Vertigo & Dizziness

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What is causing my vertigo?

April 2009

I am 34 and have been suffering from vertigo for the last 2.5 years. The episodes come and go every few months and last about 2 weeks (the first 2-3 days are the worst where I can barely get out of bed). I am writing because my ENT has said she has no idea what is causing it and I basically just have to live with it and hope it clears up on its own. Has anyone else suffered from Vertigo? Have you found anything that helped reduce your episode symptoms or eliminated it entirely? I know about the head tilting exercising and have not found relief in doing these. The second factor in this question is I live at the top of Marin St.and have found out that 2 of my neighbors also suffer from vertigo. I am wondering if the altitude (and constantly going up and down Marin street) has something to do with it. (by the way this has all been mentioned to my doc but she has no feedback). Are there any other vertigo sufferers who live in the hills, or is this merely a coincidence. sick of being dizzy

I have had vertigo on and off for the last 15 years. I have noticed I develope vertigo after taking cold medication which contains a decongestant. Also, I have developed seasonal allergies which causes me to have fluid in my ears, and seems to lead to vertigo also. I just put up with it and it goes away eventually, but I have noticed a connection between vertigo, the medication and allergies. Guess it's time for me to find a good ENT. the room is spinning
I just heard an interview...maybe on NPR about vertigo and chrystals (sp?) in the inner ear. It was really interesting and seemed to be new news that had recently been discovered. I'm sorry I don't have more on this. You can probably find out on the internet. Also, can't hurt to change diet. Gluten sensitivity can have all kinds of odd symptoms. Worth a try. anon
My mother had a serious attack of vertigo last year where she was vomitting and could not walk. We took her to the ER and called my sister who was in med school at the time. Both the ER doc and my sister diagnosed my mom as having ''ear rocks.'' These are calcium deposits in the inner ear which float around and give the person severe vertigo. The treatment was a very specific head rotation thing that is supposed to help the deposits come to rest somewhere so the vertigo goes away. It worked! Unfortunately, the little things can dislodge at any time and cause another attack, but you can learn how to do the rotation at home. It is not just a matter of ''head tilting,'' but lying in a specific position and following a series of rotations. We got instructions with pictures from the ER doc for future reference, you might want to ask your own doctor about it? --no more vertigo
Vertigo can be awful. I had it for a number of years, and went to an ENT for way too long, with no realistic diagnosis, just a bunch of guesses and exams that were all costly and frustrating to go through.

I finally basically diagnosed myself - my vertigo was related to mold allergy. We had mold in our house and it was taking a major toll on my immune system, making me allergic to certain foods, increasing fluid and causing vertigo. I found a specialist (since deceased unfortunately) that conducted blood tests and an array of other thoughtful testing to determine how to resolve my issues.

Not sure if you happen to have any visible mold in your home? It can also be hidden (i.e. behind walls, in carpet padding, etc.) Air tests can be taken to determine whether there are high levels in your home. Are you perhaps near a creek or other watersource in the hills? It may be worth a shot to try and find a specialist - this website seems helpful Finally, there were some OTC products at Elephant Pharmacy that worked for me during episodes at times - you place them under your tounge to dissolve - made by the HEEL company, called ''Vertigo Heel''. It may require a prescription now. anon

Your symptoms are very familiar to me, including the ineffectiveness of the head tilting exercises. I urge you to see a neurologist. anon
My father suffered from terrible vertigo for years before finally discovering that the culprit was caffeine. He stopped drinking caffeine and the symptoms went completely away. Perhaps you have a similar trigger? Rear Window
I also suffer from vertigo on and off but not as intense and as long as you. This is what helps: organic ground ginger powder in warm water. Drink asap and rest with head elevated on the couch and don't move. 1 hour later I'm better and can get up slowly and the nausea & the spinning is gone. At night sleep with head elevated for the next 2-3 days. This is what I found out about the cause: If it is not your inner ear (have a doc confirm) then vertigo can be triggered by the gut, usually caused by a virus, which is why people often get it after eating foods gone bad. But that didn't apply to me. I am detoxing from mercury poisening from amalgams and flu shots, but I saw many other possibilities for vertigo I wanted to rule out first. I charted my health on a daily basis for two months while I stopped the detox and found proof that my vertigo wasn't triggered by different phases of birth control hormones, extensive neck movements from dips during salsa dancing, nor by what I ate (sensitivity to garlic and jalapeno pepper). If my sleep got interrupted it would only cause a bit of brain fog but not vertigo. Now knowing that I get surprised with vertigo 3 days after detoxing, I researched that further and finally found out that vertigo is also a symptom of mercury poisening. In other words, when I detoxed with Nano-Chlorella, I set mercury free and therefore temporarily experience stronger symptoms of mercury poisening. I wisened up and now take Algin with it to avoid redistribution through the intestines. The past two non-detox months I felt great, so the whole thing is working and I will soon start detox again much more moderately. Just be aware that the vertigo comes from the gut and that is where our immune system sits and that is where heavy metals also interfere with enzyme production, digestion and mineral uptake. I cannot tell you what you have, but I can tell you that you are on your own with your research. The ''owner'' of Algin (google) was a very valuable resource to me and so was practitioner Derrick Pawo (google) in diagnosing my mercury issue. Once you understand exactly how everything in the body is related, you leave the western drug pusher docs behind. None of our physical ailments are a ''got a problem, fix me with a pill'' kind of thing. Best of luck in your search. It will be successful if you stay on it and if you want unltimate health. Anonymous
I had a friend with vertigo who learned that it was an inner ear problem--something occasionally comes loose there (sorry this is so unscientifically put), but is temporary so her symptoms would disappear in a couple days. I had another friend with vertigo. She received physical therapy, but the symptoms were increasing so an MRI was done. She had brain cancer. Since this sounds like an ongoing problem, I would get another doctor's opinion and push for testing to put you at ease and give you information to develop a better strategy. anonymous
Hi - I'm so sorry to hear you have vertigo. I also had it for about 2 years. I am thankfully free of it and could have been much sooner if i had figured a few things out earlier. First of all, it's good that you have seen your ENT in order to rule out any possible causes such as Menieres. As you doubtless already know, vertigo is a symptom not a disease, so it could be caused by any number of things. If your vertigo is the kind that makes your ENT shrug his her shoulders then i would suggest trying different therapies and finding something that makes you feel better. I had contracted labrynthitis which causes vertigo, and in theory, goes away after about 6 weeks (which it didn't with me). My ENT couldn't really help me out. One thing that I did was to start spending some time on the internet, which was hard as i could barely read most days. But here's one forum which was very handy, it's called the Dizzy Lounge (i can't remember the URL, you'll need to google it). There are forum topics on different methods people have tried, what has worked etc. If nothing else, you will learn a lot about what you don't have. Symptoms vary from person to person making this a REALLY hard condition to 'cure'. There are other forums out there too, so it helps to search around. I haven't heard of going up and down hills as causing vertigo but it may make your symptoms worse just from the standpoint of it making your visual input less 'stationary'.

What helped me were taking a sleeping aid to make sure that i got as much GOOD quality sleep per night, and I also had a few sessions with a miracle massage therapist who does myofascial release, Beth Baron (551-9539). It turns out that because of my vertigo, my neck and shoulder muscles were quite contracted (but this was unnoticeable to everyone, including myself, i never felt sore or unhappy about it!). After about 3 sessions, I felt so much better. Even after the first session, i noticed a difference.

Finally, I started taking really really good care of myself - eating better, stress management, etc. This year i was able to go skiing with my family, and it was like i was a given a second chance in life.

I'd be happy to talk more with you if you'd like, I beleive you can get my email address from the moderator. Best of luck to you and hang in there! Not dizzy any more

Hello vertigo sufferer - Just recently I had an episode of BPPV. I have experieced this twice now - once recently and once 5 years ago. I live at Grizzly and Shasta and do drive the many turns to get to my home in the hills. I have will be seeing an ENT next week. BPPV is caused by inflammation or a virus. Both of my experiences have been following a horrible upper respiratory infection. I believe that allergies might play a role too. I am not an allergy sufferer but I believe that I do get a little bit of an allergy in my ear (they itch in April). I think this contributes to the situation. I continue strive for a low sodium diet and am mininizing my sugar levels as best as possible. While these might not help, it certainly can't hurt. I will ask my doctor about living in the hills. cheryl
I did hear a Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross (which I'm sure you can listen to through the NPR or KQED or KALW website) with Kristen Chenowith, who apparently suffers from debilitating vertigo, to the extent that she sometimes literally leans on her costars. I wasn't listening to the interview very carefully, and this was a minor part of the interview, but she did say that she does two things that help a lot: for sleeping, her head is elevated over the elevation of her feet--I don't remember how much, but I gathered it was not insignificant, because she has to ask for special treatment from hotels as well--and a very low-salt diet. She said it's not clear why this works, but she said it helps a lot. You could also try googling ''meniere's disease'' or something like that.
I have had vertigo twice in the last year, and what worked for me was adding salt to my diet. Several members of my family have experienced the same thing, and adding salt really helps. anon
I used to suffer from recurrent vertigo over a period of years. None of the docs or specialists could determine the cause, though a neurologist thought it could be migraines without the headache. The only thing that worked was acupuncture. I used Dr. Ou on grand ave- there are three siblings named Dr. Ou- I went to the younger sister. She does a quite painful but effective style of acupuncture. Eventually it did go away. Sorry I can't offer more. anon
You need to have a head and neck specialist determine if you have Meniere's disease or benign positional vertigo b/c the treatment is different. With Meniere's a diuretic is sometimes prescribed to lower salt and fluid which can aggravate the vertigo. If the vertigo is really debilitating, surgery can be recommended. For benign positional vertigo (BPV) it is a matter of getting the little calcium particles back in position (in the inner ear). That's where the Epley's maneuver comes in. I had vertigo (BPV) really badly for a while, and this is what I ended up doing...Cut out alcohol, cut salt, generally ended up eating better, took Sudafed for exacerbations (really seems to help for unknown reasons), got better sleep and rest in general. Fatigue seems to aggravate it. Also limited caffeine.

It has been a couple years now, and I have fewer and less intense momentary feelings of vertigo. I also started doing the Epley maneuver once every AM b/c of the mildly persistant symptoms just to keep things alligned. One more thing, there is a product out called Lipoflavinoid for ''ear care'' and possibly meniere's. I take 2 per day, but can't really say it does anything and it is expensive. Vertigo can make you really desperate for relief. I had looked into new research and there was something about magnet therapy for BPV. Since mine improved, I never pursued it but you may want to. Good luck and I hope you get some relief soon. judi

Have you tried acupuncture for persistent vertigo?

Dec 2008

Hi, Anyone out there had any good experiences/outcomes in regards to using acupuncture as a means to elimate persistant symptoms of vertigo. (or any other helpful treatment for that matter). I've heard that acupuncture can help, but don't know anything more specific, or if there is a great Bay Area practitioner who can be recommended specifically for vertigo. Dizzy

I had vertigo which was intermittent but getting worse. At Kaiser the doctor printed out an article from the New England Journal of Medicine for me with some head exercises that treat the condition. You have to retrain your brain to interpret certain movements of the head that trigger the vertigo. Medicine that suppresses the vertigo makes the condition worse. (First the doctor makes sure you have nothing serious that is causing the vertigo.) The condition I had was called benign positional vertigo, a common condition. The exercises worked well and I have not had a recurrence. Judy
Dear Dizzy You have my heartfelt sympathy. I know about vertigo. It can be really challenging. You requested information about acupuncture or other treatment but didn't mention whether you have spoken with your primary care physician. Start with your PCP if you haven't already: recurring vertigo is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis. Hopefully that's not what is going on with you but there are treatments for MS now that can make a big difference. Good luck with it. Been Dizzy too
I suffered from vertigo for a couple of years. Initially i was responding to labyrinthitis, a viral infection of the middle ear. I tried vertigoheel which worked for a while, vestibular rehabilitation (for a short time), did the thing where an ENT manipulated the movement of the crystals in my ear (this works for some people). All of these things are ones you should try. Vertigo is the symptom of many possible ailments: menieres, labrynthitis, etc. You should also visit some internet forums where people post on their symptoms, possible cures, etc. One that i recall is called the Dizzy Lounge.

I went to see a well respected acupuncturist/herbalist in SF and he said that acupunture would be a waste of money but did prescribe for me some herbal teas which were a pain in the neck to make, horrible to drink, stank up the house and were expensive to boot. Drinking the teas probably helped boost my energy levels but did not resolve my vertigo (i did this for 2 months). However, i am now recovered from vertigo and the two things that helped me were: 1. taking a non-addictive sleeping aid to improve the quality of my sleep (my migraines disappeared), and taking very good care of myself (exercise, stress reduction, better eating), and probably most importantly: 2. trigger point release therapy. I went to see Beth Baron who is amazing for treating all kinds of muscular/pain issues. There are trigger points in the neck that can actually cause vertigo (i found this out after doing lots of research, reading on internet forums about vertigo). she's in berkeley (510- 551-9539) and she was able to manipulate the muscles in my neck to get rid of chronic trigger point inflammation and presto! my vertigo is pretty much gone. I don't take the sleeping aid anymore except when i'm feeling like i need a little help sleeping, but i do take care of myself better and go see Beth every month or two. i would definitely try her out. I wish you the best of luck, vertigo was no fun. Better now

I found acupuncture to be extremely effective for this! Would recommend Dr. Robert Zeiger near Ashby and Telegraph. His number is: 843-7397. Good luck! dizzy no more
Dizziness can be caused by many different symptoms, for a list see the Dizzy Lounge ( Figuring out the cause, much less the cure, can be quite a process. I have dizzy episodes that last about 6 weeks, then go away as mysteriously as they started. When this first happened, about 4 years ago, I went to my family doctor who thought it was the result of a flu and basically told me it would go away. It did after about a month. When it happened again, about 8 months later, I just lived with it. My spinning/dizziness is particularly strong when I just wake up, and seems less at night. But the times between dizzy episodes shortened, and so I went to the doctor again, and was prescribed Meclizine, which didn't work. The doctor then suggested I do a series of exercises which didn't help. (People who have BPPV, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, when calcium crystals either form in the inner ear or are moved by backwards head motion, can be helped by these exercises; many have been cured by a special procedure.) But this wasn't what I had. I went to the well-known dizziness specialist, Dr. Dear, at the California Ear Institute in Palo Alto ( He was very thorough in determining if this was an ear problem, another disease whose symptom just happened to be dizziness, or a neurological problem. That really is the first step. The process was, more or less covered by my insurance, although the tests he ordered were not. My primary care doctor was willing to agree to the tests, so I had those covered. There were a number of tests, culminating in an MRI. All came back negative. He thought that my problems were neurological, not directly related to the functioning of the ear, which could explain why many of the treatments I had tried, which I won't list here, didn't work. He suggested I do vestibular therapy, which are exercises, a kind of physical therapy to retrain the eyes towards better balance. He also said to see a neurologist who specializes in dizziness.

Both the doctors thought I had Migraine Associated Vertigo, even though I don't have a history of migraines and have no pain associated with my dizziness. I received a list of foods that trigger migraines and should be avoided, and Diazepam (valium) which has anti-seizure properties. The valium wasn't a help for me, I try to avoid certain foods, but about six months later, I have it again. It's not as strong and I just go about my daily life as best I can, but it does stop me from going on long hikes, car trips on windy roads, etc, etc. I went to a very good acupuncturist, after about 6 weeks of dizziness, and nothing immediately happened, but it did stop about a week or two later. I'm not sure if this was because of the treatment. I suspect that a combination of long hours at the computer, stress, and some kind of other trigger, when combined, makes me dizzy. It was a long road to my diagnosis, I'm not entirely sure it's correct, and I'm not completely cured. But I do know more than I wanted to about dizziness. Still Dizzy

In addition to balance exercises, there's a very simple, fairly recently developed, non-invasive maneuver your Ear-Nose-Throat doctor can do for you, if he/she knows about it, for BPV (benign positional vertigo). Typically, dizzy symptoms of BPV are brought on by rolling over in bed, getting up in the morning from a flat-lie-on-your-back position, or looking up to reach up to a high shelf or change a ceiling-light bulb. If that brings on vertigo for you, read on...

I had all the eye and audio tests and a brain scan done before getting this simple treatment, because, at the time, it was deemed necessary to rule out brain cancer and other tumors, first. I had been skeptical about this procedure, too, when a friend told me about it, because it sounded too much like magical thinking. And it took a while before I found a medical doctor who did the procedure. Now the technique is better known and acknowledged.

Current theory is that it re-positions the crystals in the ear which are stimulating nerve endings, to a more distant bend in the convoluted inner ear.

The procedure involved quickly assisting me to lie back, and then log rolling me over to one side, and then repeating the whole thing on the other side, because I had the condition in both ears. This made me initially excruciatingly dizzy, and I was advised to sleep with my head slightly elevated for 3 days, but then it was over. No more attacks. It's been several years with no trouble now. I can climb ladders again.

When my sister developed the same symptoms, we looked up BPV on the web, found a local ENT who did the procedure, and she never looked back.

Nowadays, the docs don't even do all that testing, first. This makes sense, because brain tumors don't get cured by rolling over. If the technique works, end of issue. Some people have to get a ''tune-up'' roll-over every five years. I consulted Llyod Ford, MD, 2121 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Suite G2, Walnut Creek. 925-932-3112. Maybe now, there's someone closer to you. Good Luck. Mimi

Sorry to be so behind in reading/posting. I had vertigo for 2 years (not the world-spinning kind, more like falling-sensations and dizzy when looking at things close-range) which turned out to be from Epstein-Barr contracted maybe a month prior. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs did help alleviate my symptoms somewhat, exercises from my head/neck surgeon didn't help at all. I really needed bed-rest which was impossible at the time... Good luck. *Anon.*

Preventing recurrances of vertigo

Nov 2007

I am interested in any resources for prevention of vertigo. I have had several episodes and am interested in any and all ideas for preventing recurrances. Alternative or more standard treatment ideas welcomed!! Dizzy

I had this once. It was labrynthitis and it can be caused by an ear infection. go to the doctor and get checked out for ear infections. I was VERY sick with it. A friend of mine had it also and it blew out her nose - she could never smell or taste again. Serious stuff. Go to a doctor. was sick too
I get vertigo because a head injury many years ago left me with Labyrinthitis. It flares up if my ears get irritated or I get a bad cold. Your vertigo may be due to another cause, but this is what I do and I hope it helps: 1- Keep ears itch free by keeping them clear of ear wax. I started taking Flax Seed Oil a few years ago and that also has helped my itchy ears and other skin issues. 2- If I start to get vertigo, I take Bonine. It really works and the over the counter stuff does not make me sleepy. 3- Get extra sleep and reduce any stress. Jeanne
Vertigo is generally caused by an ear problem or brain problem. Has your doctor already recommended 250 mg niacin (on an empty stomach) to make blood flush through the ear and brain area every evening? A B-complex vitamin can help, too, while you figure out the cause.

From the Merck manual:

Vertigo can be caused by disorders affecting the inner ear (including the semicircular canals), which enables the body to sense position and maintain balance. Vertigo may also be caused by disorders affecting the acoustic nerve which connects the inner ear to the brain, or disorders affecting the connections in the brain stem and the cerebellum, which also help control balance. Other disorders that cause vertigo by affecting the inner ear or its nerve connections include bacterial or viral infections (such as viral labyrinthitis, herpes zoster, and mastoiditis), Paget's disease, tumors (such as an auditory nerve tumor), inflammation of nerves, or use of drugs that damage the inner ear (such as aminoglycoside antibiotics, aspirin, the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, and certain diuretics, including furosemide).

A transient ischemic attack commonly causes vertigo when the blood supply through arteries to the brain stem, cerebellum, and back of the brain is reduced. This disorder is called vertebrobasilar insufficiency. The arteries affected include the vertebral arteries and basilar artery, which is formed when the two vertebral arteries join together in the back of the head. Less common disorders that cause vertigo by affecting the brain stem or cerebellum include multiple sclerosis, seizures, infections, and tumors growing in or near the base of the brain.

Occasionally, vertigo is caused by disorders that suddenly increase pressure within the skull. These disorders include benign intracranial hypertension, brain tumors, and bleeding within the skull.

Vertigo may be caused by damage to nerves in the neck. If these nerves are damaged, the brain has difficulty monitoring the relative position of the neck and trunk. This type of vertigo is called cervical vertigo. Whiplash injuries, blunt injuries to the top of the head, or severe arthritis in the neck (cervical spondylosis) may cause cervical vertigo.

Vertigo may be caused by drugs, including phenobarbital, phenytoin, and chlorpromazine. Excessive use of alcohol can also cause temporary vertigo.

As you can see, vertigo can be a symptom of something serious, so please try to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. An MRI should be the first step to rule out any brain or nerve problems. If you have HMO insurance and they try to brush you off, get a second opinion at your own expense ASAP. Survivor

Dizziness and low blood pressure while breastfeeding

Oct 2006

I am having some issues with severe dizziness, which persists throughout the day and can worsen upon standing. I was told by my doctor I have borderline low blood pressure. Several readings averaged about 90/40 (normally it's about 110/60). Blood tests, etc revealed no other issues.

I don't have accompanying nausea, or any other symptoms except fatigue. This could also be due to the fact the I have a 5 month old very avid nurser (every 2.5-3 hrs all day/night). My doctor recommends adding more salts (like Gatorade drinks) and some moderate caffeine intake. I would like to avoid too much of this for obvious health/BF'ing reasons.

Has anyone experienced these symptoms? Wondering if there are any solutions out there other than staying hydrated and getting more rest (I wish!). light-headed

I had similar problems and was put on Iron supplements.Ask your doctor. It worked for me Redwood City mom
I really do not want to worry you if possible but you do need to have this looked into further by your doctor. Last year my 37 year old husband had unexplained low blood pressure for about a year and finally his doctor ordered an echocardiogram. Turns out one of his heart valves had a congenital defect that we were unaware of. The doc said that undiagnosed he would have started developing symtoms of fatique and dizziness. I know that this does not mean that you necessarily have a defective heart valve but it is worth looking into. My husband did have to get a mechanical valve put in this January and all is well now. Because he is so healthy and young otherwise the surgery and recovery went amazingly well! He was back to work in 3 weeks and running again in 6-7 weeks. Our bodies are amazing but it helps to catch things early. Please push your doc for more tests or find a new doc. There has to be a reason you blood pressure has changed...Good luck to you.
It sounds like you may have neurally mediated hypotension, a condition in which signals in your body get confused so that when you sit or stand up, blood pools in your legs rather than rushing to your brain as it should. The standard medical test for this is called the tilt test. Salt and water is the safest way to treat it--and I mean lots of salt, preferably by swallowing salt tablets, and lots of water, about a gallon per day. Thermotabs, available at medical supply stores, are usually the best tolerated salt tablets. (Personally, I couldn't tolerate those either, so I just put tons of salt on my food.) There is also a prescription medication, Florinef, which is a steroid that helps retain fluid in your blood. I doubt very much that it is safe during breastfeeding, however. An natural remedy which is supposed to have a similar effect is licorice root--I don't know its safety during breastfeeding however, so I wouldn't recommend it unless cleared by a knowledgeable practitioner. So salt and water is your best bet. Good luck! Ellen
R.E. Dizziness and low blood pressure. Doctors just love it when you have low blood pressure, don't they? That's been my experience. I was prone to dizziness when I was nursing, although, perhaps, not as bad as what you are experiencing. Drinking very strong ginger tea could help to a certain extent.
My husband has vasovagal syncope -- common fainting -- where he would get a ''weird feeling'' not unlike dizziness due to lack of blood to the brain. Twice he passed out completely, which was so scary! He had extremely low blood pressure and a very low resting pulse (like in the high 30s or low 40s), so his doctor put him on the anti-anxiety medication Effexor -- apparently one of its off-label uses is for this type of fainting. It has almost completely cured the problem. Oh, and his doctor said to ''salt everything'' and to stay extremely hydrated. I wish you luck! anon

Husband's unexplained dizziness/nausea

Oct 2006

I'd love some advice about how to ''cure'' or at least improve my husband's unexplained dizziness and nausea. Over a year ago he was in the dentist's chair and had to get up mid-treatment since he felt very dizzy and like he was going to throw up. It turns out that the low frequency drill she was using disturbed his inner ear crystals and caused those problems. He saw two ENT doctors in San Francisco and also went to his primary care physician, went through numerous tests, etc. but they were unable to find a treatment since they couldn't really pinpoint the problem. It's been over a year and he still gets the dizziness and nausea (and things like a change in weather seem to cause his symptoms to worsen). Has anyone had something like this? What did you do to either resolve the problem or at least make it more manageable so you didn't feel so awful all the time? anon

I don't want to scare you but has your husband had an MRI? It might be a good idea to check with a neurologist. anon
Your husband may have Meniere's disease. It's an imbalance of the fluids in the chambers of the inner ear, causing severe vertigo (spinning) and nausea. It has no identified cause, and it can come on without warning. (Perhaps it was coincidence it happened at the dentist's chair.) It can be treated with diuretics (Maxide, Diamox), low salt and no/low caffeine and alcohol diets, and big doses of B-Complex vitamins. It cannot be cured. Attacks are treated with Antivert (also called Bonine, sold over the counter next to the Dramamine) (but Dramamine doesn't help), and Valium or Atavan or other low-grade tranquilizers. In some cases, injections of steriods will help.

I have the disease and my ENT installed tubes -- I use steriod ear drops to control the swelling in my inner ear and it works great. Read more at and

There is a similar condition in which the inner ear structure gets out of whack and the ENT has to move and jerk the head in a certain sequence to get it back in order. If the ENTS haven't explored these possibilities, time to find someone else. I use Dr. William Lewis in Oakland on Pill Hill.

When I was first being diagnosed, my first ENT had me go through MRIs and blood tests. It's possible that the symptoms you describe come from a miniature stroke, or latent otic diseases (even Syphyliis). While unlikely, if the ENTs didn't get MRIs and blood tests, you shoud get those, too Peter

I have suffered from dizziness since my early teens. My final diagnosis was Benign Positional Vertigo. Which means the dizziness occurs when I move my head. The nausea is from the dizziness. When you mentioned the crystals that made me think his problem may be similar to mine.

My life was changed by a very simple exercise. You sit on the edge of the bed and lean to the left until you are on your side. Then you move all the way to the right until you are on your right side. Then you sit up in the middle and go the opposite direction. Do this 10 times, repeat several times a day. I swear I now rarely suffer from vertigo. It may be difficult when you are in the middle of an episode but do try it.

After suffering for years a doctor gave me this exercise and it changed my life. I believe you can do a search on the web for benign position vertigo and find a diagram of the exercise. There may be other exercises, but this one worked for me. Good Luck. odjay

I think what your husband has is called BPPV (benign positional vertigo). I too have it. I have also been to 3 ENTs and 4 neurologists. The ENT's cannot do anything about it because usually when you go to see them, you are well and not dizzy. If you are dizzy, they should be able to tell you what ear is effected by your eye movements (nystagmus). You are right; the ''crystals'' in your husband's ear have become disloged, surgery is risky and has a lot of drawbacks BUT there is something you can do on your own. It is called the EPLEY maneuver (some positional head movements that get reroute the dislodged crystals back to where they belong).

If you can get in to see your ENT when you are dizzy, he/she can do it or you can help your husband. google ''epley maneuver'' and there are many sites that will walk you through the steps. It is amazingly simple and it works! Also, not sure if your husband is waking up with this but not sleeping on the effected ear helps also. If you are not sure what ear, do the EPLEY for both and see which one helps. Good luck, I know how frustrating this can be! anon

Has he had his sinuses checked? When my husband had these symptoms (after a wet winter) a cat scan revealed a bad sinus infection in a cavity in the back of his head. I know it doesn't relate to the dentist but I thought I'd mention it. Antibiotics cleared it up eventually. Good luck! KB
It sounds like Meniere's Disease to me. I am not a doctor, but my dad has a mild form of the disease. You can check the website at If you have any questions, email me. Good luck! Rie
Maybe these are either panic attacks or Meniere's Disease? Good luck
You should see if one of the ENT's (or even your primary physician)can make a referral to a physical therapist who specializes in vestibular (inner ear) disorders. Andrea Clark is thespecialist who works at Alta Bates. Your husband may have a form of BPPV (benign paroxsymal positional vertigo) or other disorder, which usually responds very well to appropriate treatment (usually a series of positional exercises, etc). Often people who experience this type of dizziness may also have secondary problems with balance and can have reduced neck range of motion and tight neck muscles as a result of trying to avoid getting dizzy. There is also a vestibular disorder clinic at UCSF, but I would try more local first. a (non vestibular expert) physical therapist
If this truly is a problem with the crystals in the inner ear, there might be a simple solution. I have had this problem, called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, a few times, and I have used a simple maneuver to make it go away completely each time. I have lost the article that explained the maneuver, but here is one reference to some similar maneuvers:

Googling ''vertigo'' and ''maneuver'' will bring up quite a few of these maneuvers, each with a different name. The idea of the maneuvers is to get the loose crystals to travel through the inner ear to a place where they won't cause any more trouble. Good luck to your husband! anon

Your husband, & you, have my understanding & sympathy. I had the same symptoms for over four years. Here's what worked for me. As you will see, I needed attention to a variety of issues. // 1. Both acupuncture treatments & Feldenkrais classes helped abate the symptoms. // 2. Four years after the vertigo began, my new ENT doc referred me to physical therapy to determine if my vertigo was caused by displaced ear crystals (Halpike-Dix test).

The test was positive & the treatment (Epley Maneuver) worked. It took several weekly treatments before I completely stabilized; subsequently I was able to deal with vertigo onset by doing exercises the PT taught me. // 3. Even after she had correctly diagnosed & treated the crystal displacement, she could induce vertigo in some positions; plus I had frequent headaches. She observed that I carried my shoulders & head slumped slightly forward & explained that the resulting tension in my neck muscles was causing the headache as well as compressing the channel through which some major nerve passes. She showed me how to balance my head on my neck & taught me simple exercises. Bingo. No more headaches & no more vertigo! // If you need a very discerning physical therapist, I recommend Deena Levy. She's worked with vertigo & has seen things work & not work for a variety of people. She practices near downtown Berkeley; 510.510.7816 or moveeasy [at] // 4. I discovered last year I'm allergic to wheat. When I stopped eating it, my persistent nausea stopped. I still had the vertigo but what a relief. If you want to explore food allergies, you might call naturopathic doc Clare Garcia. For a remarkably low cost, she can get you tested for allergies to a hundred or so foods. She practices on Piedmont Ave in Oakland; 510.410.1087 or I got a new lease on life from her treatments for a hormone imbalance & lethargy. // 5. Notice whether your husband is despairing about finding solutions. After two years of vertigo, I was severely depressed & went on an anti-depressant. As I felt better, I had the energy & mental clarity to pursue things that together have made all the difference in my healing. // Best wishes to you both ann

I think your husband should keep a record of every time he gets the headaches and dizziness and write down a description of when it happens, if anything helps or make the symptoms worse, and any other relevant features. Describe the dizziness; is he light headed or is the room spinning? Does he have sensitivity to light or headaches with these symptoms? He should ask his doctor for a referral to a neurologist. Randall Starkey and associates are an excellent neurology practice, Judy
I had a recurring problem with vertigo that I think was similar to your husband's for many years, but haven't had it for many years. Mine could come on at any time, sometimes for just a few hours, sometimes for days. It was very very unpleasant to say the least.

My doctor at the time (a GP, not an ENT) told me it was a benign condition in the ear (I can't remember what), and suggested that I take Meclizine when it bothered me.

Meclizine is sold OTC as Bonine for motion sickness and is very sedating, but I found that just a tiny bit worked great for me.

I don't know why the problem went away, and it's been so long that I can't give you a connection with anything else in my life, but, thankfully, it did stop anon

I didn't see your original post and I know you have had many responses about your husband. But I wanted to let you know that some people experience dizziness and nausea together as the ''aura'' before a seizure. My husband was experiencing those symptoms for 2-3 weeks before he had a seizure. He hadn't even talked about those symptoms because he thought he was just tired. As soon as he was put on anti-seizure meds, he did not experience those things any longer. I'm not saying your husband has the same condition, but if he has ever had seizures before, even long ago, it might be worth mentioning to a neurologist. Anon