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 Motorcycle Safety
 Aging and Disabilities
 Vertigo
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Cash Anthony
Female Administrator
1465 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Honda

Magna 750

Posted - 06/27/2011 :  5:28 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend                        Like
It's interesting what kind of pain we can tolerate, or not. I've just spent three weeks dealing with vertigo, and it was becoming more than tiresome, not to mention that I've fallen over three times.

While it's not the most painful thing I've ever experienced--far from it--it's been one of the most "disabling," in that I've been truly "unbalanced" because of it. By dint of concentration and extreme care, I've managed to walk once I was fully awake and had spent a few minutes moving around very slowly; but bending over, carrying liquids, picking up objects, and so forth exacerbated it so much that I had to stop doing those things completely.

I understand now why some people become suicidal from vertigo (and, in my case, extraordinary sensitivity to sound, especially loud or high-pitched sounds, and the constant ear-ringing and/or whine that came with it). Today it's suddenly improved dramatically, and I can now discern that one of my Eustacian tubes and perhaps some sinuses have been completely blocked, because I can feel them becoming un-blocked now.

Since I had no other symptoms of anything before this came on, I investigated everything I could think of: two changes in medications, higher blood pressure (but then it went down to normal again), saltier foods, a fan on high in the bedroom... I don't know what caused it and will still see an ENT later this week; but I'm certainly glad to see some improvement, as needless to say, there's been no motorcycling while I've been in this state.

A friend told me recently that it took her ten years to recover from her case of vertigo! It would really be discouraging if I thought I couldn't ride my bike for that long and could only hope it would get better. In fact, it would mean selling the bike.

Of course, some people would probably say "unbalanced" should be a familiar feeling for me, but I'm certainly glad to be overcoming this.


Cash

brooks10
Male Standard Member
136 Posts


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Buell

XB12X

Posted - 07/31/2011 :  2:13 AM
I hope your bout with vertigo is waning. If you are still unable to ride or move around much I'd like to recommend a novel written by Paul Auster and published in 1994 called "Mr. Vertigo". It might give you a lighter perspective on your problem.

Good luck!
Steve
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Cash Anthony
Female Administrator
1465 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Honda

Magna 750

Posted - 07/31/2011 :  8:06 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Thanks for the book referral, Steve. I'm over it now!

I had visited an ENT recommended by my (former) family doctor about three weeks ago and got absolutely no satisfaction from that three-hour wait and three-minute exam. (I say "former", because when I called back to my family doctor and said I was unhappy about that referral and wanted to come in to see him instead, I was told to go back to the ENT I had just said I wasn't happy with! Not the first time we've had such a problem with getting a referral to one of his "buddies" who didn't offer the kind of treatment we wanted. By that I mean, this first ENT decided I needed weeks of treatment learning certain exercises in his "balance clinic", which was simply a way to make $$$. You get a pretty good idea about these guys when they're also offering dermabrasion, laser face-lifts, and other expensive, non-insured cosmetic procedures out of their specialty. When you live in Houston near one of the best medical centers in the world, there's no reason to put up with this. And we won't, any more. Time for a new family doctor.)

Went to a second ENT in the med center the following week, where I got a totally different response, an insightful diagnosis, and was told the vertigo could be fixed in six minutes if, after testing, the ENT's diagnosis was borne out. A few days later I had about three hours of tests (which were actually quite fascinating), waited another few days for the results of the tests to pass, allowing my ears to "settle," and went back for the six-minute treatment.

The ear pain turned out to be jaw pain, which localized after I took the second ENT's suggestion of putting heat on it; and a root canal took care of that problem. The dizziness persisted, though.

The treatment for that involved literally shaking my head while it was down in a very low position relative to my body, then letting the calcium crystal deposits which had been disturbed move back onto a shelf in the inner ear where they belonged. Then I stayed in that position for two minutes. Did the same with the other ear, stayed down for two minutes, and then flipped over on my stomach for one last two-minute period. Voila!

I had to wear a neck brace for the next three days and couldn't move my head up or down, had to sleep sitting up, etc., to make sure the treatment worked. It did. No problems since.

This kind of vertigo is pretty common in older folks, it turns out. I don't know how the calcium crystal deposits get moved -- didn't have a knock on the head, for example -- but they do move around sometimes. They act something like the little pieces of "snow" in a toy snow-scene that's inside a glass dome.

Now I can bend over without crashing into walls. And I'm really looking forward to getting back on my motorcycle this coming week!


Cash
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brooks10
Male Standard Member
136 Posts


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Buell

XB12X

Posted - 07/31/2011 :  12:02 PM
Glad to hear that you have recovered. My GP recently retired. I'd been seeing him occasionally for over 40 years and he was always ready to explain things in layman's terms and pursue avenues of treatment that didn't involve medication if possible. My current GP seems to be very knowledgeable but simply doesn't have the time or ability to simplify his explanations. I think that the reassurance you get from a doctor you trust is an important part of any healing process.

Steve
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twc
Male Advanced Member
836 Posts
[Mentor]


Fort Collins, CO
USA

Harley-Davidson

Electra Glide Ultra

Posted - 08/01/2011 :  2:26 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Cash Anthony

The dizziness persisted, though.
...
The treatment for that involved literally shaking my head while it was down in a very low position relative to my body, then letting the calcium crystal deposits which had been disturbed move back onto a shelf in the inner ear where they belonged. Then I stayed in that position for two minutes. Did the same with the other ear, stayed down for two minutes, and then flipped over on my stomach for one last two-minute period. Voila!

Cash,

Glad you're feeling better.

My wife had the same problem and success with the same treatment. It's amazing how something that causes significant debilitation can be remedied with so simple a solution, something you can do on your own once taught how to do it. We were fortunate in having good medical care wherein the symptoms were recognized immediately and the treatment applied.

Have you noticed that our doctors are all younger than we are now?
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Cash Anthony
Female Administrator
1465 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Honda

Magna 750

Posted - 08/01/2011 :  10:22 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I'm happy to have doctors who are younger and trained in the latest techniques.

The older guys (and ladies) who still see me get one question on every visit: "You aren't thinking of retiring any time soon, are you?" I like being able to maintain relationships with the good ones, and fortunately, so far the oldsters tell me, "I'm in good health myself and I love what I do, so for now I'm not going any place."

That's good, 'cause I sure am seeing them all a lot more often these days.


Cash
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Thom49
Male Junior Member
32 Posts


Sacramento, CA
USA

Yamaha

2004 Virago 250vxc

Posted - 08/03/2011 :  7:07 PM
Glad to hear you're better, Cash.
Speaking about doctors and medical care, I just started a book, "How Doctors Think" by Jerome Groopman, M.D. I've only finished the introduction, but I think it will be a good read for anyone interested in better doctor/patient communications. Understanding how doctors think can help you not only in picking a good doctor but picking the doctor's mind and ultimately appropriate/better care.
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Woody Catchum
Male Starting Member
3 Posts


Ventura, CA
USA

Yamaha

Burgman 650 Exec

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  5:42 PM
I too am glad that you are better. A few years ago, I had a bout of dizziness. After a few weeks it passed. I was lucky. I am fearful that it will return. Can you give more detail of the 6 minute procedure?

Thanks,
oldnavywarrior@gmail.com
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2081 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  6:42 PM
I would be interested in learning a bit more about it myself. My mom, soon to be 89 (she admits to 36), experiences vertigo from time to time. I would like to ask her doctor to look into this procedure. If it has a name that would be fine, I am willing to do the legwork.
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Cash Anthony
Female Administrator
1465 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Honda

Magna 750

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  9:48 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I've done some research online after seeing my ENT, and I now see that there's a process you can do at home to remedy this.

First, though, I do recommend seeing an ENT since the problem could be something other than benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), such a tumor on the auditory nerve and various other things. My ENT did about three hours of testing to rule out such things, as well as test my hearing. (I was glad that he did this, since I feel a lot better about 23 years of riding at highway speeds without hearing protection not having done too much damage so far -- but I still recommend that people use ear plugs.)

Here's a link to an article about this, saying it's the most common cause of dizziness among people over 50 -- where your "ear rocks" move out of position.

There is a procedure you can do at home called the Epley Maneuver, and there are several videos online that show you what to do. When the ENT did it, it was probably done a little more precisely than what I'm doing now, and it lasted about 10 days. Now I do it every three or four days if I feel at all woozy, though it's not come back as severely except for one morning. It bothers me more depending on what position I sleep in, or how much bouncing around I do when I'm exercising.

The first couple of times I did it at home, I asked Jim to come and shake my head and time me in the right position for the requisite number of minutes. (My ENT timed me for two minutes in each position, but the videos indicate that 30 seconds is enough.) Then I slept upright for a couple of nights wearing my neck brace, just as I had done after the ENT did it. He was very clear about not leaning over, lying down, or looking up for two to three days afterwards, so that I didn't have to come back in.

Now I'm feeling a lot more comfortable about doing it alone, after seeing these videos, and I just try not to move my head up or down for the rest of the day without wearing the brace.

About 80 percent of people who experience this problem do get relief by using the Epley Maneuver, whether they do it themselves or have a doctor do it for them; but I also read that about 50 percent of the people who see improvement also need to do it more than once.

It appears from some articles that this is something that you can gradually adjust to -- that is, after you keep doing the maneuver, the problem seems to go away, or else you become less sensitive to it (I'm not sure which).

If you do try to shake someone else's head to help them, particularly an elderly person, you want to do it very gently, as some people have fragile necks. I have an artificial disk in mine, but I knew Jim would be careful when he did it.

The main thing I've found is that you have to move pretty quickly from one position to the next one as you do this, and then you need to hang your head over (face down) for a couple of minutes afterwards, without moving it, and then sit up quickly so that everything gets put back into place.

It's rather interesting that all of us have about a thousand "ear rocks" in each ear normally! They're there to help us recognize the horizon when our heads tilt. I thought at first they were abnormal and thought maybe there was something else to do (i.e., medication) that could get rid of them besides moving them around.

In severe cases, ENTs can do surgery to remove the ear rocks from the fluid where they get trapped in the wrong place, but I think it's very rare that anyone has to have that kind of treatment for this.

Hope this helps.


Cash
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