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Inner Ear Vertigo – Vertigo while flying

 Inner Ear Vertigo

 

Inner Ear VertigoInner Ear Vertigo refers to an abnormal sensation wherein the individual constantly feels that things around him are moving.  This feeling of constant motion hampers their balance and makes them unsteady. Individuals combating vertigo often feel that things are tilted or they are swaying. This affects their ability to navigate or balance themselves. Effects of vertigo could range from minor annoyance to life disrupting medical condition.

Difference between Vertigo and Fear of Height

Many people use the terms vertigo and fear of heights interchangeably, however these two terms are distinctly different from one another. Fear of heights is termed as Acrophobia. Vertigo on the other hand refers to imbalanced gravitational force whereby the patient feels things around him move constantly.

Fear of heights or Acrophobia arises from a mental block, whereas Vertigo is usually caused by an underlying medical condition. Sometimes the causes may be unknown.

CAUSES

Vertigo is usually caused by imbalance between the ear and the brain. Ear and the brain work in close harmony to monitor the balance in our body. Several situations may cause vertigo. Feeling of unsteady motion can last for few hours, days, weeks or even months.

  • Head Injury: some patients may experience Vertigo after a head injury. This usually happens when there is a head blow or deep impact on the nerves in your brain.
  • Vestibular neuritis: Vestibular neuritis refers to an infection that occurs in the vestibule nerve. It generally occurs after sinus, cold, Flu or any other condition that causes infection in the upper respiratory tract.
  •   Labyrinthitis: Labyrinth refers to the peripheral system of cavities and canals that run along your inner nerve.  When these capillaries or cavities are infected due to one or more reason then it is termed as Labyrinthitis. This infection affects the sensory nerves that interact with the brain and hence you may feel that things are in constant motion.
  • Meniere’s disease:  this condition is caused by malfunctioning of the internal capillaries in the ear.  Patients suffering from this condition often experience a ringing sensation in their ears. This sensation increases gradually and leads to hear loss. Patients may even experience nausea and vomiting sensation.
  • Migraine:  chronic migraine can lead to onset of Vertigo and its symptoms. Patient may experience sense of motion or dizziness. This feeling could be temporary and may last for few minutes, weeks, days or even months.

SYMPTOMS

Individuals combating Vertigo may experience a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms may be mild or they could be annoyingly intense. Some of the common symptoms for vertigo are:

  • A spinning sensation or sensation of constant motion about your surroundings
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Inability to balance yourself
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • Inability to walk normally or navigate normally
  • Earache

These symptoms may be occasional or persistent depending on the gravity of causes.

 

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How is it Diagnosed?

Many patients confuse Vertigo with Acrophobia and hence, it becomes imperative to clinically diagnose the symptoms.  Your health practitioner may ask you several questions related to the symptoms to understand the gravity of the situation. You can expect questions like when does the spinning sensation occur, how long does it last, is there anything that makes the sensation worse or better etc. your health practitioner may also ask about your clinical history and recommend a physical examination to diagnose vertigo. Other investigative tests would include neurological exam, hearing test, Dix-hall pike test, CT scan and MRI.

TREATMENT

Since vertigo is caused due to an underlying medical condition, it is essential that the medical condition be treated for subsequent treatment of Vertigo. Vertigo treatments greatly depend on the factors that cause vertigo, patient’s age and the gravity of the situation. Usually antibiotics, exercises and maneuvers are helpful in treating Vertigo.

  • Labyrinthitis:  if Labyrinthitis is the underlying cause of Vertigo then your doctor would prescribe you certain types of antibiotics that would combat the infection and help you in curing the underlying medical condition.
  • Drugs like Meclizine or diazepam and Prochlorperazine can be effective in dealing with symptoms associated with Vertigo. Please note that these medicines are only for treating the symptoms and not for treating Vertigo.
  • Surgery: surgical removal of infected area can sometimes be the only solution to treat Vertigo. This is generally used a last resort when antibiotics and exercises are unable to curb the infection.

PREVENTION

There are certain medicines or alternative therapies that can reduce the frequency and duration of Vertigo. These medicines can work by focusing on areas that trigger vertigo and work on them. Medicines used for preventing Vertigo attacks are similar to the medications used for preventing or controlling motion sickness. Use of antihistamines is also common in prevention of Vertigo attacks. Medicines for vertigo can be prescribed for 3 days to 14 days. If you experience recurrent attacks then it is important to consult your doctor. Some of the medications may also cause side-effects like constipation, drowsiness, fatigue.

Physiotherapy can also help in preventing Vertigo. Physiotherapists can train you in synchronizing movements of your eyes and hands and legs to combat the feeling of spinning or constant motion. Regular physiotherapy sessions can enhance overall co-ordination of your body and help you to regain your balance amidst the spinning sensations.

Other precautions

Simple precautions can help you to prevent recurrent Vertigo attacks.  Some of these simple precautions are

  • Sleeping with your head held slightly higher than the rest of your body. Use of multiple pillows to elevate your head can prevent occurrence of top shelf vertigo.
  • Do not look down or up immediately. Co-ordinate your movements and slowly raise your head or bend your shoulder.
  • If you need to pick up anything, do not bend directly. This will cause the blood to gush to your brain. Instead lower yourself using your legs and try to pick up things. Avoid bending to an extent where your head is below your shoulders.

You must exercise caution and consult your medical practitioner immediately if you notice any symptoms that can be associated with inner ear vertigo. You could also visit a therapist, who could help you to co-ordinate your hands and eyes to gain balance in situations where you sense excessive motion or spinning sensation around you.

 

 

 

 

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