be "stuck" i.e. misaligned. I saw an in-service presentation on just this issue at a brain injury conference about 2001 or so. Their emphasis was relative to auto and ski accidents, but it sounds like it applies to you, also. They described a protocol for re-aligning the otoliths via series of positional exercises, taken in sequence. Perhaps try a re-hab hospital, a PT (sorry, physical therapist), physiatrist or (gasp) the internet...

edit: this is precisely the topic of the presentation that I saw... start here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epley_maneuver
Last edited by alpine345 on Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby Pablohoney » Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:07 pm

I believe Alpine345 is referring to the Epley Maneuvers... if it works it can really help and they are pretty simple. That being said loss of balance in the setting of trauma... that's a worrisome combination...get it looked at by a medical doctor.
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Re: quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby MoapaPk » Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:28 pm

The fact that you get it when looking at vertiginous scenes on TV, suggests a psychological component. Still, it's not a bad idea to describe your symptoms to an internist. You could have an on-going inner-ear infection.

You can be trained to fight most effects of vertigo (and balance challenge) due to damage in the vestibules. Look up "vestibular exercises" on the net; these exercises also work for some loss due to brain damage. Try walking on the curbs on the side of a quiet road in a residential neighborhood.

Plus, how are your eyes? Do you wear bifocal glasses? Do you have strabismus?

My natural balance was destroyed by brainstem/cerebellum damage years back, which also took out the neural pathway to my left vestibule (inner ear). I also lost natural proprioception on the right side of my body. A person who has such injuries needs to adjust the "gain" on the rest of the balance mechanisms in the body.

During my recovery period, I went scrambling a lot with groups of friends. On one trip, I decided to lunge for the next ledge on a 4th class stretch, and hit a ledge with my head. I knocked myself out and tumbled/fell 25 feet till I landed in a bush perched on top of a waterfall. I was quiescent for 2 days, but fought the fear and started doing the same stuff, while trying hard to remove the conditions that caused the 1st accident.

Outdoor activities can be very dangerous - there's no denying that - but we should chalk up each accident as a learning experience, and something we don't plan to repeat. Check out the medical stuff, try the exercises (maybe through yoga or PT), and get back on the horse.
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Re: quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby fluxlib » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:06 pm

I'll second the psychological thing. You may have a form of PTSD. Usually the solution to this is to start slowly and keep having positive outcomes until you can reteach your amygdala to calm down in those situations. High physical exertion has a lot of the same effects as an anxiety attack. You might have had 2 things coming together there.

Another thing that makes me think that it's psychological is that a television has one focal distance and your dizziness could only be caused by your understanding of the depth perception and not actually having your eye focus on it.

But I would not rule out a physical condition and I would certainly see doctors about this. I had an inner ear infection and my balance has never been the same. The condition comes back when my allergies are up and my head get's congested. I won't even climb a ladder while I am like that.

Do you get any other physical sensations when you view stuff on TV from a relaxed state??

Good luck with all of this.
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Re: quick fix for vertigo/balance disorder?

Postby 2 Bees » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:25 pm

GO SEE A DOCTOR NOW!
Do not rely on word of mouth on something this serious.
In 2004, I went skiing and on the drive down off the mountain, I stuck my finger into my left ear and pulled it out to relieve the pressure. That night, I woke up to use the bathroom and down I went. My head was spinning like a top to the left, worse then being super drunk. I had this 24/7, non stop, just in my head. I thought it would go away so I learned to think right to compensate. That helped a little, but I could not go far or dare to drive. Two days later,I went to the hospital and they referred me to a EAR, NOSE and THROAT doctor. He had me lay in a weird chair, strapped me down, hung me up-side-down then spun me around to dislodge the calcium deposit that fell off some inner ear fibers that sent messages to my brain about my balance. 6 months of Physical Therapy to relearn balance; got rid of 80% of the spins. 10 years later, if I move my head up-side-down, I get the spins a bit.
Please, you need to see a doctor and don't drive.
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