It seems the more I talk to people, especially women, the more I realize how many of us are silently suffering from vertigo. Anyone who’s had it knows how debilitating it is and how difficult it is to find answers. I’ve been on this journey on and off for the last fourteen years, and it’s maddening at times. That’s why I wanted to share more about my experience with this, hoping it may help you or someone you know.
Vertigo is a sense of whirling and loss of balance usually caused by the inner ear (BPPV) or the vestibular nerve. Vertigo is a symptom, and finding the cause is often a long, arduous process. I’ve dealt with this on and off for the last fourteen years and have shared my journey here a few times. This previous bout lasted two months, and some days were so debilitating I couldn’t drive, eat, or do simple tasks.
I am not a doctor, just someone who has pushed over every stone to find answers. This is my personal experience: take what you want or find useful. I created a Vertigo Checklist and will go into each below in further detail.
*Before you start this list, hydrate, heat, and do basic upper body stretches.
1-First and foremost, seeing your primary care physician and getting a full panel of blood work is critical. I was low on Vitamin D, which can cause inner ear issues and vertigo. If you are low in a nutrient often, dizziness is a symptom. They may advise you to see an ENT after this appointment, which I have done a few times.
2- If you are a woman and in perimenopause or menopause, see your OBGYN. Hormones can also play a role in inner ear issues as well. My first trimester with my second son is when this all started in 2009. The vertigo was so bad I ended up in the ER. They sent me home and said everything looked fine. I’ll share more towards the end of what helped. Ask your doctor about HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and what the benefits and risks are. I follow Dr. Mary Claire-The Pause Life on TikTok. Her feed has been invaluable.
3- Look At Your Diet. Make sure you’re drinking enough water and getting enough electrolytes. Gluten and dairy can cause inflammation. Other things to watch or modify during this time are salt, alcohol, and caffeine. They all aid in the inner ear imbalance. The coffee was the hardest to modify, but my stomach was so queasy that I often gave up my much-anticipated afternoon cup anyway. Also, make sure you are getting enough protein.
4- Keep a Journal. This is so simple yet so helpful. When you have a good day, you can look back and see what you ate and drank, how you slept, and if you stretched and used a heating pad. The same goes for if you have a bad day. You will start to see a pattern.
5- Seek Holistic Treatments. If you have chronic headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and/or tightness and are comfortable seeing a chiropractor, this is a great next step. You can also see a therapeutic masseuse. They will find your pressure points and give you instant relief. Check reviews and make sure they have credentials. Your vertigo could be linked to the greater exciple nerve at the base of your skull. And if you work at a computer all day like I do, then this video is very helpful in explaining how everything is connected, even jaw pain (TMJ) and ear fullness. This makes perfect sense because when I had it in 2009, the chiropractor was the only thing that helped.
6-Follow Up With ENT if you haven’t already.
7- See A Neutrolgist.
*****This one isn’t on the list, but it is a must. Find the right pillow. This is a follow-up to #5. I tied a headband around the middle of a flat pillow for a little more fullness in the center. Then, that part goes under my head.
After all of these steps, I can safely assume my vertigo is/was hormonal, causing inner ear imbalance, but my ongoing vestibular issues played a role, too. My consistent headaches, head pressure, and TMJ have been bad for a while. Seeing a chiropractor and therapeutic massage therapist and my PT exercises have helped that greater exciple nerve. I feel like I’m back on the right track. Fingers crossed.
This last bout of vertigo came from stress. I am sure of that. I had a work deadline that was literally mission impossible. Of course, I figured it out and overworked myself to the point of exhaustion. It was a wake-up call. Nothing is worth compromising your health. Be sure to take care of yourself. Because, unfortunately, no one else is going to. Go for walks and try to find peace in your day. And make that doctor’s appointment.
I hope this information helps. As always, seeking advice from a physician is always best. I know what it’s like to be in the day-to-day of vertigo with no place to start. Drop any questions below. I am happy to answer what I can.
Have a happy day, friend.