Inside a Vertigo Attack

I had a vertigo attack last night, Feb 1, 2012. They are disorienting and uncomfortable. Since most of you, thankfully, will never experience them, I thought you might like to know what they are like.

For me, they start with saccades. Saccades are involuntary very rapid side-to-side eye movements. They are my nystagmus vertigo on speed. When I say very rapid, think 80-100 miles per hour. That’s what it feels like to me. I have no idea what it looks like to other people, because I’m effectively blind. I can’t see print, because my eyes can’t keep up with what’s in front of them, no matter how large the print is. I can’t see where I’m going, because my ocular reflex no longer works from either eye.

If I’m just slightly dehydrated, and I catch the saccades in time, I can drink a half-liter of water, and stop the nystagmus. I thought I did that yesterday, an hour before my vertigo attack. Even though I kept drinking, it was not enough. The saccades stopped temporarily, but returned. Sometimes, I can stop them by looking at my fixed-gaze point, which is up and to the left. Remember, it’s my right ear which is damaged. That didn’t work yesterday.

Once the saccades start, I have 3-5 minutes before the whirlies start. The saccades mean I have no control over what my eyes see. That disorientation and my lack of ocular-vestibular reflex is what causes the whirlies and the stomach upset.

With the saccades, what I see is suspect. I can no longer detect up from down, or what is on my right side or left side. Falling down is a real possibility.

I was able to turn off most of the lights in my office and turn down the heat. I discovered this morning I had turned it all the way down. It’s a good thing it’s a mild winter. I would have been quite cold this morning and my office would have taken hours to warm up. And, I did make it upstairs before I had to vomit the first time.

I walked with my cane, holding onto my bookcase and the wall. The room was whirling by this time. I could only think, “Let me get upstairs, let me get upstairs before I have to throw up.”

When the saccades started yesterday, of course I had to go to the bathroom. Of course! My stomach was already queasy.

And, the question is this: which business do I take care of first? This is not an easy question to answer. Once the vomiting starts, I can’t stop it. I opted to sit first, hoping I could finish before I had to vomit. It’s sort of funny in retrospect. I was able to complete that business before I vomited. I was delighted because I did not want to vomit all over myself. Of course, I did not want to do anything else all over myself either. Which is worse? Both are smelly and stinky. I’m laughing as I read this now. I was not yesterday.

I don’t understand bulimics. I understand wanting to lose weight. I don’t understand wanting to make yourself vomit. I find it so uncomfortable. Maybe because when I have a vertigo attack, it seems as if my tummy says, “Everything must go.” Maybe bulimics can limit themselves. The best comparison I have is getting ready for a colonoscopy. That’s an “everything must go” activity also, except it all goes in one direction. I do prefer that direction.

And, of course, the vertigo attack vomiting is uncontrollable. The best thing I can do is get to the kitchen sink or the bathroom in time. I vomited three times downstairs and thought I was done. I was ready for a nap, so I went upstairs to sleep off the rest of the attack. In the past, when I’m done vomiting, I sleep for 1-3 hours, and I’m okay again.

I wasn’t quite done. It took another two more times to empty my stomach. When I say empty, I mean empty. I walked to the bathroom holding onto the wall, because I still have the saccades, have the dry heaves, and then my stomach says, “Oh, okay, you are now officially empty. You may sleep now.”

I didn’t dare drink anything yet, even though I knew I was dehydrated. I knew I would just throw it up. No, not even my beloved water. It’s not worth the aggravation. I barely even rinsed my mouth out, because it irritates my stomach. What works is sleep. So, I slept for an hour.

When I awoke, the saccades were gone. As soon as they are gone, it’s time to start drinking again. Slowly.

I came back downstairs and started with diet ginger ale and water. Slowly. I managed to drink for a couple of hours and then I finally felt hungry enough to eat a protein bar. If I thought I could have made it downstairs, I would have had a shake instead. I didn’t think I could make it down the stairs to get a shake and get back upstairs without falling down. Of course, Mark is out of town so I couldn’t ask him for help.

That’s when the feelings start rushing in. I’m over the attack part. I’ve lived through the immediacy of it, and I start thinking, “How can I live the rest of my life like this?” It’s damn scary.

When it’s time to go to bed for real, I’m almost re-hydrated. I’m tired, because my body and my emotions have been through the wringer. I’m sort-of hungry, but not enough to eat any more. I’m almost afraid of eating, and happy that the bar I ate is in my tummy, being digested.

The post-vertigo attack symptoms are scary, too. My tinnitus in my right ear always changes for a while, and this time was no exception. It woke me up this morning at 3am. A parenthetical thought: it could have waited until 7am, when I was already awake. My balance is much worse than it was yesterday morning, and will stay that way for a few days.

What really hits me is the isolation. Very few people know what a vertigo attack feels like. I try to describe it, and even my doctors look at me like I’m nuts.

I try not to think of the future, because that’s too damn scary. How can I think of the next 10 or 20 or 30 years like this? I had a great pity party in the shower this morning. I hate to admit it, but I’ve had a couple more since then, between my tasks this morning. When I finish this page, I’ll have one more. And, then, no more until tonight.

I wish I could leave you on an upbeat note, but a vertigo attack is not an upbeat occasion. The most upbeat thing I can say is, thank goodness they don’t happen every day or last more than a couple of hours.

Looking back on this writeup, I was exhibiting the first two forms of emotional resilience during the attack. I was keeping myself healthy by taking care of my physical needs (form 1), and making sure I didn’t make a physical mess.

The second form of emotional resilience was problem solving during and right after the attack. I have had too much experience with vertigo attacks, so I know a little about what to expect. Even so, being able to think through the problem as it is occurring helps me feel more as if I am in charge and less like a victim. Maybe that can help you, too.

Some of you have commented below because you have found this page because you have had your first vertigo attack. I hope it is your last vertigo attack. Here are some things you can do:

  1. As Douglas Adams would say in the Hitchhikers Guide books, “Don’t Panic.” I know, that’s hard to do.
  2. If you have not called your primary care physician, do so.
  3. If you have not called an ENT, and Ear Nose & Throat doctor, call one now. An ENT is your first step towards a real diagnosis. You do not know what is causing your vertigo. You don’t know if this is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, or if this is an ongoing problem. You can live with just about anything, but you will manage your life differently, depending on what the problem is.
  4. Once your immediate attack has stopped and your stomach has calmed down, drink enough water to rehydrate yourself.  I recommend plain tap water. But drink whatever you can keep down. Sometimes, I drink diet ginger ale. Ginger ale with sugar can trigger another vertigo attack for me.
  5. Watch your sugar and salt intake. If you eat too much sugar or salt or caffeine, you can trigger another vertigo attack.

Good luck. Believe me, I know how you feel. Please keep posting here, and I will keep posting my best wishes for you.

I just wrote Seven Things You Can Do to Help Manage Your Vertigo. That’s what you do after you see an ENT (Ear, Nose, & Throat) doctor and/or an oto-neurologist. I hope this helps.

Remember, I’m a fellow sufferer, not a doctor. Everyone is different. What works for me may not work for you.

Hey, everybody, do you know about When I first joined, they didn’t have many people with vertigo. Now they have more. We have a community now, and they have a way to gather patient data. Maybe it’s time for us to put our data there.

There is a European interdisciplinary network you might like to know about. See the Dizzynet announcement, the vision and aims for Dizzinet. Those of you who are in Europe, if you learn anything, please share. Thanks.

554 thoughts on “Inside a Vertigo Attack

  1. Pingback: Building My Emotional Reslience, Part 1

  2. Jane

    I have had my first and only case of vertigo for about a month. Yikes! I am miserable…and the meds make me groggy (valium) and don’t do anything for the nausea.

    Thank you for describing the nausea and vomiting. I experienced that, once again….last night. It seems that there is a huge something…like a rock right under my breast bone.

    Even liquids are hard to keep down now….and I wonder….when is this going to end?


    1. johanna Post author

      Jane, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on tv. My kids are grown up, so I’m no longer Dr. Mom. However. I took Meclizine for the initial vertigo, not valium. I had some relief. When you have the whirlies, you can’t keep anything down. You need to get the whirlies under control.

      My suggestion is that you find an otoneurologist, pronto. Maybe an ENT will help. An ER doc does not know enough about these problems. You need to calm down your inner ear. Much easier said than done. Good luck, Johanna

      1. Malini Kumar

        I had BPPV 3 times since June, 2015 and all the time I woke up with very serious dizziness with nausea. 1st two times they lasted for few days, I was hospitalized for few days as this was very new and unknown to me. and the 3rd time lasted for 2 days. Does BPPV occur in the mornings only or can they happen any time. My doctor gave me Teva Betahistine 16 mg. 1st couple of times the tabs didn’t work for me at all but during the recent attack I took the meds and I was ok in 2 days. Just wanted to clarify about the occurrence.

        1. johanna Post author

          HI Malini, I have not noticed any pattern to my vertigo attacks. Since you say it’s BPPV, has anyone showed you the Epley maneuver so you can manage your BPPV yourself?

          Yes, sometimes antihistamines work quite well. Sometimes, anti-nausea meds work better.

          The real question is this: why are you having these attacks? If you have not seen an ENT, I recommend you do so.

      2. Adassa Clifford

        Hi ..How are you, thank you so much for this website, I had my first vertigo episode about 3 years ago, it was scary didn’t know what was happening, went to see my family doctor and learn a new scary word “vertigo” I got strugeron forte and it worked very well, the thing is I always have a balance problem as a result of my PPS, so I guess this was in the making for me, because since the vertigo dizziness become a part of my day, if I stand even though I hold on I get dizzy, if I am using the laptop, my head bops like I am falling even though I am sitting, if I get up too fast I get dizzy, or move my head to another side quickly.
        If I am standing or sitting and I watch a vehicle moving I then feel like I am moving too and this has been happening to me for years, that was why I hate to go to the beach , cause of the weird sensation I get when the waves move, the sad thing is I never tell a soul, as scary as it was.

        The vertigo is back again this time even more rapid, but I notice that since last year I am having allergies problem and constant sneezing with fresh cold in the mornings but the sneezing last all day even with meds, my throat and nose has been itching me real bad too, so you said something that I realize is a fact, I must have been dehydrated and the fact that I love salt and sugar was not helping at all, I feel so helpless, and I have been thinking about an ear specialist myself, I am just wondering why my doctor did not recommend one.

        The only one I know has an office upstairs a building and I cannot get up there because of my disability, so maybe I just have to listen to others advice and see what works for me.


        1. johanna Post author

          Adassa, allergy problems might make your vertigo worse. Remember, all of the ear, nose, and throat is interconnected. I find that when I have allergies, I am more dizzy.

          You don’t say where you live, so I would do several things:
          – call the ENT and see if they have an elevator or a handicapped way to enter/exit the building. In the US, all buildings have handicapped access.
          – find a different ENT. You have undiagnosed vertigo. Discover what it is.
          – Your regular doctor is not competent to help you with vertigo. They have so many other issues to learn. They cannot become experts in ENT or brain issues.

          I am not an ENT or an otoneurologist. I recommend you start with an ENT to discover what is going on.
          Best wishes to you.

          1. Adassa

            I live in a small Island in the Leeward Isles..I think my chances of ever getting help here is nill..
            I had forgetten to tell you that I also have ringing in the ear and slight ear pain,
            I assume my vertigo is from my muscular disease plus the menopause and i cannot rule out the amount of time I fell and hit my head, because of the muscular weakness, so every thing added up, only the Lord knows how I am managing with all these things..sigh

            I surprise myself that i can still smile some days, or try and keep sane with a teenager on the war path..all i can say is thank God for my husband, i see the pain in his eyes to see me suffering so much, i wish i could wish it away.

            I am going to inquire about the ear specialist, and see if he will be able to help me at home, if it turn out to be too expensive for the home visit seeing i cannot get to his office, he has no elevator or handicapped acess after all it is the Caribbean, well i see few with access, but most doesn’t have..i will just continue to hope and pray for the best.

          2. johanna Post author

            Adassa, I responded to some of your concerns in email. Here is what I have found helpful:

            – I keep a spreadsheet of all my vertigo attacks. I include the saccades attacks, and when I bow my head-attacks. I have time since the last attack, and what I think might have caused it: ear pain, dehydration, sugar, salt, whatever. I have helped my docs understand what is wrong with me with this data.
            – I track my falls, especially if I hit my head. I am sure I’ve had several concussions. Us dizzy people do not need more head trauma :-)
            – I track when I use antihistamines, and see if that changes my vertigo reactions. Sometimes they make it worse. More often, they make it better.

            I use a low carb/keto diet, partially to lose weight, and partially to manage my blood sugar spikes. For me (and this is something that is different for everyone), swinging blood sugar is a disaster. I eat less than 40 carbs a day, about 20-30 net carbs (if that much). You should do what is right for you.

            I also found that by tracking my data, I was able to stay calmer about my situation. I felt as if I was doing something. We have no control in a vertigo attack. I wanted some control.

            A vertigo attack does not need an EKG. You might need other tests, and I suggested some of them in email. It’s not a heart thing. It’s a brain thing. It’s time to look at your brain.

            Get your data. Ask for the right kind of doc (ENT, neurologist, etc.) Educate yourself on possible tests and ask for them. Stay away from the ER. Those nice docs don’t know anything about vertigo, unless you are very lucky.

            Maybe your husband can help you advocate for different care. Sometimes, when a family member makes a request, it’s better than when a patient makes a request.

          3. Nick Schmars

            Iknow this well had a stroke a few yrs ago now half of the right side of my head is still full of blood vertigo is result what a challenge every day and to make it worse a bone stop headache for 3yrs now. All kinds of pictures of 1form or another just blood stick in there

          4. Johanna Post author

            Nick, I hope you find some sort of relief soon. My best wishes to you.

    2. Mona

      My husband’s ear specialist prescribed Zofran strips that can be inserted under the tongue and will melt immediately. He would just vomit the pills up. They seem to be working.

    3. Jaison Howard

      Jane…I went to see a few ENTs. Only one prescribed Valium! He was also the only one that didn’t believe in the inner ear stones, and was old a dirt. You might want to try a different ENT. My new ENTs said its common for the older school of ENTs to dismiss newer findings and Valium is a common thread with them.

  3. Alex

    You couldn’t have explains what I’ve been feeling for the past couple of months Better. I get these attacks about once every couple of weeks and I don’t know what to do anymore. Not to mention the doctors couldn’t help me at all. Being that you’re going through the same thing as me, what remedies have. Worked for you? Any advice would be great at this point becausee there are few besides you of course that understand all this… It’s very isolating in a way.

    Hope this gets better for the both of us and anyone who suffers from this,

  4. johanna Post author

    Alex, make sure you see an ENT, or an oto-neurologist. A regular internist does not have the expertise to manage your problems. He or she does not know enough. You need at minimum an ENT (ear-nose-throat) doctor. If you are having vertigo attacks that often you need to make sure you don’t have Meniere’s Disease or some other progressive vestibular problem. Make sure you have appropriate medical supervision. And, check your hearing. Do you still have your hearing? If not, run to the ER, and ask for prednisone. Maybe you can still keep your hearing while they diagnose your problem.

  5. Srikanth

    I am 30 years old,since last 5 years i am having Tinitus(Buzz sound in my left year),now since last ten days i am also feeling Giddiness…no ENT helped me yet

    1. johanna Post author

      Go see an otoneurologist. They are neurologists that specialize in inner ear problems. There are not too many of them, so it depends where you live. You may have to travel to find one.

  6. Peachy

    Hi! I just suffered vertigo 2x. First was last aug 2012 and it
    Lasted for 2wks i guess. Then the second attacked happened this november 2012. Its been 6 days and im still suffering. I went to the ENT and the dr told me that i have a vertigo. She didnt give any medicine to me to cure my vertigo but rather a she gave me a vit B complex. Help me guys to find out on how to cure my vertigo. I couldnt start to exercise because im worried that during my exercise vertigo attack me. I so helpless. My son it too young. Hes only 4 yrs old and im 37, too young to die.. Pls help me coz im getting paranoid. Thankyou so much. Pls do email me at

    1. johanna Post author

      Peachy, You only feel like you’re going to die. You need another ENT, one with empathy. There are no meds to cure vertigo. There are meds to manage vertigo.

      You can do anything with vertigo, including exercise, as long as you manage it. The question is: which kind of vertigo do you have? If you have BPPV, learn the Epley maneuver, so you can bring the crystals back inside your inner ear, where they belong. It’s quite easy to feel paranoid. I will email you, too.

      1. Chuck Von Dietsch

        Just wanted to say that you arent alone…I had 2 major attacks of BPPV in 2009…Put me in the hosp both times..they sent in a neurologist the second time and turns out i had BPPV…Didnt learn about the Epley manuever till recently & since i didnt have anymore symptoms since, i never did them…This past July when i had a mini whirly attack, the symptoms went away after 30 mins or so….Ever since then..I have had some slight ringing on the left side, it comes and goes, and a constant slight pressure headache/fogginess/feeling like that a MAJOR attack is gonna happen… Sometimes at random ( for the last few weeks) i would get woozy and slightly dizzy at random and then my heart races like hell, i try to relax, breathe and it subsides and eventually goes away in a few minutes… I have an ENT appt next week so ill see what he has to say…But im thankful for you and other on the internet bringing us all Vertigo sufferers together and find some relief from all the advice out there….Glad to have read your postings and your dealings with Vertigo and what you have gone thru and still are…..Sincerely….Chuck Von Dietsch

        1. johanna Post author

          Chuck, good luck in advance with your appt. I do hope that you find some relief.

          The thing that makes me nuts with vertigo is that it is so random. I can be at my normal level of dizziness, which is tolerable. Then “something” happens. And, if I just knew what it was, I wouldn’t have done it!

          When I posted this page, I was angry about having yet another vertigo attack. Now, I’m really glad I did.

    2. Mona

      My husband has vertigo and unfortunately there is no actual cure for it. He is on prescription Meclizine every 8 hours and when he has an attack the doctor gave him Zophran strips for vomiting.

  7. Emma

    It all started for me about 4 weeks ago. I was at a training day writing and listening to the speaker when i felt what i can only describe as a fizzing sensation starting in my legs which rushes up to my head, making me feel like i am going to faint! I ended up in the floor, numb and spasmed in my extremities. Everyone thought it was just heat and exhaustion. I was fine until 4 days later when i was sitting in the Drs, it happened again only much worse! I ended up on the floor again in front of everyone, crying because i was scared as my extremities had twisted so much, and my face too. When they wheeled me (eventually) into the Dr, he basically said id had a panic attack! Totally out of the blue for me. He did look in my ears and said they looked infected too, he sent me on my way with antibiotics and said get a paper bag!! I had never been so scared, and i have good medical knowledge as i have always worked in clinics and hospitals. It happened again a few days later, this time my heart was beating so hard and fast, my mum could see it pumping our my chest. We called 111, they sent a paramedic who was lovely. She hooked me up to the ECG to catch my heart rate spikes and said i want having panick attacks but she want sure what wad wrong apart from i had a slight temp. So at the hospital they did a chest xray, bloods, another ECG and found nothing wrong, so face me beta blockers and refered me to a cardiologist. In the time from then to now i have been monitoring my own condition, looking at my medical history etc. i have also been meditating, seeing a therapist, going to yoga and swimming. I know that it’s not panick!!! Anxiety maybe, due to the new problems and scariness of it all! Im just waiting for my Ent app to come through as I’m not sure if it Labrynthitis, Minieres etc?? I too feel increadably sick when it happens, and my bowel needs to empty, my heart races, i feel like i can’t breath and I’m going to die. Then i get really tired and feel like I’ve been run over by a steam roller! I’m now trying to find remedies to relieve my symptoms. Any advice will be greatly received. Thank you. X

    1. johanna Post author

      Emma, I have no idea what this is, but it sure doesn’t sound like a panic attack. At least, not as a primary cause. When I get a vertigo attack, I too feel quite sick first. First, come the saccades, then the whirlies, followed by a need to empty my bladder and bowels, then my stomach. I don’t know what happens for other people. By that time, I’m exhausted and kind of panicky, because I can’t see very well and I have no balance.

      If your ears are full, your balance will be affected. At least you went to the ER. If you have labyrinthitis, make sure you get vestibular therapy. The faster you see an ENT, the faster you can be helped. Good luck.

  8. Matt

    i have light vertigo from time to time. one of my triggers is high-low blood pressure (when u stand up or lay down)

    Ask ur dr for Epply Maneuver .

  9. pia

    I too suffer with vittigo . For 15 years I have it . But the attack I am having right now is diffrent to the usual ones normally I feel like I am moving not the world around me
    but this time the world is spinning so fast my goddness it is scarey i called for my husband screaming my vision i am blind the sweat was pouring off me in fear . Then it stopped but if i move my head to the left oh my it comes back . I feel bloody awful and scared it will last forever .

    1. johanna Post author

      Pia, I also have what I call “trigger” points. If I look at a certain place or look in a certain way, I can trigger a vertigo attack, sometimes. Yes, talk about scary. The scariest thing is that you have no control over your body. Something is happening inside of you that is out of your control.

      We are adults. It comes from inside our bodies. This is not supposed to happen to us, is it? I cannot think of anything scarier. I suspect there is, but I can’t imagine it. My heart goes out to you.

      1. Regina Trehy

        Hi…you wrote this article six years ago as it is now 2019. I came down with Vertigo on December 19th, 2018. I went today to an ENT doctor today. I was put on a table by a PT with my head dangling and being twisted in all different directions to get those crystals to move. The spinning was so terrifying that I was crying. The PT was good though and kept saying the spinning will stop which helped me. I did feel better by the end of the session so I will shall see. It sounds crazy but it’s like trying to expel a demon who has possessed my body. Like you said, it’s like losing control over your body. You are the only one that had true insight into the shear terror I felt. Thanks so much!

        1. johanna Post author

          Regina, good luck. Yes, the techs and PTs helped me find my “spot” to focus on, to reduce the spinning and help my vertigo.

        2. Angela

          Came across this thread today and thought I’d share my recent experience in the case it helps anyone: I woke up to a spinning room 4/4 and 4/5/2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The vertigo lasted only 30-60 seconds. Many symptoms followed. Dizziness/Motion type feelings all day every day. Some while sitting still, others with head and eye movements. Swaying feelings, vertigo (spinning), etc…Headaches , nausea, sweating and fatigue. Daily symptom management exhausts me. I was prescribed meclizine over the phone for possible inner ear infection but no in person visit for diagnosis due to Pandemic. After 10 days, I had a virtual appt with Dr. and was told unable to diagnose without looking in my ears. I found an urgent care Dr. that would see me in person. I was (later to find out) misdiagnosed with a Bilateral Middle ear infection and Fluid in both ears. Prescribed antibiotic and Zyrtec d. I am 52 years old w/no history of headaches, ear infections or vertigo. After 5 days and no relief that same dr changed my antibiotic and added 6 days of prednisone. I immediately had more energy and quit waking up 4-5 times a night w/room spinning! (Later realize that prednisone relieved inner ear inflammation). During this time I also had to ER visits for high BP w/pounding headache and severe nausea. (Later to discover this was probably due to a combination of meds). I historically have very low blood pressure and low blood sugar! I had a cat scan and cat scan w/contrast and ER doc said I have fluid in middle ears and the infection must’ve cleared w/antibiotics. Finally, as the US reopened I was able to see an ENT specialist on 5/1 after weeks of all day symptoms. More annoying than major, as I was able to move about my home and no vomiting. Just daily symptoms described above. I was diagnosed with BPPV. I was told that the cat scans and ENT tests revealed NO fluid in my middle ears and that non-specialists typically misdiagnose! The specialist conducted a maneuver in office to put calcium crystals back in place and this didn’t work. I was referred to Vestibular physical therapy and told to do at home exercises. I was also told that taking meclizine will delay recovery and to try not to take it. Thus, I take zofran quick dissolve tabs as needed. On 5/7 I had my first PT appt. The therapist conducted balance tests and vertigo tests that were more extensive than the ENT appt and she performed same maneuver as ENT had done prior, but she told me to stay upright for 3 hours following and I also noticed it was similar maneuver, but not exact! I felt pressure in my head, headache and nausea as soon as I relaxed following the 3 hours. This went into the full day after. In the next day, (spinning) vertigo seems to be gone! However, the motion/off balance symptoms remain. As well as fatigue, headache nausea. The PT had told me that she thinks I have 2 things going on! I had a double upper respiratory infection 6 weeks prior to first vertigo symptom (I don’t have a history of frequent URI’s or any issues w/outdoor allergies). She said she thinks the virus probably caused damage to my vestibular nerve affecting my balance and she provided home balance exercises and told me to quit the side to side w/head tilt exercises the ENT prescribed. She said sometimes the nerve repairs itself, but that exercise will train my brain/body to overcome the imbalance. The BPPV probably secondary to the inflammation from vestibular nerve damage. So, 3 days after my first PT appt., her explanation seems to hold true. The maneuver seems to have helped and/or stopped the spinning vertigo episodes and although the motion/off balance issues remain and seem to be more noticeable, I think it’s because the other type of vertigo is no longer there to mask it. I have balance exercises daily and 3 more PT appts (1xweek) and Im hoping I can recalibrate my brain to compensate for the balance issues. It’s been a learning experience indeed. I plan to seek a Nuerologist only if I don’t improve with PT.

          1. Johanna Post author

            Angela, good for you. Totally agree with you—no need to see a neuro if you improve with PT. Thanks, and best wishes for your continued recovery.

  10. brenda pou

    I am suffering from vertigo attacks. If my blood pressure elevates, if I bend my head down and come back up quickly, and heat. I went to work and had a vertigo attack so bad that I was put on the floor, this was very embarrassing. I just do not know what to do. I have been off work since the last attaxck and am anxious about going back. I am afraid that this will happen again. I seriously do not know what to do.

    1. Stacy

      All you mommies has anyone had these symtpoms after a c section. Started with a cold the hole room spinning for. 4 months double vision blurred vision lightheaded sweating shaking tremors naueas then came the awful dimentia for almost 2 months low grade fevers ER with 104 fever with severe leg pain an vomiting all for them to send me home every time;( say they don’t know! I am so depsperate I have been this way for a year an 5 months now I sway all day as if on a boat an still get low grade fevers sweating low bp;( any help would be great

  11. Barb

    It’s really nice to hear from someone else who experiences these attacks. Nice in a relative term of course. I’m at work right now and feel a bad one coming on :( Trying to figure out how to keep upright and able to drive my 50 mile commute back home. It’s not looking promising so far.

    I had my first attack last year when I was pregnant with my first child… coming out of sleep in the middle of the night – talk about scary. It was so bad I couldn’t stand unsupported and every time I even looked sideways the world spun. I was so terrified that something had happened to the baby! Fortunately for me the ER doc on duty had experienced vertigo herself! I’m sure it had been coming on earlier as I did not feel well and went to lay down then woke up freaking out. I actually used my cell phone to text my husband in the other room at 3am because speaking was not possible. I have NO IDEA what she gave me but it was an IV of wonderful icy instant relief. It was so cold going into my vein and helped immediately. She gave me some pills that were actually for chemotherapy patients to help with the nausea, you let them dissolve under your tongue and they work phenomenally.

    Of COURSE I have NO CLUE where any of the meds are as it has been over a year! Ugh… 36 more minutes of work… then hopefully I will be able to get my children & make it home. Worst comes to worse I will have the hubby come get me.

    I found that my trigger is drinking too much soda and getting dehydrated. It was just a hunch before, but this confirms it. The first day I got it I drank 2 glasses of sprite with lunch and had Chinese (very salty also) and did not hydrate well otherwise. I had a nasty head cold yesterday and drank sprite to help clear out my throat and very little water. I almost never drink soda so I must be very sensitive to it. I also use little to no salt at home when cooking, so I think I must be sodium sensitive. Which makes sense since sodium can upset all sorts of balances in the body.

    Anyways… thanks for your story. Being able to talk about it somehow feels empowering and I’m hoping will help me keep control for a little while longer… for now meditative breathing and sips of water… wish me luck!

    1. johanna Post author

      Barb, My goodness! Yes, I drink tons of water. I rarely eat Asian food in a restaurant because of MSG. The sodium is a killer. I cannot afford to get dehydrated. I hope you make it home safely.

      1. Barb

        Phew, managed to take a short walk in the frigid air outside and that cleared out my head quite a bit. Then sipping water made it home, a few hours after being home it passed. I’m so happy! The last time it lasted DAYS! Unfortunately my hubby lost his job back in October so we’re currently without insurance. Once it’s back I need to go have a dr check this out, I’ll see if I can find the specialist you mentioned a few times before. Probably not in Wyoming, but, worth a try! I’m only 24 and I’ve been having little 20 min mini episodes of vertigo several times a week lately. I have a very low sodium diet and drink almost exclusively water (and lots of it!) the only thing that’s changed is lots of bending over & back up with the baby and that’s a lot of the time when it hits me. I also have this weird thing where when there is a loud noise – like if 2 pots clank together while I’m washing dishes – I get dizzy. So something is definitely screwy inner ear wise. I thought I was crazy & just ignored it, but I bet it’s somehow related.

        1. johanna Post author

          Barb, When you can, please see an otoneurologist. I’m not a doctor. But you definitely have something wonky going on in your inner ear. Maybe it’s just labyrinthitis. That would be great, because that goes away.

          Is there any way you can see a doctor now? You might get some relief from the dizziness. If you are 24, you should be able to get onto your parents’ health care if they live in the US and have insurance. Ask.

          BTW, if leaning over makes you dizzy, get your hubby to lean over and bring the baby to you.

          Ok, I have inflicted enough help for today. I am not a doctor. I am a fellow vertigo sufferer. I am not diagnosing you. I am inflicting help and I should know better. But I don’t.

    2. Suzanne


      My first attack was exactly like yours. It’s weird, dehydration wasn’t an issue-and it took three months for the worst of it to subside, but I still had only residual ‘spinnys’, as my then 6 year old son dubbed them. (a term we still use in my house.)

      You hit on a good point-looking to dietary triggers. In finding this yesterday, I upped my water intake dramatically and never went beyond the weird body feeling and dizzy spells into a full objective vertigo attack. I’ll start keeping a food diary now that it appears vertigo will be visiting me again, so thanks for triggering the idea to do one.

  12. Dan

    I’m so glad I found your website. I am 31 years old and had my first vertigo attack last week. I felt absolutely fine the entire morning, then I quickly felt nauseous and light headed. Within 2 minutes the world was spinning. I was outside in the cold and very frightened as I didn’t know what was happening to me. I sat down on the sidewalk and realized there was an entrance to a local building about 30 feet in front of me. I stood up and tried to walk to the entrance however instead of walking straight, I could only walk to the right. I finally made it to the museum and asked the gentlemen at the front desk to call an ambulance. I then lied down on the floor until the ambulance arrived. I did not want to move or open my eyes or even have the EMS crew move me for that matter. The episode lasted for about 2 1/2 hours, however it seemed much shorter to me. The ER doctor said it was vertigo however I am concerned it was something else. Do my symptoms sound like typical vertigo? After the episode passed I felt completely normal. Concerned it might be a neurological problem or possible stroke?

    1. johanna Post author

      Dan, remember, I am a fellow sufferer, not an MD. Vertigo comes on for many reasons. Our inner ears are the size of our fingernails and contain about an ounce of liquid. No surprise that things go wrong.

      If you are worried that you have had a neurological problem, start with an ENT, and Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. That doctor can always refer you to a otoneurologist. An ER doc has successfully diagnosed your vertigo. What you don’t have is the reason why. You need an ENT for that. Make an appt with one.

      You might try the Vestibular Disorders Association, and do a little digging there.

      The problem with inner ear problems is that we don’t yet have sufficient imaging to really see what’s going on. However, if it is “ordinary” vertigo, you have many options, much of them quite good. If it’s BPPV, you can learn the Epley maneuver. If it’s a bacterial infection, you had an incident, and you’ll be susceptible to vertigo again, but you might never have another attack. It could be other things, and you need to see a real doctor, not someone who has been researching her own vertigo, looking for answers.

      See your ENT.

      1. jlynno111

        I keep seeing references to the Epley and if it doesn’t work it’s not BPPV – but that’s not necessarily true. The Epley maneuver doesn’t treat every canal… and if you do it on the wrong ear, it also won’t work. There are other maneuvers, but nothing treats every possible canal.

        1. Johanna Post author

          Jlynno, face-palm. It never occurred to me that people might choose the wrong ear. I might! Yeah, because the canals are circular, people might have to change how they do the Epley. That might not even be the Epley anymore. Thanks.

    2. Mona

      It sounds like vertigo but you should see a doctor and see for sure, it could also be a stroke. My husband has vertigo and he cannot walk without help. He also vomits until the doctor put him on a Zofran strip. I have had him in the ER 4 times this year because of it. See a ear specialist.

  13. shirley

    I’ve been suffering from vertigo intermittently over the past 13 years. I’m a 33yr old busy working mother of one. This website is a great find & support for all vertigo sufferers. Over the years I’ve been told everything from viral infections to sinusitis have been causing my vertigo. However last month I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and I couldn’t be happier to finally have a name for my condition. I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on vertigo and researching it. Yoga, regular exercise, low sodium diet & staying hydrated are all key elements in managing vertigo. I also recommend an excellent book written by a fellow vertigo sufferer, its called “Vertigo Vertigo and what you can do about it”, the author goes by the name Meniere Man. An important thing for all vertigo sufferers to remember is that you can’t let it control your life! Carry on as normal with your life and don’t let it inhibit you. In the 13 years I’ve been suffering from vertigo I haven’t let it stop me living my life. I live in Ireland but I’ve travelled around Europe, North America, Canada, Egypt & South Africa since getting vertigo. I’ve also studied hard for 2 science degrees, gotten qualifications in both interior design & reflexology. I’ve learned to ski & snowboard, have taken part in numerous road races & half marathons & I also managed to do the world’s highest bridge bungee. To top it all off I gave birth to a beautiful boy 2 years ago despite suffering from extreme vertigo in my first trimester. So please please please do not let vertigo overwhelm you or discourage you from doing anything. Take each day as it comes & keep in mind that these attacks do pass, whether they last mere minutes or a few days. Most importantly STAY POSITIVE and have a sense of humour about it all (trust me it helps a lot) :-)

    1. Lisa

      Shirley, glad to hear you are carrying on as usual and productive….having my first long-term vertigo attack.
      I am 52 and this started when I was 30 years old and pregnant, in the middle of the night the room started to spin violently. Since then, only intermittent attacks quickly dealt with by only one 12.5 mg meclizine pill. Today is the 5th day of dizziness, I have been to internist and have bloodwork and an ENT appointment scheduled. I have never had a workup for this, I guess the squeaky wheel now needs grease, though. I am currently beginning a new phase of career that requires self-study, and I am happy for an excuse to take a few days off, but not like this. Very happy to have a support page to go to, will add to favorites, will read book you suggest and keep my fingers crossed that this is not a new problem I have to deal with for the rest of my life. Love the STAY POSITIVE….that’s what’s getting me through the last few days!

      1. cheryl

        I started off with extreme dizziness and nausea last september. It was mostly gone for two weeks in december. Now it is february first and i wake up every day dizzy and then the nauseacomes a little later. Never thrown up from it, just feel like it a lot. This seems to be getting worse since i now have no days free of it. It got really bad yesterday AFTER my exercise class. Now i dont feel like doing anything but stay in bed.
        I am so miserable thinking this will never end. I want to go to my daughters 40th birthday party at the end of the month, but it is a 600 mile round trip, and i am afraid to be that far from home. :(

        1. johanna Post author

          Cheryl, I do a few things to manage car trips:
          1. Stay well hydrated. Yes, that means we find bathrooms. No more acting like camels. Yes, it takes us longer. Oh well.
          2. Consider going early so you have recovery time on the front end.
          3. Is it different if you drive? I find that if I drive, my dizziness is better, because I have better proprioception (knowledge of where I am in space). I can’t drive for too long. Driving takes a lot out of me, but then I sleep, and that’s okay too.
          4. I have not been on Meclizine for a long time. I would consider that for a long drive.
          5. I sleep when I’m not driving. My husband no longer considers me good company on a long drive, but that’s okay. I’m fine up until I fall asleep.

          To be honest, for a trip that long, I would consider a train or a plane, if there was one. Trains don’t have the bumps that cars do. Because the ride is more even, I find I am less dizzy.

          My $.02

  14. Annie

    My vertigo hits me about every 3-4 months and will last anywhere from a few hours to a week. It’s the most exhausting, depressing and scary feeling! I HATE it!! When I get it I can’t wait to be able to take my meds because they knock me out. The only problem with that is that I often throw them up and man! That is nasty!!! It’s great to read that I am not alone. It’s comforting when other people know how it feels and are sympathetic to how I’m feeling:)

    1. pauline

      Poor u make the most of the time determined to live life to the full don’t cancel events’just in case’ you’re not alone x

    2. Mona

      My husband would vomit his meds up and recently the doctor prescribed zoftran strips. Put them under the tongue and they dissolve immediately. He just had a vertigo attack and we used the strip for the first time and he had no vomiting. He also takes meclizine on a regular basis. He would vomit so bad and violently for a couple hours or more and get dehydrated so bad that we would have get him to the ER.

  15. Paula

    Hi, i have had one bout of Vertigo which left me very unwell and bed bound for 10 days, i seen 2 doctors, my own GP and then the doctor at the hospital out of hours GP, both of whom told me i had different things. I also spoke to 2 doctors on the phone who also said i had another thing. My own GP said i had BPPV, then the doctor on the phone (when i couldn’t cope any longer after 1 serious day of illness) said i had meniere’s disease, and then the doctor at the hospital suggested Labryinthitis, i was given tablets, but the doctor at the hospital gave me an strong injection of Cyclizine. I am absolutely PETRIFIED that this is going to happen to me again, i hadn’t a clue what was even going on the first time it happened. I had strange symptoms 2/3 nights before the attack which felt like anaemia (all my bloods came back fine). Most worrying is that i am only 21, i work full time and i am about to sit my final exams of my degree. The initial attack made me fall behind in every essay i had but i am catching up, just one more to go.
    I am feeling very panicky and scared about this and feel like i am slightly breathless which is the feelings i was initially having when i got the symptoms over the 3 nights before the attack. I am also so scared i may have MS as i sometimes get tingling through my face and arms.
    I am extremely anxious. How can I prevent attacks? or can I?

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Paula. Here’s what I do. I don’t know if this will work for you. You’ll have to experiment and see what works for you.

      1. Make sure you get enough sleep. Since you’re in school, this can be an issue. But, you’re an adult, so manage your todos, and manage your actions. My vertigo and my symptoms are much worse when I’m tired. Much worse.
      2. Stay hydrated. I drink tons of water. (My skin looks terrific!) If you want, drink zero-calorie sports drinks for electrolytes. Whatever you do, make sure you are hydrated. Your inner ear has a very subtle balance of a very small amount of fluid. Keeping that balance is crucial.
      3. Watch how much caffeine you intake. Caffeine is in many things aside from coffee. It’s in chocolate, for example. I drink one very large mug of green tea in the morning. I’m temporarily off my sugar-free dark chocolate in an effort to lose more weight. I still eat sugar-free cocoa in my food. Be aware.
      4. Watch your salt. If I eat too much salt, I get dizzier. I love lox, smoked salmon, but if I eat too much of it, I get dizzier. Oh well.
      5. Know how many carbs you can eat. I low-carb for general health. I am convinced that spiking my blood sugar can give me a vertigo attack. I am not a diabetic. I am not pre-diabetic. I am only 20 pounds overweight now (it’s that belly thing). And, if I overdo the carbs, my vertigo goes wonky. It does not go wonky if I overdo the protein. I am not capable of overdoing the fat.

      No one can diagnose you over the phone. No GP can diagnose this. You need an ENT, Ear Nose, and Throat specialist.

      If you do have MS, you can live with MS. If you have vertigo, you can live with vertigo. It’s not easy, but you can do it.

      1. Princess Barbie

        Hi I had what I believe to have been my first severe vertigo attack yesterday. I have had dizzy spells for the past month but never so extreme of where I couldn’t walk or hardly talk. I showered fixed my hair and BAM I felt it then sat down and all hell let loose lol. I know I was not lol when this happened. My mom called 911, they took me to the hospital. They did blood work, ct scan, and a EKG I believe for my heart and nothing. The er NP was not very understanding, and was acting like I was crazy and said nothing was wrong and why I felt that way. The thing is that since then I have been very sleepy and somewhat fatigue. I am very sleepy often and I actually felt a bit strange the days before I had this major attack. I wonder if me going to the chiroprator and the having the massage after set something off, I felt so tired right after. The next morning I was still sleep and it happened a couple of hours later. I am 33 yrs old and have a 11 yr old son and am a single mom and his father is deceased. I can not help but fear the worst and I start to worry about my son if something were to happen. I know I should not think these things but I also have some anxiety so I dk if that is it also. I have a appt. Friday so I am hoping for some answers and some peace of mind.

    2. Carmecia

      I have vetigo! Water water water and more water! I take a multimineral calcium supplement that helps and iron tablets help. Gatorade a day a bottle helps. Im 39years old and I have battled since 2013. I have spells where i can’t walk long distances but I must endure.

      Ive done ent neurlologist mri twice. cat scans and its horrible the same. No findings thank God But supplements make a world of difference.

  16. ingrid

    I woke up to cover up the baby(I am 65 and raising two great granddaughters that I have had since they were born they are now 10 and the baby is soon to be 5) and as soon as I laid back down I had my first vertigo attack. Not being able to control the spinning was terrifying! Can’t say how long it lasted, but if finally calmed down, I laid on my left side for a few minutes, checking my racing pulse. It slowed down after a little while, and I sat up slowly to go to the bathroom and almost fell because the dizziness came back for a minute or two. I could tell that I was ok. I asked myself the heart attack questions, ex: do you know what year it is , that kind of stuff
    and I answered me correctly. LOL. I have been at the PC since then. I considered going to the ER, but the girls and I live alone and there would be noone to care for them while I was at the hospital. I started reading up on vertigo, and learned about the crystal things that are in our ears, and figured that must be what this was. The nausea was there, and I am still wobbly, but was so glad to come across your site, and saw that there are others experiencing this. I have most of the old folks medical challenges, (HBP, CHL, glaucoma, the works. I am soooooooooooo guilty of not drinking enough water and I think this is what triggered this attack. Will let you know how thing go during the day.

  17. Fitzred

    I have been suffering with vertigo for several years. Diagnosed as BPPV. I have it right now after not having it since sept. 2012. I met a women who told me she started wearing a patch over her eye and that it helps. I tried and it really does help. I mostly get attacks when I am lying down on my right side. Try the patch, it helps when you need to get things done around the house.

  18. Arch

    So I had my first vertigo attack about 3 weeks ago. I thought everything was better last week. I rarely drink any coffee but yesterday i stopped and got some on the way into work. Later in the day… an attack happened. Wasn’t that bad, but today it is much worst. Going to call my ENT today to get an appt.

    1. johanna Post author

      Arch, good luck. An ENT can help. I drink almost no caffeine. As with everything, your mileage will vary. Once you understand what is causing your vertigo, you can make better decisions.

  19. k&rroberts20

    I am writing on behalf of my husband, all of his problems started a month ago & he works in construction. He attacks started when he got hot or was driving or was up in high places. he is almost 49 and I have health problems & my youngest daughter (we have 2) she is almost 15 uuuulland was born with Spina Bifida (SB) we r use to our far share of health problems. My husband had been having bad dizzy spells working in the heat & being up in high places. Now they happen off and one all the time.We just seen our family doctor. She is taking all the steps to help us figure this out (he also has a few other problems) he has been working since he was a teenager & he is a good worker. He is proud of his work & so am I he is OCD to lol. Well most of his other problems are from wear & tear on hid body from working manual labor since he was 16. For almost 32 years. I am very proud of him :) he has working man hands lol he can build anything & work on & fix most old cars & cars without computers. Well he also would never go to doctors (VERY STUBBORN MAN) Most are lol we he went a he had has a ear infection & they said he has was compacted in one ear & the other ear was fine. Our appt was at 4:30 and we didn’t walk out until after 6:00 the nurse & I were joking about it was like waiting for him to diallate haha I held his hand & they flushed that ear out & omg the biggest nastiest hardest piece of nasty huge ball of stuff came out and hit the floor after working on him for over a hour & a half. Well he is still having dizzy spells and his nose was broke about 10 years ago. Our family doctor God bless her we love her & we r lucky to have her. Praise Jesus she is ording all the blood & urine test xrays & hopefully a MRI also he will being seeing a ear noise throat specialist with in the month plus gave everything else squeezed into the next month. I have to make him stop working (he works in Texas HEAT and up in attics of new custom homes. But I can’t have him falling 25 feet or more & all that is under him his concrete. I can’t lose him. He has 5 other health problems so I am having him retire as soon as all test results one back. I am pretty sure he has Vertigo Attacks. He hid this from me for a while once I found out I set the first appoint. He has worked most of his life & I think if the test results come back saying what I think they will, I dont think it is wrong me to tell him it is time to retire. He has lots to do to keep busy..he will also be in therapy with me as soon as I am over my broken foot. I have to many health problems to list 75% of them r heritable. Butt husband has Scoliosis (in his family history)
    he also has very bad back problems & both knee &.neck and our doc was talking about real bad arthritis in his hands. Ok well he uses all that to make a living he is self employed,we are & have always been tax payers. But with my daughters SB and my health problems (I have about 10 & most from getting hit by a drunk driver & others run in my family. But I am trying to keep him from working & dragging him to all the future doctor appt and blood & lab work and the ears nose throat doctor. I think once the diagnosis come back it may be time for him to retire from the only work he has known since he was a teenager and he may have to file for disability BC with this he will have 6 health problems & will not be able to keep working. We need to Thi k of his health & safety & our children…I know he is not happy about this. But his family is here for her threw it all & always :)

    1. johanna Post author

      If he had something in his ear, then maybe his dizzy spells will stop. It’s a good thing he’s seeing an ENT soon. The ENT WILl be able to diagnose what is going on.

      You want to separate all of the issues. Inner ear issues are separate from back problems and arthritis. Certainly his back and arthritis will make things worse. And, you do want to make sure he keeps his appt with the ENT.

      I have found that staying hydrated–not easy to do on the Texas heat–is key for me.

      Try not to think ahead to the worst possible outcome yet. Until you know what’s going on, wait to see. I have an inside job, but I still work full time and I travel internationally. Hang in there until he sees the ENT, okay? I do think you can ask him to stay safe. That’s quite reasonable!

      Good luck.

      1. chancy Jeschke

        My wife had a attack this morning for the first time ever. She cant stop throwing up. She has been for about 2 hours. How long do these attacks last? Feel bad I can’t help at all.

        1. johanna Post author

          HI Chancy. Did you page down and see the things you can do? Make sure you call your primary care physician or your ENT, if you already have one.

          My first vertigo attack—the throwing up part—lasted about 3-4 hours. I would vomit, lay down for a while, have to vomit again, lay down, repeat until my stomach was empty. That’s because I had the whirlies. If your wife has the whirlies, I think the vomiting doesn’t end until her stomach is empty. However, I am not a doctor. I am a patient. You should call your doctor. I am not qualified to dispense medical advice. I can only tell you what happens to me.

          If you provide emotional support, you are helping more than you know.

          Make sure there are no rugs in her way to the bathroom, that she has a clear shot. Call her doctor. Help her articulate all of her symptoms. With any luck, this is a one-time thing and this will never happen again. Good luck.

  20. kelly

    I’ve had issues with vertigo for most of my life. I’ve never been able to ride a roller coaster or any carnival ride for that matter–nor ride an airplane without Bonine and my home pillow. My equilibrium is so sensitive that I can’t even re-arrange my bedroom furniture. I can lay on my mattress and know whether or not it’s on/off my bed frame. Anyways, I had a serious case of vertigo 2 years ago and had to see a physical therapist for 6 months to regain balance. I was wondering if anyone else gets major anxiety before fun, social exciting events/concerts/social activities where you can’t sleep the night before and are dizzy just thinking about another possible attack. I carry snacks and meds in my purse, but I’m finding myself not wanting to leave home. It’s starting to interfere with my own happiness–as I cancel events/concerts, etc , for the comfort of home–and just feel miserable for giving in. What are some steps you take to overcome your anxiety? Thanks in advance.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Kelly, since I never know when I’m going to have a vertigo attack, I don’t worry about them. I know that sounds kind of wacko, but how I can I worry about something so random?

      I do stay hydrated–for me, that’s key, much more than snacks. I also make choices about what to participate in.

      You might see your ENT or otoneurologist about other options. I had injections of steroids in my inner ear a few months ago, and that helped a lot. It’s supposed to be a treatment for Meniere’s Disease (which I don’t have :-), but it provided me relief from major dizziness.

      You might check out my post on Lawrence Gonzales’ book, Surviving Survival,. I loved his rules to live by.

      1. Deb

        I just recently started having vertigo attacks. I am going to an ENT. My PCP feels that the fluid in my mastoid cells that showed up on an MRI are what is causing my vertigo, but my ENT feels its not. I had an episode this Sunday where I ended up in the ER. They did a CScan and a chest Xray and sent me home with some Ativan. The most scary part for my husband and I was the complete loss of function of the head, hands, and feet. I was flailing around like something disembodied with seizure like symptoms. Very scary. I went to my ENT today and have another appointment this week. He said we have to get my symptoms under control before he can run other tests. He doesn’t believe that the fluid in my mastoid cells is the trigger. I certainly don’t know, but am very scared by this whole thing. Anyone out there ever have seizure like symptoms?

  21. mary b

    I am 67 years old and had my first attack 3 mos ago, Had another one in June and went to ER. They did bloodwork, EKG, CT and MRI. I was worried that I has a stroke but all tests were clear. Had another one in July took medicine that ER had prescribed. I am very upset since another DR told me that a CT and MRI are not always reliable if you have it immedately after attack like I did when I went to ER…I have noticed some light tingling in hands and legs and now worried that I had a stroke and not vertigo

    1. johanna Post author

      Mary, Please read my suggestions on that page and see an ENT. Only an ENT can tell you what caused your vertigo.

      ER docs are great. And, they are not vertigo specialists. They do not understand the causes of vertigo. Go see an ENT. You might have unrelated symptoms, you might have related symptoms. You might have symptoms from your meds. You can’t tell.

      Good luck.

    2. Mona

      My husband has vertigo and has been to the ER and under went all those tests. They are run to rule out what caused it. You do need to see a doctor. There is no cure for vertigo.

  22. Andrea Chiou

    Hi Johanna,
    I am glad/sad to have your blog mean even more in my life now than when I first read it two years ago. I developed positional vertigo in the last couple of weeks. It isn’t so bad but it is annoying and still catches me off guard when it happens. I am reading your blog again for inspiration. I will go see a specialist just to make sure my primary’s diagnosis is confirmed and it isn’t anything worse. I appreciate all the support you give to those who suffer from vertigo. Miss seeing you too ! Hugs!


  23. Amber

    I have had vertigo for about 18 months now. I have rapid eye movements upon waking up and then my day begins and I eat my breakfeast and it will typically come and go but sometimes it lasts for over half a day and will leave me foggy like. I also have some ear pain in my right ear. I have been to a ent which says there is NO hearing loss but there is pressure in my right ear. I have a bit of vision problems and feel very offbalance at all times. I dont know weather you can help me.. but, I would like to get your opinion. I am only 21 keep in mind, with a very healthy lifestyle. I hate to have this affect my lifestyle. It has drained me and left me completly exhausted this whole year. I have a kid and I need to be able to keep up. I also feel like if I tip my neck forward I am going to fall. I have headaches off and on associated with the immense eye and ear pressure. It really has made my eyes sensitive to light aswell.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Amber. You went to an ENT? Hmm. Given your eye movements, I’m not surprised you feel ear and eye pressure. Here’s what I do:

      – I eat low-carb, so that I don’t get sugar swings. Many people think that eating healthy means whole grains and low fat. That does not work for me. I eat adequate protein, minimal sugar, no grains, lots of dark green leafy veggies, and high fat. My blood pressure is normal, my cholesterol is great, my sugar is terrific. I drink a ton of water during the day. If I get a sugar swing, it ticks my vertigo. Watch the sugar.

      – I watch my salt. MSG, high sodium really knocks me off-balance, literally.

      – Have you tried the vestibular therapy? Your ENT or primary care should be able to prescribe this for you.

      Has your ENT provided you with a diagnosis? Any path to a diagnosis? If not, maybe it’s time to see an otoneurologist. They are inner-ear neurologists. I don’t know where you live. In Boston, where I live, we have Mass Eye and Ear. There are 4 or 5 :-) There are about 30 across the US, and more across the world. It’s a sub-sub-specialty.

      If you keep a journal of your symptoms, what makes them better/worse, that might help.

      I have a link on the side of the blog to the Vestibular Disorders Association. They might be able to provide you better help. They are actual health care professionals!

      1. Karla

        I’ve been replying a lot today. But I can’t help to comment that I have chiari malformation and if people have it, symptoms mostly show up in people around your age. You should look into it, it causes headaches, vertigo and constant fatigue along with other symptoms but I don’t want to get too involved. Good luck

  24. Ashley

    I’m 24 and I’ve been living with vertigo for over 2 months. When I went to the ER they told me I had BPPV, possibly triggered by a menstrual migraine and they put me on a migraine med and told me to take either Dramamine or Meclizine. I went to an ENT who performed the Epley, but that didn’t work. I’m filling out the paperwork for a new doctor (I just moved) and I’ve been drinking tons of water and taking magnesium. It doesn’t seem as severe as before and I am slowly getting back to living normally, but it is exhausting. In addition, I have Cerebral Palsy and therefore use crutches to walk and I am emetophobic ( I have an intense phobia of vomiting ) and I’m a grad student, though this bout of vertigo has made me fall behind with my work. I can’t wait to get back to normal.

  25. Suzanne

    As I read this, I was agreeing with everything. I can’t nod, because I’m feeling the manifestations of another Objective Vertigo attack and it is hell, knowing what is coming, but unable to prevent it.

    11 years ago, I was diagnosed with BPPV, but the ENT and my doctor didn’t find the cause. If my MRI had also captured the back of my skull and upper spine, we would have found the Chiari Malformation that is the probably cause of mine.

    11 years of the occasional slow spin if I tilted my head just a little too high and nightly spin as I lay down to sleep. 11 years of complacency that it had settled down to a dull roar that I could live with, and 27 days of waiting, wishing I could get in to see the neurologist sooner.

    Thank you for articulating so well what vertigo is like.

    1. johanna Post author

      Oh Suzanne, I feel for you. I know what you mean about the “little too high” business. I had a new symptom last year: if I tilted my head down in just a certain way, I got dizzier. Huh?? If I picked up my head in time, I was okay. If I left my head that way, onwards to a vertigo attack. I asked my otoneurologist. Well, there was nothing in my MRI to explain it.

      Of course not.

      Thank you for explaining about Chiari Malformations. I didn’t know about them.

      Good luck to you. — Johanna

      1. Suzanne

        I spent 40 years of my life with weird health issues that I jokingly introduced myself to doctors with “Hi, I’m the 2% girl-if it only happens to 2% of the population, then it happens to me.” They laughed, then found that I was not kidding.

        Sure enough, most of those 2% issues are tied to Chiari, which was not found until 4 years ago to figure out my neck and shoulder issues (also Chiari related). In fact, the neurologist was quite concerned about the Vertigo, but when I told him that it’d been 7 years since the Objective episodes, he relaxed. Later, he found the Chiari on my MRI and said that was why I had it.

        New doctor because mine left the practice…

        1. Karla

          I’m glad i found this site. Suzanne, I am also 2% :) I’m 17 and was recently diagnosed with chiari malformation type 1. To be honest I’m scared about living with this although I recently had decompression surgery. I’m still feeling some symptoms though. :(

  26. chris

    I stumbled onto your site by accident but im glad I did… I have had the worst year of my life and from what im reading sounds like it will be an ongoing life stlye not of my choice..

    In June I had a episode at work which turned out to be arrhythmia and spent 2 weeks in the hospital.. I was told I would have to have an ablation and was sent home with medicine and to wait for a date for the procedure which could be up to 6 months from then… After being home for 2 weeks I was driving my wife to work where I had a spell and went to the hospital directly, upon arrival I pased out and woke up in CCU and was told they will do the ablation within the next 3 days….

    Had the ablation (5hours on the table with not setitives) fun wow and next day sent home… Week later back in emergrncy complaing of light headness and fuzzy feeling kind of a brain fog as I saw written here, doctor said heart find and sent me home.. Ummm I didnt complain about my heart and I know its fine.. This went on for a month 5 Times in emergency when finnaly a dotor thought I had a stoke and listened to what I was saying the problem was… I was admited and the scans started. 2 ct scans and a mri should no tumour or were normal, the neurologist then came to see me a we spoke and he did a bunch of test to check balance ans eye movements and such.. Then he did this one test saying it could bring on dizzines.. First to the right nothing then the left.. OMG the room span and I was clutching the bed and I was so nauseas……

    He felt so bad he brought this on and asked the ENT to see me right away… Once the ENT came and did the same procidure he then performed one of the other procedures to fix it… All in 15 MINUTES.. I did fell a little better but a specest the week before put me on serc which will help control the dizziness but it can make you nausea.. I perfer the spinning than being nausea…

    After a week I stop taking serc as I thought my head was going to explode.. I am also on high blood pressure medicine, no idea how I got high blood pressure as it was normal before…. I told the ENT and my gp never to perscrib serc again.. There has to be another med.. Is there..? I live in Canada, so I know we dont have all the same drugs as they do elsewhere…

    After A month I was almost back to normal and the fog had lifted until 2 days ago when the dizziness came back… I did notice I had not been sleeping weel over the past week and I have an appointment with my sleep doctor next week…

    I am trying to be positive but like most its been a tough year with all the other issues and being pretty stuck in bed for the last 6 months…

    I have stated to drink more water as I read here its important and my diet for the past 6 weeks has been almost salt free and lots of veggies and less red meat.

    No coffee hurts miss my Tim hortons…

    So to sum up no coffeee no ciggerates no crappy food for 6 months…heart getting better and start physio next week to help lose weight… Actual thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel until the no cure for BPPV just learn to live with it…. Thats tough one.. As I had boughts of depression from being the hospital and feeling nausea for days and even had a counselor come talk to me…

    I am trying to tough it out as best I can.. Some times its tough to go to sleep as im scared what may happen next day..

    Question is there a correct way to sleep with vertigo, I heard multiple pillows helps..

    Thanks for this site.. I wont mention all through this my wife left me… God I think I will write a country song.. Lol

    1. johanna Post author

      Chris, my goodness. Okay, one thing at a time. Yes, write your country song!

      With BPPV, learn to do the Epley maneuver. Your crystals need to go back where they belong. (Make that part of your country song ;-) You are on a bunch of meds I know nothing about.

      Do lose the weight. Sigh. I’m with you there, buddy. I have said, “My belly is the root of all evil in my body.” I swear that of the 20 pounds overweight, 18 of them are in my belly. The other 2 are in my chin. How attractive. One day at a time. One meal. One choice. That’s all you can do. This is why I low carb. It’s much easier for me to make decisions about my food and my food is delicious. And I eat a ton of veggies.

      You may want to keep a journal, so you can tell what helps and what doesn’t.

      I sleep on two pillows because that does help my dizziness.

      Good luck, and write back when you can.

      1. chris

        Question for you have you seen a chiropractor? I have been reading that they can help more than a Ent… Not sure, I find do have issues with my neck since I was young so I need to see one anyway. Also read lack of sleep can bring on spells again not sure if true…

        The one med called serc is commonly known as betahistine… Again it help with the dizziness but made my head feel like it was going to explode and made me more nauseas

        Thanks for listening

        1. johanna Post author

          Hi Chris,

          No, I don’t see a chiropractor.

          I am sure that insufficient sleep can cause more dizziness. I’m considering writing a post about all the things I know that help me. I think I’ll draft that now.

          Oh dear, meds that make you more nauseous? Not good! There have to be other options.

          1. chris

            My ent gave me theBrandt-Daroff excercise to do… Is the epley better and how often do you do it.. TheBrandt-Daroff is done 3 Times a day…

          2. johanna Post author

            Chris, oh yes, so glad you wrote! There are a whole set of vestibular exercises you can do. You need to see physical therapist who specializes in vertigo. I’d forgotten about this.

            I saw a vestibular therapist for six months before I gave up. (Yes, I am persistent.) My brain did not adapt. Why? We have no idea. I am stubborn, but normal people adapt to vestibular loss. For some reason, I did not. Since we can’t discover why without an autopsy, I will wait, and let my children find out :-)

            See if you can get physical therapy visits with a vestibular therapist. The therapist knows, ahem, more than your ENT about the exercises and will have many ideas about your day-to-day living.

  27. Pingback: Seven Things You Can Do To Help Manage Your Vertigo

  28. chris

    Thank you this has been really helpful, funny you mention therapist as I was looking at the other link you rpovided and and found canadain therapist and had booked an appointment before I saw your reply.. Hehe simalar minds I guess..

    As for the daily log I just started just putting everything in foods thoughts etc.. Not sure so I put everything, its in the swme file as I have to do my blood pressure 2 Times a day anyways.
    I did try ginger tea, its actually quite spicy which is ok I like spicy.. It did help with the nausea feeling….

    I am happy to share and have dialog with people in the same boat… I searched for one when I had my ablation with no luck.. Man that was depressing as I had no idea what I was to feel and expect and my gp (which I trying to replace) but me farther behind in getting healthy…

    It does help to get things out….

    Again thank you.. And I will continue to post here and review others post and pass this link on to others..

  29. Kayla

    First I wanted to say thank you for posting such a detailed description of your vertigo. It sounds very familiar to what I am experiencing but have a hard time putting into words. I am a 20 year old female whose had a few problems with vertigo attacks lately. A major attack sounds very familiar to what you have described at first my eyes start to bug out so I can not focus on anything, it’s hard to describe, this increases as I get dizzy and start getting very hot and sweating. If I try to walk I feel very unstable and almost fall although luckily I haven’t…yet. My first major attack lasted about 15 minutes and the whole day after ill have a bad headache and slight dizziness. Anyways after my second major attack I went to the ER they took blood and did a cat scan but everything came back normal. I saw my regular position and an ENT and everything came back from them normal as well. I should mention when at the ER they gave me antivert to help the vertigo and nausea. I don’t really know if it works all that well. But anyways after all the drs appointments I didn’t seek further medical attention because I had not experienced an attack within a few weeks. Anyway the main reason I’m witting is that week I had one of the worst attacks resulting in me getting so dizzy and unstable I ended up on the toliet regularly and then on my knees to puke into in it 3 times. This is such a big deal for me because it is very unlikely for me to puke and takes a lot for me to do so I don’t think I’ve puked in the past five years till last week but this time I just couldn’t help it. At this point I’m wondering what to do. I know you are not a doctor I’m just looking for some sort of guidance whatsoever from someone who actually knows what I’m talking about and knows how terrifying this is. Should I try to see a neurologist? Could it be due to the fact I have scoliosis and my spine is misaligned? Could it just be a panic attack, which I have had in the past but are very different from this? I’m just looking for guidance I hate going to the dr to have them te me there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing they can do, it’s just stress or just take this pill when it happens. I’d rather have something be wrong to be able to address the issue than worrying about it, what it is and when it will occur next. Any suggestions would be very helpful. Thank you.

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Kayla. Oh boy. It *sounds* like vertigo to me. But the cause? You need an ENT to understand why you have these attacks. You want to get to the cause of them.

      What I did was:

      1. See an ENT.
      2. Tried vestibular therapy.
      3. Saw an oto-neurologist.

      I wonder if the scoliosis is an “incidental” finding, meaning, you have it, but it’s not a cause? It’s difficult to separate causes and effects with vertigo.

      The problem with vertigo is you can’t diagnose anything with a blood test. It’s all in your inner ear. You need vestibular testing.

      There are anti-nausea meds, which might be helpful. I found exercise to be more helpful. I don’t want to live my life on anti-nausea meds, but you have to get your vertigo under control before you make any decisions, right?

      You need a doc who will work with you. An ER doc can’t. You need to understand why your inner ear is going bonko. That’s not a technical term, but it’s good enough for now.

    2. Karla

      I’m 17 and I had your same symptoms. My problem came up in an mri. My doctors were confused at first and when they found the problem, they kind of ignored it because it was “slight” but when they did a more advanced video mri they found i have something called chiari malformation (type 1) which causes vertigo and headaches. Maybe do some research on it because symptoms usually show around your age.

  30. chris

    Hi, has anyone been affect by lack of sleep becuase they have vertigo? I fall asleep ok but wake up around 4:30 am everyday and cant fall back to sleep…

    I saw on another site that another person had this and it went away doing the semont maneuver…

    Does any one wake up and feel the lower part of their bodys has no energy aswell..???

    1. Karla

      Yes, constantly. When I lay down I know i’m not getting vertigo but I feel slight movement and i can’t help but think i’ll get another attack. I get scared. But eventually I have no choice but to fall asleep despite my uneasiness

    1. johanna Post author

      Lucy, I don’t have pain in my head when I have a vertigo attack. I don’t know about anyone else.

      I do have pain when I fall and get a concussion.

  31. Suzanne

    I don’t have pain, either. With my most recent attack, I got this tingly, lightheaded feeling, then my nose felt weird, and then the ‘spinnys’ (as we call them in my house) ramped up.

    I had been feeling strange all morning prior to the attack, and had a mild headache about 2 hours before it presented, but had taken something for that and it subsided.

    Johanna, I hope you don’t fall and get a concussion during any future attacks!

  32. chris

    The only time I felt like my head was going to explode was when I was taking vertigo medication Serc, I stop taking it and all that went away.

    Johanna thanks for mentioning the physio omg the first I saw was of but the next guy is my hero. He did a full work up on me wnd spent a half hour just qsking all kind of test, he did the eply procedure and finish with accupuncture to give me energy and take away the nausea. I felt so good for days ahd with folowup session no need for the emply, he did some neck thing and accupunture…

    He did mention that some symptoms may be my high blood pressure and go see the cardiologists to see

    One good day at a time…

    1. johanna Post author

      Crystal, do you work for Dr. Burcon? Do you have vertigo? Did he help you? What makes you say this? I’m curious. I’ve never been to a chiropractor. Vertigo has nothing to do with the back. It’s an inner ear problem. I cannot imagine why going to a chiropractor would change anything in your inner ear or your balance. I’m ready to be educated, but I do not understand why you said this, especially with no context. Please provide more information.

      1. Crystal

        Hi Johanna,

        Sorry I didn’t elaborate. No I do not work for Dr Burcon. I flew here to Grand Rapids, MI last Sunday to get the adjustments. I am from the Dallas Texas area. I have had a few vertigo attacks and many dizzy spells. I actually had a drop attack the day after the first adjustment and it stumped Dr Burcon because he said of all the patients he has helped with Menieres (over 300 now) that told him about these they are followed immediately by vertigo and I didn’t have vertigo. He has a website burcon and I would suggest you go to that and call them. Jane Burcon (his wife) will send you an information packet and explain the way it will go. Desperate situations call for desperate measures hence my trip to MI. I bought Earplanes from Walgreens to put in my heard because I was afraid of flying and getting dizzy. I did fine. The reason upper cervical chiropractic helps vertigo is because the upper 2 bones in the neck are off. Unless you go to a upper cervical most conventional chiropractors won’t adjust up that far. Even if you don’t come to MI find a upper cervical doc in your area and get to him. Dr Burcon specializes in Menieres and he told us if he could he would do nothing but Menieres but he has other patients and doesn’t want to send them away. He’s spoken at conferences, symposiums, taught other doctors all around the globe. Good luck Johanna!

        1. johanna Post author

          Crystal, thank you. This might work for people with Meniere’s Disease. I’m not one of them. (boo hoo.)

          I still don’t understand how adjusting neck bones works for inner ear problems, but if it provides you relief, that’s great. I’m not going to argue with it! As I say in other places, the brain is a mysterious organ.

          1. Crystal


            What is the source of your vertigo? I guess I just assumed you had Menieres. As far as I know no one should have to suffer vertigo. Yes the inner ear is the place of manifestation for the vertigo but the ear is ultimately run by nerves and blood vessels that go down through the spinal cord. If there is impingement on those there will be manifestations occur wherever they run to. It’s worth checking into it. The Internet holds a plethora of information. Take control of your health, you deserve it. The body is an amazing thing and we have an equally amazing ability to heal ourselves thanks to our awesome Creator. I am not claiming EVERYTHING can be “fixed” but give your own body a shot to help you out.


          2. Crystal


            Also please do NOT boohoo that you do not have Menieres. Believe me you do not want it. There are no words to describe the horror of this “sentence”.


          3. johanna Post author

            Crystal, I had an inner ear hemorrhage, which blew out at least one of my semi-circular canals, my cochlea, my auditory nerve, and one of my cochlear nerves on my right side. What I have sometimes mimics Meniere’s, but is not Meniere’s. I have a page, Intralabyrinthine Hemorrhage Information, because what I have is so rare.

            Normal people have brains that adapt. For some reason, my brain did not adapt. Why? Who knows. We can’t know until we do an autopsy, and I’m not ready for that yet :-)

            If I had Meniere’s, I would have a diagnosis and a prognosis. We would know about my brain. We could test and know what my brain would do. I wake up and have no idea how I will walk when I get out of bed. Will it be a good day or a bad day? It’s a total crap shoot. My meds make it much more even.

            It’s much better to have a diagnosis. Even a crappy diagnosis. I am a medical mystery and a dizzy broad at that. That I do not wish on anyone.

  33. miss kitty

    I was diagnosed with vertigo in 2009.
    I recently had a bad attack and woke up with no hearing
    In my left ear.I visited an ENT Dr and am now
    On prednisone to hopefully bring back the hearing
    And correct the vertigo. Thanks for the advice on
    No sugar and no salt as he mentioned the same
    I will be sure to practice this.As well as,drink plenty
    Of water and rest. I will be checking in to update you
    You on my progress..I’ve decided to not let this beat me
    As yourself we are both fighters and will beat this
    Best of luck to us both. ttys miss kitty

    1. johanna Post author

      Miss Kitty, good luck. I hope the prednisone works for you. Maybe I will post how I felt on prednisone, when I took it. I felt great! It didn’t work, but I felt great!

      On a more serious note, my heart goes out to you, and I wish you the very best. I hope the prednisone restores your hearing. Do let us know, when you can, how you are doing.

  34. Rick

    ive had vertigo (bppv) for about 4 years now. i am slightly dizzy everyday. but i had the worst vertigo attack a few days ago. it scared the heck out of me since i had never ever had one like that before. its a good thing i didnt panic. it was quite scary not being in control. it must have lasted 15 minutes. i cried and screamed during the duration and told myself to calm down. i have tears just thinking about it. whew!!!!!! i’m going to search on the internet and re-learn the epley maneuver. also, there is a device called the dizzyfix. has anyone had any experience with it? thanks to everyone who has contributed to this site. i feel for each and every one of you. thanks..

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Rick,

      I agree. I hate the not being in control. Makes me crazy. I just did a search and found this page about the Dizzyfix. Just shows that the internet has everything :-)

      I have always done the Epley on my own. But I don’t have BPPV very often. Now that I fall down less often, I have it even less. Good luck.

  35. Karen

    This is the first site I have seen that describes vertigo to the tee and I only read the first 3 paragraphs. I spent Tuesday 1/7/2013 in the ER because I had an attack (my third in two weeks) and it started in my sleep. When I woke up feeling like I was going to throw up the attack was in full blown mode. Is this even possible I had been sleeping for probably 4-5 hours. After about an hour I was able to fall back to sleep and when I woke up 5 hours later it was still happening. I am at a loss about this and my ear is still plugged up but with nothing in there. I HATE THIS !!!!!!!

    1. johanna Post author

      Karen, I feel for you. Good luck. Have you seen an ENT yet? You need one. Your vertigo is out of control. (Yeah, you didn’t need me to tell you that!)

      Good luck, and try my Seven Things You Can Do To Help Manage Your Vertigo. I don’t know if they will help.

      BTW, the professionals who try to describe vertigo have never had a vertigo attack. That’s why they can’t describe it.

  36. Lynn

    I found your posts on this website this morning. I have had 3 major attacks and 1 minor attack (the whirlies without the vomiting) since mid-October, 2013. Mine are caused by a brain cyst pressing on my brainstem and 4th ventricle, at least that’s when they started, when that was diagnosed.

    Like you, I have learned the scenario, and cope with it as best as possible. What I do not have is the current peace of mind that this won’t get worse or more frequent, due to the nature of what’s going on in my head. However, it was something of a relief to hear another person’s experiences, and realize it affects other people similarly.

    Here’s hoping everyone who goes through these episodes, incidents or attacks, whatever we choose to call them, finds the best way to cope for their individual situation.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Lynn, Well. I hope you have alternatives that can provide you relief. Or, that neurology or neurosurgery will someday have the tools to provide you relief. Best of luck to you.

  37. danielle

    i know exactly hiw u feel i had my first vertigo attack in aug of 2009 i wwas 23 and i have no idea why but like u said most people have no idea

  38. cheryl

    Thanks to everyone for posting all these informative posts. I have had every test you can imagine to find the source of my dizziness (more like an eneven, lightheaded feelinf) and nausea.
    I am a real emetephobe and will do anything to keep from throwing up. Ive only done it a few times in my life, and I am 65! All the ear tests came back normal, as well as a brain MRI and a CT scan of the sinuses. An endoscopy revealed gastritis and esophagitis and am on Nexium for thar and the gastro doc says that should be healed. I have had this dizzy and nausea since the end of sept last year. The first 8 to10 weeks of this, all I could do was stay at home and take meclizine, phenergan and xanax for all the symptoms I was having. The xanax was for the immense anxiety I am experiencing as a result of not knowing what is wrong and feeling so unwell so much of the time. I had a couple of good weeks between Christmas until after New Years, but since then, I am back to taking meds several times a day and just trying to keep from getting dizzy and nauseous.
    I was told I dont have Menieres, or BPPV, or anything like that. They just called it “disequalibrium”. I have been to a physical therapist and amm doing all the exercises everyday.
    I have been to the chiropractor and an acupuncurist as well.
    I miss my active outgoing self! I am sick of feeling sick and tired so much of the time!

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Cheryl, Wow. Have you been to an ENT? Sounds like it. How about an otoneurologist? It sounds as if you don’t have a diagnosis either. Sigh. Welcome to my club. Not a good place to be.

  39. cheryl

    Hi, Johanna,
    Yes, I have been to both anENT and an oto neurologist. They all say my ears are fine, great nerves between ears and brain, no fluid in the inner ears, healthy cilia etc. It really is getting very discouraging. I also had vision changes with this but I have a couple of problems with my eyes so I went to my opthalmologist. He didnt see anything really wrong, but I am going tomorrow to see a neuro opthalmologisr, who I hope can shed some light on all of this. Then on Feb 25th Ivam getting a second opinion from another oto neurologist to see if she can find something the first one missed. My GP goes to her, so I feel confident that if anyone can find the problem, maybe she can.

  40. cheryl

    Thanks, Johanna,
    I went to the neuro opthalmologist today and he also looked at a copy of the MRI I had done on my brain a couple of months ago. He found nothing on either the MRI or upon examining my eyes that could be a problem causing my vision change.
    I told him I was going to see another oto neurologist to get a second opinion, and *who* I was going to, and he said she is the doctor to see. Soooo, if this doc doesn’t find anything different from my original oto neurology exam, I will have to believe that all of my sypmtoms were caused by the round of Bactrim I took for a sinus infection at the beginning of all my symptoms. I have looked at several blogs about people having severe side effects from Bactrim, and some of them have had similar experiences.

  41. Karla

    I’m 17 years old, senior in high school and over this past summer I found out I have chiari malformation. It causes me migraines and I’m ok with migraines and headaches after I experienced vertigo. I will tell you that I don’t have much fear in life, but vertigo is what i’m scared of (my #1 fear) Experiencing vertigo the first time was the WORST day of my life. And I was SCARED like never before. Ive never ben that scared In my life. Every time I have gotten an episode I feel my heart drop and instantly panic. I recently had a surgery That’s supposed to help reduce. I’m two weeks into recovery and I haven’t had vertigo, but if you have experienced it before, that feeling of unsteadiness or the feeling of falling you get before or after, thats how I’ve been feeling. I don’t really know how to explain it and I know there are people out there with diseases worse than mine but I just can’t take it anymore I want to be a normal 17 year old, i want to be active and go out with friends but I can’t. No one understands what I go trough everyday and I’m hoping someone here does. I just need to get this off my chest somewhere where people wont question me 1000 times and will understand the struggle. I just hope I can be “normal” soon.

    1. johanna Post author

      Karla, I hope that the surgery provides you relief. I agree that the vertigo is quite scary. I hope you can be normal, too soon. Maybe you can keep us posted on your recovery?

      1. Karla

        Thank you very much! I will keep you posted. Yesterday wasn’t much of a change but i’m praying that i’ll get better soon I really am :) I appreciate you sharing your story!

  42. cheryl

    Hi, Johanna,
    Thank you for yuor reply.
    I do almost all of the driving because I enjoy it and my husband doesn’t. I drove a school bus for 25years. Taking the train from San Antonio to Dallas is, unfortunately, a 10 hour ride, and that is if there are no delays. I hate to fly, always have, so I don’t think I could do that. I am so obsessed with my cond ition that it causes me great anxiety. I currently am taking meclizine every day, usually several times, but I cut the pills in half so I don’t get more than 50mg in a 24 hour period. If I get the nausea to where I cannot stand it any more, I will take half a 25mg phenergan, so 12.5 once or twice most days. I also have Xanax, but I don’t want to take more than. 5mg a day, one pill total, so I cut that pill in half too. My daughter says I should bring the lavender oil she gave me in the car so it can help me relax on the drive, and the peppermint oil for the nausea.
    I really pray I can make it!
    Thanks for listening! I know it is up to me to change my thoughts about this illness and not let in run and ruin my life.

  43. Don

    Hi Johanna,

    Your oscillopsia condition sounds like an on-going nightmare. I am in awe when I read how you have whacked your condition into a somewhat more docile condition than it could be.. Thanks so much for posting your descriptions of vertigo. All these posts give us ideas of other things to try.

    As you said, very few people know what a vertigo attack really is. They think it’s only when you stand up too fast after sitting on the couch or look over a railing on a tall building.

    My “main event started when I awoke one night and raised my head to see what time it was. The red numbers on the clock were spinning around the room at a zillion miles an hour. The only thought I could muster was … this is a very bad dream. I put my head down and went back to sleep.

    The next morning I went into the bathroom and without warning experienced the “colonoscopy-prep” event you mentioned. Following that delightful episode, I began walking out of the bathroom but didn’t quite make it. The world went into over-drive spin. I fell to the floor and shut my eyes as tight as I could, not knowing what was happening. I could feel my body go into shock but my mind was functioning just fine. I called my wife (who nearly fainted seeing her husband lying with a sheet-white face.) I suggested she might want to call 911.

    The medics arrived within minutes and thought I had vertigo. The ER doctor gave me a Meclizine tablet and said he would be back in ten minutes. When he returned he too concluded I had vertigo. He asked if I wanted him to conduct the Epley maneuver which would re-adjust the ear crystals. He did the maneuver and pronounced me fit to go. In what was likely a record-setting ER visit, I was out of there in less than an hour, feeling only slightly dizzy from the Meclizine.

    I didn’t follow up with my primary care physician even though I felt unsettled and dizzy in the following weeks, along with a few hours of ringing in my right ear. About six months after “the main event,” I began experiencing more dizziness and nausea. I found a highly recommended otolaryngologist who specializes in dizziness and balance. Over a six-month period, he ran the suite of hearing and balance tests looking for Meniere’s Disease and other progressive vestibular problems. Then came physical therapy sessions which provided no noticeable help. Next it was a neurologist and the brain MRI, again nothing apparently related to my vertigo.

    Other symptoms appeared. My balance became noticeably poorer. Low-level dizziness and nausea were almost constant, sometimes much worse than at other times. Loud noises were painful. People’s normal voice levels were painful on occasion. But I’ve never lost any hearing in either ear.

    At the end of six months and many visits to the doctor, he told me I “probably” had vestibular neuritis caused by a virus which had destroyed part of my inner ear. He gave me a prescription for Acyclovir and said that I should take it for life. And that I may need a cane or walker to help with my balance in the future.

    I’m still taking Acyclovir twice a day. My symptoms are much the same as they were a year ago. Constant low-level dizziness of varying degrees with occasional nausea. I don’t become nauseous to the point of vomiting, however. The dizziness can be debilitating at times but then it lets up and I can get on with life.

    Here is what I’ve noticed about my condition. There are no advance warnings as to when I’m going to have a bad vertigo day. Poor sleep brings on more severe vertigo that can last for several days. With poor sleep comes a headache at the top back of my head. Watching some activities on TV sets it off, as does standing behind a group of people who are also standing (and moving around.) Watching waves hit the shore or watching water run down a gutter are vertigo generators. Sometimes sleeping on my right side gives me a queasy, vertigo-is-coming feeling so I usually sleep on my left side with an ear plug in my right ear to get better sleep.

    While I’m walking and driving, the vertigo is less noticeable. Neither caffeine nor dehydration makes any noticeable difference. I’ve used Stevia in my two cups of decaf coffee for years. I’ve never been much for sugar or salt so those don’t figure in to it. My vertigo can be much worse on Sundays. I’ve found nothing that might trigger those frequent Sunday-morning vertigo smacks.

    I might also mention that vision in my right eye has an uncorrectable distortion due to a retinal detachment and surgery about 20 years ago.

    I think my vertigo doctor’s diagnosis is right. It explains most of the symptoms. I am thinking about searching out another specialist just for a second opinion. With a life-time issue like this, I think a second opinion is more than justified.

    Thanks again, Johanna. You have done us all a huge favor by posting your experiences and letting us post ours. Perhaps a common thread will emerge someday and some of us (hopefully all) will be better because of your blog.

    1. johanna Post author

      Don, my goodness. I am speechless. Which for me, is quite an accomplishment!

      I wonder if your Sundays and my Sundays are a similar “problem”: if I sleep “too” late, and I start the day too late, where I take my meds too late, my vertigo sometimes gets worse. It’s not consistent (nothing about my vertigo is), but I’ve noticed it more often, rather than less often. I do agree with you about the poor sleep.

      Some things I can’t watch on TV. Right now the Olympics are on. I cannot watch the snowboarders do their flips and turns—they make me dizzy, depending on where the camera is. I have the same problem watching some gymnastics.

      If I were you, I would get a second opinion. Your vertigo is not controlled. I wouldn’t called it managed very well. Well, that’s my opinion. But if that many things can set off your dizziness, maybe it’s time for an otoneurologist.

      You might go to, and see if there is someone else there like you.

      Good luck with this. I do hope all of us find a way forward to better health. Certainly, less frustration from dizziness in our lives.

      1. Don


        Thank you for you reply and good wishes. I have been seeking an otomeurologist for a second opinion and think I have found one. So I have that to look forward to.

        You are right about the winter Olympic sports with all the flips, turns and spins being hard to watch. I just cannot do that. (I’ll have to wait for summer Olympic archery.) As to my Sunday morning vertigo, I try to follow a strict sleeping routine even on Sundays. Same time to bed, same time to get up. One of your readers mentioned that the thought of a coming social activity made her dizzy. Perhaps the thought of seeing all those moving bodies in church sets off my vertigo. Not good because it’s easy to become hermit-like. Arrgh! (Or is that a pirate?)

        Keep up the good cheer and your great posts.


  44. Colette Bapst

    I am so glad to find this site! I have been experiencing “dizzy” attacks for over 12 years. All were transient and easily managed with meclizine. All drs. said labyrinitis. Then after 2 weeks of bed rest for a severe hamstring tear I woke up at 5am to a severe attack in August, 2013. I could not stand. I went to the local ENT that I had seen before and missed 3 weeks of work. Meclizine did nothing but my Zyrtec seemed to help a little. Since then my head always feels a little “funny”. A few days ago I began to get dizzy again but mostly when lying down. Only another vertigo sufferer can understand the fear this causes. Most drs. don’t listen. I did read that there is a specialist out west who actually had vertigo herself and has developed an exercise similar to Eply but better. Has anyone heard of it? I think she lives in Colorado. It seems to me with so many people suffering from this disorder more would be done to help prevent attacks.
    Thanks for listening!

    1. johanna Post author

      Colette, Wow, glad to have you here. Well, not glad, but I’m glad you know there is a community here. I hope you find someone who can help you.

      1. cheryl

        Hi, Johanna and all,

        I went for a second opinion to another oto-neurologist, and finally got what I think is a viable diagnosis. She thinks I have MAV, or migraine associated vertigo. I had two occular migraines ten years ago when I was stressed out over a life changing decision I had to make, and have not had any other symptoms since, until this dizziness/nausea started at the end of last September when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer and I drove 600 miles round trip 9 times in just over 4 months to take care of her and her 3 year old daughter. I have been dizzy and somewhat nauseated off and on, mostly on, for 5 months.
        Has anyone here ever had, or ever heard of MAV without horrible headaches? I have had some minor headaches, and from my reading, have determined that migraines don’t have to be head banging ones, but can be a lot less painful and still be considered migraine.
        If anyone *has* been diagnosed with this, what drugs worked for you? This doc is thinking about putting me on an old antihistamine, cyproheptadine (sp?)

  45. Christina

    I have vertigo and it is scary. I am 32yrs old. I lose hearing in my right ear. I get dizzy. My world starts spinning. My heart beats extremely fast. I can barely stand, well actually I can not stand. Afterwards I can hear my heartbeat in my ear for days. I have an upset stomach I feel as if I have to vomit but I don’t. I have slight headaches. I take medicine for my vertigo.I want to learn how to live with it and work as a nurse. Is this possible?

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Christina, I don’t know if you can work as a nurse with your vertigo. It depends on what kind of a nurse you want to be.

      How often are your attacks? Do you know what causes them? If you have Meniere’s Disease, maybe you can be a nurse, because there is a way to manage Meniere’s. If you have labyrinthitis, maybe, because that has an end.

      You need to discuss your vertigo with your ENT and what your life plans are. Ask your doc if your nursing plans are compatible with your vertigo. I suspect that if you want to be an ER nurse, the answer might be no. But another kind of nurse? The answer might be yes.

      Good luck. I hope you get your vertigo under control and let us know what happens.

  46. uknown

    I have had my vertigo since i was in 5th grade until now, I’m graduating in High school in a few months but i still have my vertigo.. Please help… I don’t know what to do anymore. I take medications that doctors give me but still. my vertigo still attacks me… I want this to go away. When my vertigo attacks, i feel very dizzy and I would get a crossed eye, idk why… I always hear ringing in both my ears that are sometimes too loud.. Please help me. How should i prevent this vertigo?

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi simplek31, I don’t know how to prevent a vertigo attack. Do you have a diagnosis? For example, do you have Meniere’s Disease? If you have had vertigo since the 5th grade, and you are graduating high school, that’s 7 years. I assume you have an ENT. If not, you need one.

      Your tinnitus (ringing in your ears) is a side effect of your vertigo. If you know why you have vertigo, you might know why you have tinnitus. I have tinnitus because my auditory nerve is broken. The connection from my auditory nerve to my brain was severed when I had my inner ear hemorrhage (which caused my initial vertigo attack). I have constant tinnitus now. It’s not so bad under normal circumstances. When my ear fluctuates (we don’t know why), my tinnitus increases, I have pain in my ear, and I have a vertigo attack. I am not normal; my vertigo is not normal.

      What kind of vertigo do you have? Meniere’s? BPPV? Something else?

      Now that you are graduating from high school, you must learn the specifics of your condition. (Maybe you already know.) The more specifics you know, the more you can learn if there are new treatments. Do you need to eat or drink in a specific way? Will the steroid injections that I had, that they give Meniere’s patients work for you?

      If you have not seen an oto-neurologist yet, consider it. They are neurologists who specialize in inner ear conditions.

      You need to become educated about your condition and search for alternatives that fit your life. This is difficult, but do-able. Good luck. If you can, maybe you can let us know what you discover.

    1. Don


      Thanks for revealing Dr. Carol Foster’s new technique for vertigo sufferers. I found her YouTube presentation … a do-it-yourself video. I also found a U. of Colo. website that had written instructions to her “half-summersault” technique (which differed slightly from her YouTube presentation.)

      I tried her technique over the weekend. I was hoping I had found the silver bullet to cure my vertigo. Sadly, I still have my dizziness but using the technique may have brought some relief. I must say the technique itself can make you really dizzy and nauseous during and just after performing it.

      Has anyone else tried Dr. Foster’s technique? Results?



      1. johanna Post author

        Don, you mean this video? I didn’t try it. My crystals are in place right now. I’m interested to hear if anyone else tries it.

        1. Don

          Hi Johanna,

          Yes, that’s the video I mentioned in my note to Colette of March 17.

          Dr. Foster, et al., wrote a scientific article comparing her half-somersault technique with the traditional Epley maneuver. In the article’s appendix, she provides the written instructions for her technique. The article’s abstract provides the conclusions if one is not inclined to plow through the article itself. Here is the link to her article.



  47. Cassandra

    I have had vertigo since last April and its recently gotten worse. Now, I can only lay on my left side because laying on my ride side makes me soo dizzy. I also have a sleeping disorder which causes me to sleep about 10 hours every day. Laying on only my left side for that long is hurting my ear so bad it feels like it is bleeding, but I have no choice. Do you have any suggestions or tips? Thank you so much

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Cassandra, Sorry, you have stumped me. Sounds like you need a neurologist to untangle the sleeping part from the vertigo part so you can get better quality of sleep and therefore life. I agree, it’s very difficult when conditions intersect.

  48. Prisca

    Thanks for the information,i hope it will help.But my great concern is that it embrace when i want to be with my husband(hope you understand what i mean) and does it mean that it doesn’t go completely?

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Prisca,

      If I understand what you mean—you still have the vertigo when you want to have intimate time with your husband? What do you do then?

      We used to have a waterbed. It was a contemporary waterbed, so it had baffles, but it was waterbed. Now we have a Tempurpedic. The bed does not move. That helps.

      I try not to move my head. That means we don’t swing from chandeliers. Okay, we never did before :-) But, since I can put my head in a certain position and get dizzy, I make sure I don’t do that. That restricts us, but there are still plenty of options. We have to talk to each other.

      We maintain our sense of humor. I read somewhere that if you can laugh in bed, you can have a great intimate life. Ours is different from before, but we are still laughing, so it’s still great. Sorry, but that’s all the detail you’ll get from me. Maybe someone else will comment?

  49. Corri

    Hi, I found this website because like everyone else, I’m looking for advice on how to live with vertigo. My story is similar to others who have just ‘woken up’ one morning to find the world spinning, and from then on life is never the same. My attacks are usually spaced months apart, but its the constant fear of not knowing when its going to happen, that is hard to live with. Most of us here have been to see Drs and ENT specialists with not much result which is frustrating. I have also spent a lot of time and money on going to an ENT who is situated 3 hours away from my country town. That involves lots of travel and nights in a motel to make the early appointments and my husband taking time off work to come with me. And after 6 months of tests and appointments -the Dr said this should all go away by itself in time. Anyway in answer to Colete I have the Dizzyfix. I have used it once so far and it seemed to help. Its a hat/device that gives you detailed help on how to do the epley maneuver. It comes with a dvd and a reading card that explains how to use it. My husband helped me follow the steps with the card, but if you lived alone you could set up the dvd player at the ready if you needed it and then you can just hit play and listen to it. Its a good idea to watch it or read the card while you feel ok so you have an idea on how to move your head when your actually spinning. I’m in Australia and bought it from an outlet in Adelaide, but I think its base company is in Canada. I also have a question of my own. After an attack I am left with a headache that lasts for days and a weird floaty/woozy feeling. Does anyone feel like this? And thank you Johanna for this website. Vertigo leaves you feeling very lonely and it helps to talk with others who know what its like. Best wishes to everyone : )

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Corri, it sounds like the Dizzyfix is useful. That’s great. I do find the Epley maneuver helpful when I have BPPV. I did find that after my first vertigo attack, the BPPV calmed down, especially with vertigo therapy. I keep a spreadsheet of my vertigo attacks. I bring them with me to my doc visits. It’s helpful for my docs to see my history that way. I track the days between attacks.

      Your question about the headache that lasts for days and a “floaty/woozy” feeling is a good question. I hope other people answer you. I know that after I have an attack, I do not feel normal for several days. I feel “extra dizzy.” I don’t normally have a headache.

      Do you know about They help people collect data on common and rare conditions. You might find other people and a community there, too. I’m really happy about the community here, don’t get me wrong. They actually collect data. (What a novel idea!) Not just stories.

      I’m glad you’re here, Corri. Well, not glad that you have vertigo. But, I’m glad you found this site.

  50. Jaison Howard

    OMG!!! Not to be mean, but finally Simone who knows what it’s like and has it worse than me!!! Funny as I’m a grown man an I find my eyes tearing up to know that someone has described to a “T” most of my issues. Although your continues on where mine ends.
    Typically mine starts in the morning when I have to wake up really early for work….maybe exhaustion has something to do with it….but it comes at other times as well. I have no idea what my eyes are doing, as the only time I tried to look in the mirror it made things 10x worse and I nearly vomited immediately. What I do know of my episodes is that I to can feel it coming most of the time. It’s a weird feeling like something just under the surface of the water. It’s there, but it’s not. And that’s the worst part….waiting, not knowing if it will full kick in and what movement will make it kick in. It could be a tilt of the head…but it has also come when I’m just sitting, looking straight forward. Then all of the sudden it’s like the room shifted, and shifted back. Then the swirl usually is close behind if I move…kinda like being on a 360 degree tilt a whirl carnival ride.
    I’ve managed to get really good at finding my fixed point….like fast. That usually stops mine dead in its tracks. Then I just have to wait it out….seconds, minutes, and hour? You just don’t know til you decide you are brave enough to go for a test rise of moving your head around. Then, just as fast as the initial symptoms came on….they are gone!! Total relief follows and the thoughts of how long til next time? Do I have a incompetent ENT cause he can’t figure out what’s wrong? Did the test actually show anything? Will the neurologist be any better? (That’s what I am up to in my search…advised to see neurology) Do I want the neurologist to find anything? Isn’t it worse if its ur brain? Jeez this sucks!!!!!

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Jaison,

      Let’s not compare. There are people here who definitely are worse off than I am. I’m glad you feel as if you’ve found a home here in this dizzy community :-)

      I agree. Tiredness makes my dizziness worse. When my nystagmus/saccades get going, I can’t see what’s going on, so I don’t look in the mirror. I do keep a spreadsheet of my attacks. It’s the engineer in me. I keep hoping if I provide my docs enough data, they will give me The Answer.

      Vertigo is in your brain. You should see a neurologist. Generally, it’s an otoneurologist. Be aware: they have fewer people skills than ENTs. They have way cooler tests :-) If you go to a balance lab, like the one I went to at Mass Eye and Ear, you spend a few hours and you get much more information about your vertigo.

      The problem is we have insufficient imaging for our inner ears. We don’t know enough about the nerve endings from our semicircular canals into the brains. Those hair cells in the inner ear? Not totally figured out. Mine are dead (from my hemorrhage). What does that mean for me? Total mystery. Are yours working? Maybe the tests will tell you.

      If tilting your head can trigger your vertigo, and finding your fixed point can stave off an attack, I would certainly recommend you see a good otoneurologist. You don’t necessarily have an incompetent ENT. You are on the very edge of your ENT’s knowledge. He/she wants to fix you. He/she’s frustrated that everything you two have tried so far hasn’t worked.

      Docs are human, too. They want to succeed. You have to advocate for yourself. You have to be the one to say, “It’s time to see someone else. You have done your best, and it’s been great, but it’s not enough. Would you please refer me to an otoneurologist?”

      Good luck to your fine self.

  51. wendy

    I am glad i stumbled upon ur article.i just had my very first vertigo attack three days ago. woke up to a feeling that the room was spinning.i was brought to the emergency rm this am bec my dizziness wouldnt stop and bp was goin up.i have bppv.i was womdering how i can go wrk with this

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Wendy, When your dizziness calms down you can return to work. You might need meclizine for a few days. If you have BPPV, you can learn to do the Epley maneuver or something else to get the crystals back in their places. You need to understand what caused your vertigo so you can prevent it (as much as you can) from occurring again. Vertigo is not going to prevent you from working. It’s the other stuff (like falling over because you don’t know which way is up!) that is a problem.

  52. Farron Richardson

    I am 25 now and have suffered with vertigo attacks since I was 6 almost every other month or every 3 months. I have had every consult you can think of. No medicine helps. Undiagnosed vertigo is the worse and I wouldn’t wish this on even my worst enemy. Good luck.

    1. johanna Post author

      Farron, my goodness! I feel with you.

      I returned from Scotland this past weekend. I sat next to a woman who sells MRI equipment. She says they are experimenting with much stronger MRI machines in Europe. So far, they are only for clinical trials in things like Parkinson’s or MS in Europe. Phht. I hope that means that regular neurologists will have access to them in several years.

      You and I need better imaging. The reason we have undiagnosed vertigo is that no one can see far enough into our inner ears. Or into our neurons to see what the heck is going on. We need better tools.

  53. Farron Richardson

    I almost wish we could be a part of the clinical trials. If I weren’t a strong individual I would have given up in life already. This has hindered me from so much. I fear for my career when I finally get going. I have lost jobs over this. It’s been nothing but a burden. However I only found out that there were more people than just me with this problem. I wish there was like a support group. I grew up alone in all this. Dr’s think I’m crazy, people think I just make myself sick or go out partying and have a massive hang over the next day. It really is a downer. I sure hope they bring it to the states soon.

    1. johanna Post author

      Do you know about They gather data. Some people have blogs. You might try that.

      1. Farron Richardson

        No I didnt. I’ll check it out. Thanks. Dealing with this issue now…. :/ went to the ER yesterday, they seem to think nothing is wrong and sent me on my way. So may be going to the VA hospital maybe my Dr will do something. :(

  54. Don

    Hi Johanna,

    I’m a bit gun-shy in writing this but I think it’s the right thing to do. As you may recall, I wrote previously detailing my two-plus year struggling with vertigo. About a month ago, I noticed a significant reduction in the severity of my symptoms. It all happened within a few days. On a scale of 0 (no symptoms) to 10 (worst ever) I went from around a 5 or 6 to a 2 or less.

    Did I do anything different? I can only come up with two things … I stopped putting cardamom in my coffee and I started taking a Centrum Silver multi-vitamin each day. Coincidence? Most likely but you can bet I’ve discarded the cardamom and am continuing with the vitamin. (I read somewhere that low B=12 might be related to vertigo.) Yes, I’ll try anything to minimize the symptoms.

    I still have bad days along with the good days, but now they range from a 2 to a 1. Will I ever get to a 0 day? I hope so.



    1. johanna Post author

      Well, good for you! We all need to be our own scientists.

      I also take a multivitamin every day, along with glucosamine, calcium (I am a woman over a certain age), and omega 3.

      I drink green tea many days, but not every day. I drink water when I don’t drink green tea

  55. Kristin

    Greetings! I love how you wrote about your experience with Vertigo. As I am writing to you I am currently on my way to have a Vertigo attack. I am 21 now and I’ve had it for a year.
    My attacks happened a lot during the winter time, as I live in Norway, winter gets pretty cold here. Now it is May and it’s been several months since I’ve had an attack. I really hate this a lot cause it basically ruins most of your day and I have work tomorrow morning.

    I feel with you when you say your doctors look at you as if you were crazy, I have been going back and forth to specialists and therapists to find out, they say they cannot be sure about what I have but I kept saying it is Vertigo cause I get every symptom which leads with vertigo to the end.

    The weird thing is that I have my tinnitus on my left ear and the rotations moves to the left as well, not to the right. Often I find my self walking on all 4 to get to the bathroom, when it gets to the worst I cannot see what is in front of my anymore, just now I have a hard time concentrating what I am typing here and I am soon going to bed and hope I can avoid the worst.

    In my case I don’t think I will ever get rid of Vertigo but it doesn’t occur as much at least. I only get it about 10 times a year, but it is kind of scary and a little sad to think I have to live with it the rest of my life. I travel A LOT and most of the times I am scared of having an attack before I go on holidays as I know it would have ruined everything and most people doesn’t understand that it is IMPOSSIBLE to go anywhere whilst having an attack.

    I hope it goes all well for you and I feel your ” pain “, Now I will go lay down and wait for the roller coaster ride to happen.

    Most kind regards from
    Kristin, Norway.

    1. johanna Post author

      Kristin, “only” 10 times a year? I think that’s a lot! I hope that they find the cause of your vertigo and you can manage it better, so you stop getting these attack. Nobody needs these roller coasters.

      Best wishes to you,

  56. Kristin

    I hope so too, but Doctors in Norway are really hopeless when it comes to finding out things in a quick, effective ways.

    I thought my numbers were quite common but I guess they are not! Usually the attacks are minor but it still puts me out for 3 – 5 hours, the worst one I had one time lasted more than 10 hours! I’ve been finding out ways to prevent them for being really bad and it helps most of the time. At last, I hope to not have this the rest of my life since I am only 21 and it’s a bit frightening to see my self having this for the next 60 years.

    Best luck to you as well!

  57. Stacy

    Hi thank you for your post but first I want to say I am so sorry;( I had a baby by c section last year in march 3 weeks later lifted my head the hol room was spinning all day every day I could feel it in my breathe in bed!!! It’s awful I have found so many moms going through after childbirth I have been to a million doctors no one knows;( it’s been a year an 6 months I sway all day lost my balance have an awful heart beat in my ears!

    1. Kristin

      Sometimes I think the doctors has to check you while you are having the attack, no one of mine can find what ever causes my Vertigo attack’s, but as I’ve read there is two things that causes it, either your ear or there is something with your balance nerve in your brain, and that nerve is right behind the ear.

      I have tinnitus which is constant or 80% of the day my ears are ringing or beeping very high pitched tones. My condolences to you for discovering Vertigo so soon after having a baby!

      If you have these attacks I recommend you to lie still on your back and depending on which way the room is spinning, try to tilt your head either way and see if you can sleep like that without feeling the room is spinning with your eyes closed.

      When I get this attack the room is spinning if I have my eyes open and if I try closing them I can FEEL the room spinning with me in it, but when I laid my self on thick pillows which raised my head up and tilted my head to the left side the room stopped spinning when I closed my eyes and I was able to sleep of the attack more peacefully.

      I also recommend you to sleep with thick pillows which raises your head a little more upwards and try getting used to sleep on your back if you’re not. But things works different to everyone so try as well to experiment what causes your attacks and what works for you to get more controll, it took me long time but now I am able to get a little more control when ever I have the attack.

      Best regards and good luck too you !

    2. johanna Post author

      HI Stacy, wow. Vertigo seems like an unusual and not likely complication post-birth, doesn’t it? Congratulations on the baby! So sorry to hear about the vertigo. I wonder what they gave you for meds when you were in the hospital. Did they give you gentamycin? Well, that’s in the past. You have to deal with the present.

      If you have BPPV, make sure you know the Epley maneuver. Or, as Don pointed to Cr. Carol Foster’s youtube video. Mona talks about her husband’s Zifran. I took meclizine when my vertigo was very active and preventing me from driving. If the baby is over a year old, you are probably not nursing, so you have more options with meds now, right?

      Your heartbeat is partially from your tinnitus. Make sure your ENT explains all of your condition and symptoms to you. You deserve to know everything.

      Being a new mom is life-changing. Now you also have this condition which is life changing. Educate yourself. Get vestibular therapy. Determine the cause of your vertigo. Take care of yourself, so you can be your best self, for you and your family. Good luck.

  58. Farron Richardson

    Ok so I went to see neurology again. It’s been about 12 years since I seen them. So I am hoping they have gained more knowledge over the years. I was told with everything I told them about my attacks. It’s either abdominal migraines or seizures. That’s sums it up. I got for more testing next month. We shall see what they say. They think it’s a form of a seizure. I’m honestly hoping it’s just a migraine but… in any case I’ll be happy to know and to start on the path to finding something to help me. Instead of being a lab rat.

  59. johanna Post author

    Hey everyone, I saw your new comments.
    In case you haven’t checked the updates on the page recently, check When I first joined, they didn’t have many people with vertigo. Now they have more. We have a community now, and they have a way to gather patient data. Maybe it’s time for us to put our data there.

    We are all different. But they have a way to gather data, on meds, on causes, on ways to go forward. Consider filling out a profile there.

  60. Jec

    NOTE: (sorry I mistakenly posted my comment as a reply so you can ignore the 1st one >.<)

    I agree that people really won't understand how awful and scary it feels like to have a vertigo attack unless they experience it themselves. I experienced my 1st and only (for now and hopefully forever) vertigo attack last year and having it around the end of the semester (a very busy and stressful time) was of no help at all.

    For me, I started feeling a bit out of breath and was hyperventilating just a teeny bit. I felt a bit scared because It was the same feeling I get when I'm starting to have motion sickness. I thought it was weird so I took deep breaths and drank a lot of water to assure myself everything was fine and I'm still breathing fine. I even proceeded doing school work.

    Then, I decided to take a break and lie down in bed, eyes closed. Then this crazy thing began when I rolled to my side.

    It felt like I was spinning even though I was on my bed. I thought it was the usual quick disoriented feeling you get when you change your position but then it lasted for a few seconds and it felt like I was on an endless spinning ride. Then that's when I thought, 'Okay, this is weird. I'm gonna open my eyes to snap out of it.' But to my surprise, when I opened my eyes, I really did saw the the world spinning at such a fast pace that I immediately panicked and felt queasy. I wanted to vomit so I tried to run to the nearby sink but as soon as I stood up, I couldn't keep my balance and fell down (duh, the world was literally spinning). I vomited as I fell to the floor.

    The vomiting was awful. I lost count of how many times I vomited. I felt like my stomach was being squeezed to the last drop and even when I already ran out of stuff to vomit, my abdominal muscles kept on contracting forcing me to vomit…uh, gastric juices, I guess. That night, because the nausea got worse when I try to lie down, I 'slept' sitting on a chair, hyperventilating, while holding a plastic bag just in case I felt like vomiting again. I didn't want to eat too because I knew it was just going to be vomited anyway. I tried though. I also noticed that if the food wih strong flavors made me want to vomit more. What did it though were boiled eggs. They were successfully digested in my stomach.

    Luckily, my close friends were there when it happened. I can't imagine what would have happened otherwise. I couldn't even stand by myself for long without feeling the urge to vomit again.

    1. johanna Post author

      Jec, yup, that’s it. So sorry you are part of our club.

      I’m glad you found something you could eat. I’m glad you had friends who could help you. When your inner ear goes “wonko” like that, you cannot help yourself.

      Sorry it took me so long to approve your post. I had a saccades attack myself, yesterday. Oh well. I’m back today, a little hungrier :-), a little thirstier, and much more rested. (I’ve been having these strange attacks, where I get the saccades. My eyes go wonky, my stomach gets queasy, but I don’t get the whirlies. It started yesterday afternoon, so I took a nap. Then it woke me up out of a sound sleep last night. I do not understand this.)

  61. sarah

    I am 28 years old and just experienced my second vertigo attack. Today it lasted about 4 hours. I am on meclizine, however it just makes me groggy for the rest of the day. I have 2 kids and I can’t be groggy. Is there anything I can do to make this stop? Thank you in advanced. DESPERATE MOMMY

    1. johanna Post author

      Sarah, if you have not yet seen an ENT, go. You need to understand what is causing your vertigo attacks. Without a diagnosis, you can’t manage your vertigo.

      I am not you :-), however, I would get help for taking care of the kids. You are not yourself when you have a vertigo attack. Until you have a diagnosis, you need help.

      Did you see my Seven Things You Can Do to Help Manage Your Vertigo? They might work for you.

      Good luck.

  62. Colette Bapst

    Jec et all
    You are soooo right! Noone understands the horror of vertigo unless they have had it – that included doctors. I have been sleeping on my left side since February, sometimes with the light on – that helps. I never lay flat on my back and try not to lay on my right ear. Dentist and the gynecologist visits are a problem! Fortunately both are very understanding. My worse thing is anticipating that another attack can occur at any time. Will I ever be able to turn over in my sleep?

  63. Darren

    Hi. I just wanted to say, that I read your article and how accurate I found the events of it to be. Last year when I was 23 I had my first vertigo attack, I woke up in the morning for no real reason and I found I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow, I struggled and pulled it up, next minute the world was spinning, and I felt sick. I vomited and then the dizziness stopped and I fell back to sleep. That first attack made me feel uneasy, I shrugged it off thinking it must have been a bug and went to work like normal. About a week later I was working on the bar and the dizziness came back over me, I had to go lie down upstairs in the office, my manager was worried so she called the paramedics, the ambulance came and took me away to the hospital, the hospital left me sitting up in a chair for 3 hours (my attack lasted about 4) until a doctor came and examined me. He said my inner ear was enflamed and it looked like labrynthitis. I was given prochloroperazine, to take 3 times a day. They helped and I started to feel much better. I finished my dose and got back on with my life. About a month later, I was waking through the street when without any warning, the vertigo came back on. I didn’t know what to do, so I panicked and climbed on to the nearest bus, I sat down on the bus, terrified that I was gong to pass out or vomit. My head was spinning, vision was blurred, somehow I made it back, I got back into my house, grabbed the bin and vomited into it. I felt exhausted, the dizziness was still there so I laid my head down on the pillow and fell asleep. When I woke up I felt better again. The next day, I went to see my doctor, he checked my ear but there was no inflamation anymore, I could still hear the tinnitusjust in my right ear and my hearing was reduced so I was referred to an ENT. About 2 weeks went by I had some minor episodes, they lasted about one hour each time, a combination of lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches and nausea. I got on with my life… One afternoon at work, again with no warning, I had another attack, my head became heavy and I had to go sit in the office, my head was spinning, I felt like I was drunk, my head was lolling from side to side, my anxiety levels had started ramping up because of all this, I felt stressed, I felt angry, why is this happening to me? My manager could see I was in distress so she called the paramedics again and the ambulance came. I have to stop my story for one moment here and just comment on how disgusted we were at the paramedics attitude when they came. They looked at me, told me that although this was unpleasant what I was feeling it wasn’t really an emergency, and I shouldn’t really be going to the hospital. I pleaded with them, and they sighed and both picked me up and took me down the stairs, as i was going down I vomited all over myself and down the stairs, they carried on walking me out to the ambulance. In the ambulance you could tell that they weren’t happy, they took my details down and then sat in the front, ignoring me as they drove to their destination, I felt so uncomfortable and I almost felt like a burden to them. I had to ask then for a sick bag, I don’t know maybe they wanted gone for their tea…The only good thing from this was that they took me to Charing cross instead of the hospital I’d been to the first time, and the treatment was much better, they propped me up in a bed, they did ear tests, they did blood tests, they injected prochloroperazine into my leg to stop the vomiting and ease me. I was in there for about 5 hours, again the episode lasted around 4 hours. They also referred me to an ent and it was a much more friendly, relaxing experience. I was given some more prochloperazine and I was sent on my way. A months passed and I’d finally received an ent appointment at Charing cross. I went there and they checked me over. They did some hearing tests and found that I might right ears hearing was reduced, but found no damage to the drum and no infection. The lady I spoke to said that I needed to have an mri brain scan as she couldn’t find the problem and needed to check if I had a brain tumour…..I nearly fell to bits when I heard them two words, brain…tumour.. A month passed and I received my appointment for the scan, I’d barely slept, I was stressed, restless, anxious. I’d terrified myself with thoughts that the reason I was having these problems was because I had a tumour….long story short, it wasn’t a tumour, my ent specialist didn’t know what it was, she said she would refer me to a balance therapist, and that it could be an echo of the original attacks and I should stop taking the prochloroperazine and I should be better. The medication was the only thing keeping me stable, six months is gone through this he’ll, I was confused, I was angry, I was upset, I was upset at myself for worrying myself with thoughts of tumours and upset at the nhs for not being able to fix the problem, I wanted this to end. I tried to go off the medication but I found that when I did the attacks would start again. I decided to look at other options, so I went to a Chinese doctor, and had 13 weeks of treatment and herbs. The herbs tasted horrible, but the treatment started to work, I came off the prochloroperazine completely and started to live a normal life again, I drank herbs everyday and went for an hour session of accupuncture and accupressure every week. For me it really helped, and after the 13 weeks I only had a tiny bit of tinnitus in my ear. No more vertigo. Only now after 8 months am I having some problems again as I’ve picked up another ear infection (it looks like I’m going to be prone to them) I’ve been put back on prochloroperazine but it’s just a small dose, I’ve only had one slightly severe attack in which I vomited, and the dizzy episodes last about 1 hour to 2 hours. It’s a work in progress but we’ll see how I am. Hopefully it’s just a blip and I won’t have to go through the same stress as last year.

    1. johanna Post author

      Darren, I’m so sorry for your troubles, and especially the insensitivity of the paramedics. I’m surprised your doc just gave you something to treat nausea and not something to treat vertigo. Maybe I don’t understand the meds well enough.

      The standard of care in the US is to always do an MRI. That’s because they want to know if there is a reason for the vertigo. They almost never find anything. Did they check for labyrnthitis?

      It’s good that the Chinese doctor approach worked. Good for you. I say, whatever works. That’s what you should do :-)

  64. Stacy

    Hi I am so sorry I am a new mommy an going through the same thing;( I hate this for me started with a cold after my c section then that was it the hole room was spinning non stop day an night I could feel it in my breathe even in bed;( for 4 months every ER no answer I got worse an worse now all day every day I sway as if I am on a boat;( it’s like I got an infection that attacked my nervous system;( if anyone can help please I am open to any responses ;(

    1. johanna Post author

      Stacy, did they give you an antibiotic when they gave you a c-section? If so, was it gentacmicin? If so, gentamicin, has caused your problems. See Gentamicin destroys the hair cells in your inner ear. Have you seen an ENT? An ER doc cannot answer you. ER docs are nice people, but they don’t know about vertigo.

      If an ENT can’t help, you need a neurologist. Maybe an otoneurologist, but a neurologist. You need someone who understands what the proper checklist is for saying, “Yup, this. Nope, not that. What does your primary care physician say? Have you looked on

  65. Stacy

    Hi Joanna I will have to look back an see what they gave me during the c section ;( I have been to every ENT Nuero the keep blowing me off telling me it’s anxiety my Phycatrist said this is not anxiety there is clearly something wrong ;( I need help so bad I can’t handle it anymore especially with a baby. Do you live in Orange County?

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Stacy, I am on the east coast, in Boston. You need to get your docs to separate everything. I keep a log of what I eat, sleep, and drink. That might help for you. With a baby, everything is more difficult. You might be anxious, but that’s not a cause. That’s an effect. (I’m trying to write a blog post about that, but I don’t know if I can clarify that enough to post it this week.)

      I have a spreadsheet of my vertigo attacks: the day they occurred, how many days since the previous occurrence, and what the precipitating cause might be. I have a list of all my falls, where I was, and whether I had a concussion as a result. This is data. Your docs need data. You need data.

      You have a right to be upset. You have a right to be concerned. You have earned it. Now, understand your data. Your docs do not understand anything except data. They will treat you like “a mom with baby brain” until you bring them data. I am serious.

      Write down everything you take for medication, including vitamins. Write down everything you eat and drink. Write down your weight. Do this for weeks. Pain in the tush, I know. Do it.
      Write down your sleep, your exercise. Pain in the tush. Do it.

      Get help for managing the baby. Can you lean over to pick up the baby? No? Get someone else to.

      When you see a neuro again, bring your husband, your parent, or someone else who will advocate for you. One of my neuros actually asked me, “Do you like being dizzy?” Because my brain had not yet adapted, he though I was faking. Idiot. (Him, not me.) He had the bedside manner of a flea.

      Yes, you have crap going on. You need to help your docs solve this problem. You have the data, in there somewhere. The problem is, we don’t know where. Start with stuff you can see.

      Maybe go to different docs. An academic neuro might be able to help. I had to go to Mass Eye & Ear, although that is the guy with no bedside manner :-)

      Your job is to collect data. When I walked in with my spreadsheet, I surprised my docs. They had no idea I had data. But it made getting a history much easier. Everything I have is well-written, with grammar-check turned on. With data. Data is key.

  66. Carlos

    hey, i’m 18 years old and last week i was in gym doing excerise got dizzy i thought its normal will go soon but it doesn’t so i went to the hospital they said your blood pressure is low thats why you got dizzy and its normal drink lot of water, i did what they said but next day i woke up dizziness doesn’t went it was worse i was scared it never happend to me before i was very scared so i went again hospital i explained them clearly what i’m facing they see my ears and my eyes so they said its vertigo so they gave me some medicine but it didn’t work and next day it became worse and worse i also thought maybe its my last day i went to emergency they did my head x ray and results was normal so again they gave me some new medicines, medicines doesn’t work for this (what i feel) but now i’m 70% better without eating any medicines i’m doing exercises to get my inner ear normal sometimes it get very dizzy but i’m not afraid now, i go out too much brightness also effect me but i’m trying to be normal its my second week and i feel soon i will get recovered let me know what you think about this :)

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Carlos, I have no idea. If you are doing the Epley maneuver and it’s getting worse, maybe it’s your inner ear, but the crystals are not lining up?

      Have you seen an ENT, an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor? If brightness does affect you, it does sound like some form of vertigo.

      There are several medications they can give you for the nausea and/or the dizziness. If you still have your hearing, that’s a very good sign.

      If your vertigo persists, make sure you go to the biggest hospital in your area. See an ENT, or a neurologist. Maybe get an MRI. If you are not vomiting, that’s also a good sign. Vertigo as a symptom is not something the docs can easily diagnose. You have to help them. Good luck.

      1. Carlos

        hey, i went to the biggest hospital in my city they checked me all what they found is vertigo and now my dizziness its not before its getting better if i’m not moving too much and i’m at home but if i go outside hangout with some friends my vision blurs and dizziness get worse, is that normal? and yes i have still hearing and i’m not vomiting but i’m still dizzy not too much i can see, understand, walk alone doesn’t need help for walk, i’m getting appointment with ENT doctor lets see.

  67. Rachel

    Time seems to be standing still since I woke up around 5am almost 4 weeks ago with the room spinning at a very fast speed. Two and a half hours later we headed to the ER, after pooping everything that ever entered my system and wanting so much to vomit but nothing came out. Was given an IV, anti vert and prescriptions for mecluzine and a nausea pill. Two days later, after a night spent sitting up biting my nails and focusing on one spot, went for wcupuncture, given herbs also. I felt normal after the acupuncture, vertigo on the winding car ride home, but the herbs started to work by the next day.
    Finally able to see ENT 5 days ago. Dr diagnosed BPPV. Did Epley maneuver,, trying to keeo head erect and sleeping with head elevated on several pillows. Also went to chiropractor who has known me for years, but see infrequently because we are not always here. Chiro said that C1 was completely twisted, that blocks communicwtion between brain and rest of body. We moved at the end of July, big big stress and I did all of the pqcking. Even ENT thought that may have caused this.
    I have begun to feel normal again. There is great fear that this will start again. Wondering if I will be able to drive. I am wriiting all of this to review the alternative modalities that may help someone reading this blog.
    Also to express my infinite appreciation to Johanna and everyone else who has contributed and shared their story. Thank you.
    Oh, will you clarify: Can dehydration cause vertigo?

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Rachel, it is quite frustrating to wake up and be in the middle of a vertigo attack. Especially if you have to poop, and then feel as if you want to heave. I know that feeling. Argh. I’m glad you found relief with the meclizine, the other meds, the gaze-fixing, the head-lifting, and herbs, and the chiropractor. It can often take a village.

      Until you know what caused your original vertigo attack, you don’t know if you will get another. That is the big mystery of vertigo. I keep a spreadsheet of my attacks with my probably causes of them. I have found no common cause.

      I do find that dehydration, too much salt and especially MSG can make me susceptible to saccades, which for me, are often predecessors to vertigo attacks. As with everyone, your mileage will vary. I drink a ton of water every day.

  68. April

    Thank you Johanna and to everyone else who has shared their story and advice. Vertigo attacks are very scary and I hope to never experience them, but my 57-year-old mother suffers from them.

    My mother has always had issues with dizziness. She gets dizzy very easily. Certain things can trigger a dizzy spell, like tilting her head back at the hair salon to wash her hair or looking up for too long. She has to sleep with a couple pillows to elevate her head. When she gets dizzy, she vomits multiple times and says the room is spinning around her. Nothing can help her when she’s dizzy, she just has to wait for it to pass but it doesn’t last seconds or minutes, it takes hours.

    Yesterday night, around 9 p.m., my mom suffered from another dizzy attack. This one was not triggered by anything. She was experiencing the usual symptoms, but this time it was serious. After she vomited for the sixth time, we took her to the emergency room. She vomited in the car and in the waiting room. She said everything was just spinning around her. While waiting to be seen by the doctor, a blood sample was taken and after vomiting again, she was given medication through IV to help with the extreme nausea. I believe the medication was called Zofran. She was also given fluids and potassium because she lost a lot when she was throwing up. When the doctor eventually saw her, he asked her to move her feet, squeeze his hand with her hands, and walk a few steps. Walking was very difficult for my mother to do because even after several hours, her dizziness had not yet subsided. I believe the doctor was checking for symptoms of a stroke. Thankfully, he ruled that out. He then ordered a CT scan. The scan came back normal. He said that what my mother suffered from was benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. He prescribed a medication called Serc to help with the side effects when she has another attack. We were discharged from the hospital around 10 a.m., and while my mother was considerably better, she was not 100 per cent. She felt weak from all the vomiting and she could’t lift her head to a neutral position because it made her more dizzy, but she wasn’t vomiting and her dizziness was mild enough that she could get some much needed rest.

    This morning, she woke up feeling like a 6/10, but after she ate breakfast, she had another attack. She felt the same symptoms as last night. She did not throw up though and she is currently resting in her bed.

    Seeing my mother like this is very scary, but I’m happy I found this thread because what I’m reading is what I’m seeing in my mother. Is seeing an ENT worth it at this point? What new information can they give us? And what procedures do they do? I don’t want them doing anything that will trigger another attack. If anything, I would see an ENT because I’m curious to know more about the Epply manoeuvre.

    I’m desperate for answers like I know many of you are in this thread. I’m worried about my mother and I’m hoping that I can find out more information that will lessen the effects of a vertigo attack or find out what exactly triggers it.

    Thanks for hearing me out.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi April, if I was your mother, I would want to see an ENT, and pronto. Maybe some kind of a neurologist, also. Something is going on in your mom’s inner ear. An ER doc does not focus on the inner ear. An ENT and an otoneurologist does focus on the inner ear. One focuses from the ear perspective (the ENT). One focuses from the brain perspective (the oto-neurologist). Either can prescribe vestibular therapy. Either can help you find a place, such as Mass Eye and Ear, where I went for my vestibular testing, if it comes to that.

      Maybe your mom is going through something acute, and she needs to take something like Mucinex to dry everything up. Don’t laugh too much, it works for me when I’m having bad times in the spring and fall. It’s allergy season in Boston, and I’m on Claritin and Mucinex for now. I don’t feel as if I have post-nasal drip, but I must because I’m dizzier. But, that’s me. I’m not your mom.

      If she was fragile enough that food triggered another attack, it’s time to keep a food diary. Did she have caffeine? That’s a trigger. I would make an appt with an ENT and see what’s going on. ENTs specialize in inner ears. It sounds like you had a great ER experience, but that’s no substitute for a specialist.

      My $.02. Maybe someone else has another opinion.

  69. della pacheco

    I been having vertigo for a year …i have them for days ,hours at a time . Tuesday was the worst of them all ,12hours of non stop spinning and vomiting. Its useless to go to the ER they can’t help me not even my ENT sad to say . I feel my life is coming to an end with this disease.

    1. johanna Post author

      Della, I have recently been diagnosed with a motor neuron disease. One of my problems, I think, is clonus (involuntary muscle spasms) in my middle ear, which sets up vibrations in my inner ear. That is why my vertigo is unresponsive to “traditional” treatments and why I am a medical mystery. I started taking baclofen, a muscle relaxant, which stops the spasms.

      I have no idea if this is your problem. However, if you have a good ENT, and you have been to a neurologist (which you should do), and you have tried meclizine, and all the other possible meds that the kind people here have suggested, you should talk to your neuro and your ENT about the possibilities of clonus in your middle ear. It’s a long shot.

      You don’t say how old you are. Different motor neuron diseases strike people at different times in their lives. I don’t have ALS, so I have a normal life expectancy, assuming I don’t fall over and crack my head open. (That was black humor. In case you couldn’t tell.)

      It took me 2 years and 4 neuros to get to this diagnosis. I’m not quite ready to share the details yet. But I’ve been on baclofen since April, and my dizziness is more managed than it has been since my hemorrhage. I can nod my head without becoming dizzy. I can turn my head without too much trouble. I no longer get dizzy driving. But this is me, and not you.

      You have a problem in your brain (and it’s not your psyche). If you had a problem in your leg, you would see an orthopedist, or a trauma guy. They would do the tests and go from there. If an ENT isn’t adequate, you need a neurologist. Your inner ear is deep in your brain. They are intimately connected.

      If you live near a big city, get a referral to an academic practice, either an oto-neurologist, or a neurologist who specializes in dizziness. You do not have to live this way. You don’t.

      Good luck.

  70. Ed

    My experience:

    One minute I’m fine, 15 seconds later the room is spinning so fast that I lay down on the floor. It was like a super fast typewriter carriage going back and forth sooo faaast. I have never felt this before. This was 6 weeks ago on August 10th, 2014 at 6:30pm boom. Another 30 seconds later, I crawled back to the table where I was sitting, could barely grab my cell phone from the table, crawled into the bathroom and vomited till I had nothing left. Very scarey, almost called 911, but didn’t want to move. I looked up on the net on my phone, it was hard because I could barely read the print, and it said I wasn’t dying, I was having vertigo and my inner ear was the culprit. I slept on the bathroom floor for an hour before crawling to bed. I had acute spinning vertigo for 2 days and could barely walk, I read that it should last a week at the most, but after a week I was still dizzy and it felt like my eyes were moving (nystagmus), so went to M.D. he didn’t like that I had persistent nystagmus and had me get an MRI. The MRI showed a normal brain, no tumor. All my bloodwork came back normal too. He said it would last up to 4 weeks, but I’m in my 6th week now, at that time he diagnosed BPPV and sent me to P.T., which I went 3 times. They did the Eppley on me twice and gave me some balance exercises to try at home the 3rd time. The Eppley seemed to help at first but within a few hours it was back to the same. I did my own Eppley’s at home usually 2 times a day, but they are not helping much, it helps for an hour or 30 min, then it always goes back to unbalanced.

    Current symptoms after 6 weeks: Spinning is gone, nystagmus is mostly gone, mainly dizzy or unbalanced. Seems better some days, then followed by a relapse day. I also have a slight sensation of a slight pressure in my head, maybe in my sinuses, above or near my eyes and the bridge of my nose and above my ears, but it is really low level feeling. Another symptom, when I move my head back and forth rapidly I feel dizzy and unbalanced, or when walking and look either left, right, or up I will weave when I walk. I am able to go on walks again (couldn’t for a couple weeks) but I walk into the people I walk with and walk off the sidewalk, although that has gotten better and I’m walking a little straighter now.

    My other complication is that I have always had Strabismus, or cross-eyes, but my brain figured out how to only look thru one eye, so I have a dominant eye. I was so good at this that I didn’t realize I was cross-eyed till an eye doc pointed it out about 8 years ago. The only time I usually notice it is when I’m tired at night then I have to close one eye or I see double. But since the vertigo attack I am seeing double all the time and have to wear my prism glasses, which I never have worn prisms until now. I think my brain might be figuring it out again, and I am able to wear my regular glasses some of the time now but still definitely see double. The Strabismus is hereditary, all my siblings have it, my mom, 1st cousins on my Mom’s side, and my granddaughter too. My brother and Granddaughter have had the surgery to correct it. I never got the surgery but am thinking about it now if this doesn’t correct soon.

    One other consideration, 5 days before the vertigo started, I had a bad but quick case of the stomach flu, I was in bed for 30 hours, didn’t drink or eat hardly anything at all for those 30 hours, then for 2 days I was fine, then got gastroenteritis for 3 weeks. My current theory is the combination dehydrated me and caused this vertigo, so I have been drinking 100 ounces of water a day for the last 3 days. Too soon to tell if that is helping, but I beleive that my balance is better since 3 days ago.

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Ed. Welcome to our little club.

      Glad to hear you have a normal brain! (When I get an MRI, I always ask the techs monitoring the scans. They always say, “You have big brains.” Big grin. You would think I would know by now not to ask.)

      If you have a little sinus pressure, you might be having allergies. Just a thought. In that case, over-the-counter sinus meds might help drain your sinuses and relieve pressure on your Eustachian tubes. Everything is connected there. If you are not seeing an ENT, your regular doc might not consider this. Just a thought.

      When you move your head back and forth rapidly, you trigger your vestibular ocular reflex. I know this, because I am missing mine on my right side. That’s why I have nystagmus.

      If the Epley worked once and then not again, your crystals keep falling out of your ear. Maybe it’s time to sleep? That’s what happens to me. I don’t know about anyone else. It’s a pain-in-the-tush when this happens in the middle of the day. But if I take a nap, even a 30-minute nap, I’m much better.

      I’m with you on the hydration. When I hydrate, my vertigo is much better, too. I had a vertigo attack 8 days ago, 9/13/14. It was a Saturday night and we were at a party. I was queasy, and not hungry. That was the first clue :-) I drank club soda as if I was in the desert. I had the saccades, but the water calmed them down. I only postponed the attack. We left the party at 9, and I really thought I was okay. I started to vomit at 10. But because I hadn’t eaten much, I was done by 11 and went to sleep.

      When I woke up on Sunday, my balance was much better. It’s as if a fog had cleared. Before the attack, I’d taken naps two days before, and had been out of sorts. After the attack, I was back to my normal self. Balance under control and stronger.

      Good luck to you. Making all these decisions (strabismus) is never easy. The docs want to take you as individual pieces. But, you are an entire person. You must be comfortable.

    2. Don

      Hi Ed,

      My sympathies to you … and I wish you the best.

      I read your note to my wife. She accused me of writing it because she has heard me tell her the exact same symptoms. I’ve been dealing with vertigo for over two years. My ENT diagnosed it as vestibular neuritis caused by a virus which had destroyed part of my inner ear. He gave me a prescription for Acyclovir (an antiviral) which I still take. After all the other tests and exams I went through, I had the feeling that if nothing else can be tested and nothing else can be imagined as a cause, vestibular neuritis was the default “explanation.” And maybe it is. Who knows for sure?

      Early this summer, my symptoms nearly disappeared. It happened over a period of two or three days. I felt like I had been given a new life. Last week, the symptoms returned in full fury. I have no idea what brought them back. My “new life” was mighty short-lived but I am grateful for those few weeks. I’m looking forward to another relapse into reduced symptoms.

      I will be interested to hear if Johanna’s suggestions of lots of water and naps also work for you. I’ve always been camel-like with my water intake, and I rarely take naps. I could become a quick slosher/napper if it works for you.

      I did find your suggestion of an eye/vertigo connection of interest. Fifteen years ago I had a botched detached retina procedure that ended with distorted vision in one eye. For several months after my first vertigo episode, my vision in that eye changed dramatically until if finally settled down. I mentioned that to my ophthalmologist, who chuckled and said there was no connection. I’m not so sure of that.

      I wish you a speedy end to your symptoms. And please let us know if you find something that helps.



  71. Amanda

    I have had vertigo off and on for the past 5 years. I took this test to tell if it’s my ears of my head…and it was my head. My neurologist prescribed Gabapentin and it seems to help, unless the dose has to be increased due to head pressure then I get vertigo more for a while. I’ve never really got a definite diagnosis. I was just diagnosed with Hepatitis C and I could of have this for 10 years. I wonder if the vertigo is a symptom of chronic Hep C. I plan to ask my neuro and my liver specialist.
    Anyways, I am now living alone and it’s a bit terrifying to have vertigo without someone there. I keep having to tell myself that it will pass but sometimes I don’t believe it.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Amanda, I’m so sorry you are a medical mystery. I’ve had most of my vertigo attacks when I’ve been alone. But, I always knew that someone would be home at some point. That’s a big difference.

      I now live on a single-level house, and that makes things much easier. When I wrote this page originally, I did not. For my most recent vertigo attack, it was quite easy to get to the toilet to take care of things.

      Maybe with the Gabapentin, your symptoms will ease? Maybe it’s too soon to tell. I know that when I start new meds, it takes a couple of months to see what is really going on. I wish you the best.

      1. Ed

        Hello again,

        I posted originally on Sep 21, 2014. I thought I would give a little update, might help some other people in the same dizzy boat.

        I’m now in my 10th week of vertigo / dizziness and still have symptoms which is disappointing, but my symptoms are better than four weeks ago. I was getting slightly better about one-half percent a day, and at that rate it would take 200 days to get all the way better. So I mentally prepared for a long recovery, then 1 week ago I had a noticeable improvement of maybe 5% in one day which was very encouraging. Two mornings, woke up and I thought I didn’t have any symptoms, but then when I got up and started walking I realized I still had them. Two steps forward and one step back and sometimes two steps forward and two steps back, and less frequently one step forward and two steps back, most days there is a very gradual, very slight improvement or stays the same.

        Not sure what is helping, because when you have vertigo / dizziness, it is with you all the time, so you will do anything, and try almost anything that anybody suggests, and I have tried a combination of things, I’ve been drinking more water, if I’m tired I take naps, I started taking Loratadine (generic version of Claritin) for allergies because I got an allergy flare up a couple of weeks ago which turned into a head cold for 2 weeks (getting over that now). Loratadine can make you tired so I’ve been taking naps about every other day. I have a friend totally into vitamins and she is pushing me in that direction, so I started taking B6 B12 C and magnesium plus a multi-vitamin twice a day. 3 days after I started taking the B6 is when I had the 5% improvement, so maybe that is helping me but 3 days seemed pretty soon for an improvement. I think that was just a coincidence, but I haven’t stopped taking them. I also was taking Meclizine during the day. I don’t know if that helps only with nausea or dizziness too? I don’t have any nausea at all, so I’m lucky in that department, just the dizziness.

        Current symptoms are: if I sit perfectly still I don’t notice anything except for a very slight pressure in my sinuses area above my eyes. Then, if I tip my had one way or the other, even slowly tipping, there is a sloshy feeling and my eyes don’t feel like they are tracking right, like they are slightly behind and the pressure in my head becomes tingly and more dizzy. You know the feeling, like the tingle you get when you are in a car going fast over a hill, or in a roller coaster ride, except that I get this in my head. The pressure is very slight above my eyes and near the top of my head and feels like it moves around when I move my head.

        My next step will be to go to an ENT, but I don’t think they will give me much more information than what the other doctors have told me which is pretty much that I am healthy and they don’t know what causes it. This has already cost about $3500 in medical, and my deductible is $1600 + 20% after that, so cost me about $2000 out of pocket so far.

        I also am going to have the surgery done to correct my Strabismus. The Strabismus is hereditary and not caused by the vertigo, but the vertigo has changed something enough which has caused me to not be able to see mono-vision anymore, I see thru both eyes, so i see double. I am off 16 diopters (about 8 degrees) left to right and 4 up and down (about 2 degrees), I will have the surgery on Dec 4th. I have been thinking about doing this for a couple years, but I decided I do want to get it done now. Hopefully most of my dizziness symptoms will be gone by that Dec 4th.

        My only other observation is about half the people I tell, give lots of advice, or tell me I should not be doing something, but I am not going to let this change my life, so I am doing everything i did before (except I haven’t climbed on a roof yet, but I have climbed up a ladder very slowly and held on pretty good). A lot of people think vertigo is the fear of heights because of that unfortunately named Hitchcock movie. I patiently explain that it is not the fear of heights and tell them my symptoms if they care to hear them. I know they care and that is why they give the advice, but it is almost comical that I get similar reactions for everyone, except for the people who have had it or know someone close that has had it and those people just tell me it is bad while it lasts, and most of them got over it. So that makes me hopeful.

        1. Don

          Hi Ed,
          Thanks for letting us know what is going on with your vertigo. It’s always encouraging to hear that someone is getting better. Here’s hoping you eventually get over the symptoms entirely.

          1. johanna Post author

            Hi Ed,
            I echo Don. Thanks for letting us know what’s going on with you. I hope you find more relief. Keep that experimentation going. It’s that feedback to yourself that’s helping.

  72. Jennifer

    I am 66 years old. I had the first vertigo episode in 2002. Since then, I have had severe episodes every 2 or 3 years, with milder episodes in between. When I have the severe episodes, the body appears to signal the bowels to empty, with vomiting and purging at the same time. As described by you, it is difficult to maintain balance, because empty bowels cause more dizziness.

    The following antihistamines help –
    Dimenhydrinate (generic name) Gravol (trade/brand name)
    Diphenhydramine (generic name) Benadryl (trade/brand name)

    Chewing a small piece of FRESH GINGER helps diminish the severity of the nausea and vomiting.

    You might find the following websites of husband and wife, David and Karen Henderson, quite helpful. David had very severe Menieres episodes (the symptoms are similar to BPPV), so Karen did a lot of research on her own to help her husband’s condition. After several years of searching for answers, they finally found a set of nutritional supplements that have kept David attack-free.

    Karen is a retired nurse. They reside in British Columbia, Canada. They can be contacted through the websites. They will provide information (to anyone who requests it), about the supplements David is taking.

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Jennifer,

      Thank you for explaining your experiences and sharing the links to the Henderson’s web site. I don’t have Meniere’s Disease, so I have no idea if their info is any good.

      I am a little surprised when you say that you can chew a piece of fresh ginger when you have a vertigo attack. I can’t chew anything. But, that’s me. One thing I have learned is that everyone is different.

  73. Anita

    Hi, my sympathies with your condition. I’ve had a virus damaging my inner ear. I went to a normal GP and was twice misdiagnosed (nobody mentioned going to a ENT). It was only about a month later (when we got back from holiday) that someone said I should go to a ENT. By then, it was apparently too late to really do anything about it – the damage was done. I have lost half of my hearing in left ear, got stuck with tinnitus and horrible balance problems. When I first got ill, I had those vertigo attacks. Trust me, I know how you feel!
    I will never forget – we were on holiday (got sick a week before leaving) and visiting curio stores with lots of little things on shelves. And I just looked into this one shop – staring at those overfull shelves, and the narrow isles between them. And decided that I won’t enter – because I couldn’t walk straight (even if I tried!)
    Yes, salt and sugar aggravate the condition. And … water is your friend! :-)
    The ENT gave me Serc24. it worked wonders!
    It’s been about 5-6 years since it happened to me. My balance problems sorted itself out (more or less), but sometimes comes back (especially if I work in the garden whilst standing – bending over at the waist, or washing my hair in the bathroom sink). There is some things that I still struggle to overcome – somehow can’t seem to ride on my bicycle anymore and I have a terrible fear of going down escalators (up is mostly fine)!
    I am still stuck with the tinnitus and the semi-deafness in the one ear. I learned to cope with it. What else can one do?
    And I wonder how totally deaf people cope in the world. Going to the bank, post office or any place where people are sitting behind glass proves very difficult (to hear). I’ve caught myself that I am looking at the person that is speaking, lips to catch any words. I just love subtitles on DVDs – why can’t they have them on in the movies, also?
    Sorry this is so long – it is nice to talk to someone that actually knows what I am talking about!
    I hope that you get some relief from your vertigo. All the best.

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Anita, you have my empathy, too!

      I have never heard of Serc24. Here is the wikipedia page for those of us who may be interested:

      I know what you mean about the going down part. I can go up all day. (Well, not all day, but you understand.) I think down is difficult because of our lack of proprioception. Because we have broken inner ears, we don’t really know where we are in space. Placing that foot on the down escalator–oh boy. What a challenge. I also have weak ankles/drop foot, so I take elevators. I don’t do escalators at all anymore. Just don’t.

      I think of my tinnitus as a pain in the tush :-) Loud places increase the tinnitus. I bet that happens to you, too.

      I have no idea how totally deaf people live in a hearing world. I think if they learn to lip read, it’s better. I look at people’s lips, but it’s amazing how often people hide their lips behind their hands. Irritating.

      Glad you have found us, sorry you need to be here.

  74. Anita

    “…but it’s amazing how often people hide their lips behind their hands.” Haha! So true!
    Or, they speak to you with their heads turned away. It is just about impossible to understand what they are saying.
    I once went to renew my driving licence and just couldn’t understand the person behind the glass – I mean, how many times can you say: “sorry, can you please repeat that?” At long last she realized that I had a problem and shown me some writing! :-)
    The only negative I had with that Serc24 was that I got a rather dry mouth. Had to drink lots more water!

  75. L. Bitton

    i had my first vertigo attack Sunday at 5:30pm, September 19th, 2014. It is the scariest ever and most uncomfortable feeling. It started when I got up too quickly from the couch. After that I had the urge to go to the bathroom with no dizzy feeling yet. All of a sudden I felt lightheaded so I laid down again, when I tried to move my head, the spinning started. it was so bad that I vomited and peed on myself. I called my insurance advice nurse 3 times that night and they told me to relax and take it easy until I can get hold of my primary care doctor. My third call to the advice nurse, she told me to call my primary care doctor. The advice nurse at my primary care told me to go to ER as she cannot tell me over the phone what is causing the dizziness (I did not go as I cannot move without throwing up and messing myself so I waited the next day). The next day, i called my doctor, the nurse was able to get me an afternoon appointment. I told the nurse i cannot lift my head without getting sick so I begged her to tell me what I can take to relieve the dizziness, nausea and vomiting. She told me to take otc meclizine. Luckily I have some on hand so I took a couple. It did help relieve the nausea but not the dizziness. When I got to the doctor’s office, she asked me a lot of questions such as if I have numbness, tingling and etc. She checked my BP too and it was high. I asked what it was and she told me vertigo. She also performed epley maneuver. she prescribed 50mgs of meclizine 3x a day and doubled my BP med.

    I am on day 3 of being off work, how do I know when it is safe to return to work? I am still feeling mild dizziness, heavy headed and off balance but nausea and vomiting is gone. I can also walk slowly now, and and cautiously to make sure I do not fall. Do I wait until all the symptoms are gone? I asked my doctor, she said symptoms may lasts for weeks but i may return to work when I am feeling better. This virtigo threw off my judgement too seems like, what does feeling better means? is the heavy headed and off balance caused by meclizine? I would greatly appreciate if you can let me know what I should do. Thank you so much!

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi L. I cannot tell you when it is safe for you to return to work. I can tell you that when I had my first vertigo attack, I worked from home. I was able to work a little starting about on day 3 or day 4. I was too tired to work much before then. I no longer remember how much meclizine I was on.

      Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
      1. How will you get to work? Do you need to drive? If so, are you safe to drive? I did not drive for several weeks, because I could not turn my head. I had an inner ear hemorrhage, which I suspect you do not have.
      2. Are you able to eat and drink regularly? You need to be able to maintain your strength and get through the day when you are not at home.
      3. Have you seen an ENT or do you have an appt to determine the cause of your vertigo attack? We have attacks. We need to learn why, if at all possible.
      4. Are there other questions you need to ask yourself, that I do not know, because I am not a doctor?? I am not qualified to provide medical advice. I can only tell you my thought processes when I decided to go back to the gym, the grocery store, out for lunch, i.e. leave the house.

      For me, feeling better means that my dizziness is gone, at least temporarily. When I was on the meclizine, I felt much less dizziness. Maybe someone else can chime in.

  76. Ed

    L. Very sorry you are going thru this. I had the same experience my first few days, I wouldn’t go to my doctor because I was sure I would vomit in the waiting room, so I didn’t go for awhile. OTC Meclizine helped me immensely with my nausea but not at all with my dizziness or spinning.

    What I do when I have something like this, is I immerse myself and read a lot about it. One thing that stuck in my head was somebody said they were not going to let their vertigo/dizziness control their lives so they decided to not postpone anything. I took that to heart , I decided to go back to doing almost everything that I used to do, I didn’t cancel any plans, although I was very cautious and slower. I didn’t drive for 2 weeks, I had to beg rides from other people. I knew when I was safe to drive again and then waited a couple more days just to be sure, and even then I was super cautious. Another thing I did before the vertigo was walk a lot, so I called my walking partners and started walking again, I picked walks with wide level paved paths because I was weaving so much. There are obvious things I won’t do yet, I won’t get on a roof, and I haven’t ridden a bike. I’m not sure if I can ride a bike or not, but I don’t want to find out the hard way if I can’t. I’ll wait awhile for that.

    Some things that have been helping me are: getting plenty of sleep, keeping hydrated, having a positive attitude (the vertigo does get me down, so I had to work at this one), and getting out of the house and socializing with friends takes my mind off the issue. Also, I have an ENT appointment for next week, they are busy, I called last week and the 1st available appointment was almost 2 weeks. I want to find out what is causing this so I can beat it.

    1. L. Bitton

      I just realized i’m a month off. I had my first attack this month not september.
      I get to work by driving to park and ride then taking a shuttle bus to work. The bus ride is between 1-2 hours or longer each way. I am not sure if i can drive yet as moving my head triggers dizziness. I am also afraid of the jerking motion of the bus more so now. I have another appointment with my internist this monday, i’ll ask gor an ENT referral to know what caused the vertigo and why my balance is still off. Thank you do much for your advice!

    2. johanna Post author

      Ed, I agree. I think of myself as a survivor. That helps.

      I also think of my vertigo as “along for the ride.” I can’t get rid of it, but I refuse to let it take over my life. I am in charge of my life, not it. I refuse to let it dictate to me. I live safely—I’m not stupid. But it’s along for my ride. I’m not along for its ride.

      Good luck with your appt.

  77. L. Bitton

    Thank you so much for your positive attitude of dealing with vertigo. I took your advise to ” think of my vertigo as “along for the ride.” I can’t get rid of it, but I refuse to let it take over my life. I am in charge of my life, not it. I refuse to let it dictate to me. I live safely—I’m not stupid. But it’s along for my ride. I’m not along for its ride”.
    I went back to work yesterday, still off balance and all but i tried to forget it. I am a little slower walking and more careful, but my mind is alert and able to do my work, that’s what matters. I take one day at a time and hope one day I will wake up with all these symptoms gone.
    My GP doesn’t think I need an ENT as I am slowly recovering, not getting worst.
    Thank you again!

    1. johanna Post author

      L., glad to hear you are back at work. If you are getting better, that is great. Glad that the ride metaphor worked for you.

  78. Ed

    I also think that’s excellent advice “the vertigo is along for the ride” and it is not going to be the boss. I will not let it stop me from doing anything I did before.

    Since I have had my dizziness symptoms for 2.5 months, I went to an ENT yesterday, it took about two weeks to get an appointment. I’m glad I went, first they did a complex hearing test, more involved than any hearing test I’ve had before. Took blood pressure both sitting down, then waited a bit, then took blood pressure standing up, also checked the pressure in my ears with some some neat device, also a special hearing test where the sound went through the bone in my either my head or my neck so it would go to both ears at the same time except thru the bone not thru the ear. Were very thorough and asked a lot of questions, and all this was before the doctor saw me. The doctor spent 15 min with me, which I think is a lot now-a-days, asking a lot of questions and looked in my ears and looked at my MRI to double check the scans, and he tested my balance. His feeling was that I definitely did have vertigo, but the vertigo was not caused by BPPV, but instead I have a viral labyrinthitis of just the labyrinth of one of my inner ears He also ruled out Minears disease for now, but if I have more vertigo episodes later then maybe that could be the culprit, but he didn’t think so. I told him that I had a stomach flu and gastroenteritis 5 days before my vertigo attack, and he thought that might be related. He said the labyrinth part of the ear is inflamed and will go away, and that my brain needs to adjust with signals from my ear and my eyes, and that will take some time, maybe 4 months, but up to 6 months. He definitely wants to see me again if I have another vertigo attack, otherwise I will go back again in a couple months if it still hasn’t cleared up. There are some steroids that he can use later to help but wanted to wait on that. Very happy I chose this particular ENT, he turned out to be a great caring doctor. I felt like he was on my team, which is what I need right now.

    1. johanna Post author

      Ed, I’m so glad you have viral labyrinthitis. It will get better and you will be able to leave our happy little band :-) I’m delighted you have a diagnosis.

      It sounds as if you have a great ENT. Yay!

      This is why I suggest people go to ENTs. If you don’t know what causes your vertigo, you can’t know why you have it. You don’t know if you will get better, or why. Why take the chance?? But, that’s me.

  79. Ed

    Although I do appreciate your little group very much, I hope I do leave, and never come back :-) I say that in kindness with a smile. This has been the most frustrating illness of my life and I will be so happy, thankful, and appreciative of good health if it ever goes away.

  80. Chris Smith

    Do u know any wAy to not have attack Ive been have the samething youve been talking about since I was about 12 or 13 im now 31 I havnt had a doctor know whats wrong with me Iive had one doctor tell me I had vertigo but insurance wouldnt help paying for anything when it came to vertigo I would love to never have this attacks again. It most likely the worst pain ever I need help

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Chris. I do not know of a way to prevent vertigo attacks, sorry. Did you read Seven Things You Can Do To Help Manage Your Vertigo? Those things have helped me.

      If you have seen an ENT and an otoneurologist, I do not have any better ideas. If you have not seen an ENT, I would start there. If you have not seen a big-city ENT, you might want to consider that, as a second opinion.

      I don’t have pain with my vertigo attacks. Well, aside from stomach-cramping pain. If you have pain, you might have something else going on. Here’s some free advice: Journal/chart your symptoms, food (including beverages), sleep, and workouts for the next several months until your next vertigo attack. With data, you can explain better to your doctors what is happening to you.

      When I bring my spreadsheets to my doctors, they are 1) astonished, and 2) able to diagnose me better. I am also able to diagnose me better. I don’t need much information from them to pinpoint my condition. I am not suggesting you become a hypochondriac. I am suggesting that you learn what sets you off (if possible), so you can prevent it (if possible), and that you become a partner with your doctors.

      This might be the most difficult thing you have ever done. For me, my health and mobility was worth it.

  81. cori in australia

    Hello johanna, I was hoping you or anyone else could offer advice or knowledge from their own experiences, as time with the Dr is very limited and you dont always get a chance to ask everything you would like to. I want to know if it possible for the loose ear crystals that cause vertigo attacks to be dissolved or absorbed by the body, or simply go back to the right position in the ear and stay there. I had my first vertigo attack at the start of 2012 with occassional episodes there after, but I have not had an attack for 7 months now. Could it be possible that my body has adapted or fixed this problem? I hope you are well Johanna and thank you for this site.

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Cori,

      I thought that the crystals went back into place in the inner ear. But I have no idea. Maybe someone else knows for sure?

      Good for you that the vertigo attacks have subsided. I do know that once you have had an attack you are more susceptible. I do not know if you have adapted. If you know why you have vertigo attacks, maybe you know why they have subsided.

      Best wishes to you…

  82. Melissa

    I have had dizziness on an off for 3 years….certain times are worst than others …mine is more floating feeling and can’t lay on certain side sometimes ..I have woke up spinning a few times an I get so upset then take meclizine which helps but makes me feel so bad hours later …swift head movement will cause it and before and during my period its worse..and I’ve noticed if my sinuses are bad it seems to come on me easier …its so dibilitating and makes me plan my life around it …any help or info would be great

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Melissa, you don’t say if you’ve seen an ENT or a neurologist yet. Since you know that a full nose can bring on a vertigo attack, you should see an ENT. Your Eustachian tubes are connected to your ears, which is why when your ears are full or you have a swift (and I bet a specific head movement), you can initiate an attack. Everything is connected, and in your case (and mine), things are kerfluey.

      I’ve never had a floating feeling, so I don’t know what you feel. Maybe if someone else here has had that, they will chime in.

      I wish you luck. — Johanna

  83. Brandy

    PLEASE check out the book, Healing Back Pain by Dr. Sarno. Despite its title, it isn’t only about back pain. It’s about TMS, or Tension Myositis Syndrome. Vertigo and Tinnitus are both common symptoms. I deal with vertigo occasionally myself (about once per year since my first episode in 1992). I’ve had it so bad I could only get to the bathroom by crawling on the floor. Ahhh, good times. Not.

    Anyway, TMS is a very, very real thing. I learned about it 2 years ago when trying to overcome a horrible 7 month long case of sciatica (which I did once I read the book). Not everyone can bring themselves to believe these extreme symptoms can be caused by our brain’s reaction to our stress or tension (for me, the worst trigger emotion is simple annoyance….so it doesn’t have to be anything majorly stressful). But keep an open mind, it might help you a lot in the long run.

    Not every case can be attributed to TMS, but you’ll never know if yours is or not unless you are willing to accept the possibility that it could be. Please, read the book (he has 2 more about TMS as well, but I really found Healing Back Pain to be the most helpful – I have SO many TMS symptoms, and have had several of them all my life and I’ve been able to suffer far, far less from them since learning about TMS). We all accept that we get things like headaches, and muscle tension, and nausea from stress…it’s really not so far-fetched to consider that many other physical symptoms are caused by it, too.

    Best of luck to you!

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Brandy, Thanks for the tip. My vertigo is not caused by TMS. (I added the wikipedia link.) But, maybe other people have that. We have to be our own scientists. Good for you, for learning about this and seeing what your symptoms added up to.

  84. Brandy

    Darn…am always hoping someone’s symptoms can be controlled through TMS techniques. Maybe someone stopping by can be helped by the reference. Thanks for your article! Hope you’re feeling well today. :)

  85. Shawn

    I started getting spells in grade 8, I am now 41, over the years I have taken spells that put me in bed for the day, I luckly do not get the sick feeling , just the spinning or when I try to move my eyes with my head everything is all out of focus and makes me dizzy, I used to be able to hold my head perfectly still and could use me eyes normally but as soon as my head moved it started again. Over the last 5 years I have not really taken any long spells, I just seem to be getting a quick swirl in my head and everything spins and it lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes then goes away, I have been getting these a few times a year until monday, I took one at 5pm, and then another at 11pm and was then fine again until I woke up the next morning and when I tried to look around the room it was like my eyes were not keeping up to my head, I have been like this all day today along with headaches behind my eyes, it is making me upset and nervous as I keep thinking it is not going to stop and I will have it from now on. I was going to attempt to do the excercise for the crystals in the ear canal to see if this can fix it but I am always scared of making it worse. Not sure if this is stil vertigo or I have something else happening, at this moment I am able to walk fine , just getting a funny sensation when looking around the room.

      1. Shawn

        Hi when I initially went to the doctors it was in the 80s then again in the 90s, and they first thought I had meniere’s disease but I had no ringing or noise, then after some tests with water in my ears and a mri they said it was vertigo and gave me meclazine which I only used once in awhile, I really never went back in to get looked at again as the spells have been so far apart that It was something that I have just lived with, but now since this spell I am making an appointment to see my famiy doctor and then go from there, I feel better today thank goodness but I am still a bit off, if I look right to left quickly I get a small yet funny issue with my right eye as if its not focusing fast enough, I also have had a lot of headaches behind my eyes, I am full of a cold right now which may be a contributing factor for some of my issues but I hope it eventually goes away as this is something I would not wish on anyone.

        1. johanna Post author

          Shawn, it sounds a little as if your vestibular ocular reflex is off. That could be a symptom of many different things. You need an ENT or an otoneurologist to tell you why. The otoneurologist has the strange glasses to examine you, to see if you have nystagmus.

          Your brain can adapt. But, you need to know what is going on. There are medications to help, but you need to go to the right people to get them. Starting with your family doc is a good thing. That doc can rule out all the common problems—which you want to do. It’s the uncommon problems that make us berserk-o. And a cold on top of the vertigo? Oh, my heart goes out to you.

          Good luck. After you wind your way through the maze of docs, maybe you can let us know what happens.

  86. Mary

    I am so relieved to have read your article and so sorry that you experience vertigo.
    I have Meneires disease. It was diagnosed by ENT. The attack of vertigo, the complete loss of movement and loss of bowl control and vomiting are indescribable. I am doubly impressed with your article because it sounds like you are handling this while being blind. You sound so brave.
    The worst part for me is that I have no warning symptoms. One second I’m ok and the next I’m on the floor.
    God bless you and thank you for sharing.

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Mary, I’m not blind under normal circumstances. It’s just that when I have a vertigo attack, I can’t resolve what I see. That’s what I mean. I suspect you feel the same way when you have a vertigo attack.

      One of my second-opinion neurologists told me (several years ago) I had “vestibular Meniere’s Disease.” There is no such thing, of course. I told him I did not want to be a medical mystery, which is what all the other neuros had told me. I have a motor neuron disease, which is why the neuros had such a difficult time diagnosing me. I am quite unique!

  87. Ed

    I have this recurring fear that I will have my 2nd vertigo attack in a public place, like at a wedding, or church, or a meeting. Have you had that happen and what do you do? My first attack was so violent and fast with no warning; 6 seconds from normal to super spinning vision, dropping to the floor, full on attack, then 60 seconds to loosing everything I had eaten for the last day. I lost 7 pounds during those 10 days, not my preferred dieting method :-) Would be so embarrassing out in public, I’m grateful my first attack was in a safe place.

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Ed, I had my 2nd attack while I was driving home from a doctor’s appt. I was terrified. I managed to continue driving—I was .5 miles from home. I don’t know how I did it.

      I had my 3rd, 4th, 5th attacks at home. Those were the full-blown whirly attacks. I have also had several saccades attacks, where my eyes go wonko (crazy nystagmus, but no vomiting).

      My most recent attack was September 2014. We were at a Bat Mitzvah party, at a function hall. My husband was with me. I had felt fine all day, but did not feel well when I got to the party. I was able to drink a ton of water and postpone the attack for a couple of hours. But, the adults soon had to go into the dark hall where the strobe disco ball was, along with the loud DJ. That did me in. I started to feel nauseous. I told Mark I didn’t feel well and went to the bathroom. I thought I might vomit, but was okay. I thought I might have to poop, but I was okay. But, it took me 30 minutes to feel okay. He met me outside the bathroom and said, “Let’s go home.”

      I kept drinking sips of water. I really thought I had triumphed over the attack. But no. I had just postponed it. I got ready for bed and lay down. Big mistake. That’s when I needed to vomit. But I was so exhausted I needed to sleep. You just can’t win with this vertigo business. I pooped first, vomited for an hour, and then was able to sleep.

      I have to say, I have lost water weight. I have never had that tremendous weight loss you have. My goodness. How awful.

      I guess because I’ve had so many attacks, I don’t care about them. I don’t anticipate them. I try to sit near the bathroom on an airplane. I know my tinnitus increases just before an attack. I often have ear pain. It says so in my spreadsheet. (I keep a spreadsheet of attacks, days since previous attacks, and possible precipitating condition(s).

      I try to stay healthy and not cause them. That’s the best I can do. I get more warning now, or maybe I’m more aware. My attacks now are nothing like my first attack. That one came on with no warning. I know now that my not-so-great feeling all day was something I can be more aware of.

      I’m not fearful of the attacks. I don’t want to fall and crack my head open. That would be bad!

  88. Chill

    my first vertigo attack was in 1968..then I had 2-3 others and then 2 times a few weeks ago..most have been at night , asleep,,when I wake up to go to the bathroom,,switch from my left side to my right side..and all hell breaks loose. room spins and spins…
    at times I will pass out for a few seconds and find myself not making it to the bathroom to urinate.
    In 1987 I was attending a trade school during the day that was on the first floor and on the next floor up was a local powerful radio station broadcasting, that gave me headaches and made me nauseated..all their transmitting equipment was in this building the second week I quit because I was driving on my way home when the street started spinning around..I thought an earthquake had hit,,but it was my vertigo. That was the only time I ever got a vertigo attack during the day. Wonder if the powerful radio freqs had anything to do with the rocks in my ear canals. I went to the er ,got checked and dismissed, with vertigo I was dizzier as hell. What I don’t do after an attack is lay down in a bed right away,,but rather find a comfy recliner,,lay a comforter on it and sleep on it..and wait a week or two before I lay down again..and wait another few weeks before I turn to my right side.
    This last time a few weeks ago..(before that time I had an attack was in 1997)..I made the mistake of laying down in my bed the next day after the first vertigo attack and sure enough I got another one..wife took me to the ER ..they ran CT Scan, blood work, urine test, EKG twice and other physical test to tell me what I already know. No heart attack, no stroke, no brain tumor, no nothing..just vertigo..ER doc tells me..:What do you want to do, Sir?”..I’m 68..”I said fix me..he says “We can admit you and have an expert check you,,but not sure your medicare/supplement ins will ok it..since it’s only Vertigo…it’s only vertigo. I asked him..”Son have you ever had vertigo?”…he said “No”..then you’ve never danced with the devil I said…
    So the wife and I left..In the past few years I’ve been in cardiac units, ICU units with 24 hour monitoring and they all say you is have vertigo..a little diabetes and slight high blood pressure..but maybe you have BVVP..or whatever they call it…so I am on my second ENT ..who wants to do another ENG test,,which I said hell he does all his balance and coordination test on me,,and then he reset the stones in my ear like the first ENT did,,, seems to help.but still dizzy..and has me scheduled for therapy ..
    at the hospital I was given anitvert, (which is nothing more than an antihistamine) which I have at home and take at times,,not much help and Predisone..a steroid which makes me feel very agitated and hungry..this young ENT advised me off these meds..wants the brain, eyes and ears to relearn my balance without them. He says they cause more issues than help…he’s a young doctor. So we’ll see.
    To everyone who suffers from this agitating problem,,just hang n there and fight it the best way you can.

    1. johanna Post author

      Ah Chill, you have danced with the devil, haven’t you? The young docs who don’t know anything are sometimes worse than no doc at all. They have no empathy.

      If you do have BPPV, vestibular therapy should work on you. (Famous last words.) If you don’t, then it’s a long shot. On the other hand, what the heck, right? What have you got to lose except some time for therapy? And, doing it?

      I did not find prednisone helpful for my vertigo. I took it briefly to try to restore my hearing loss. It didn’t work. Oh well. (On the other hand, I felt no pain anywhere! Gotta love those steroids.)

      I do find it helpful to know what is causing my vertigo. If you can, I urge you to understand the cause. You’ve certainly had it long enough.

  89. Sherry

    Hi Johanna
    Thanks for your website. I have many of the symptoms others here have, but one particular that I have no one seems to mention. When I go to have my hair done after getting my hair washed I seem to have issues with my vision, feel foggy, a bit anxious and almost as though the side of my head where my ear feels full and rings most almost feels numb. It lasts until my haircut is done and blowed drive and until I get home. Scares me and makes me not want to go to another appointment in fear I might embarrass myself. Do you ever have this issue? Thanks again.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Sherry, You are quite welcome. Now, to your question. I don’t like leaning my head back without support, so I don’t have my hairdresser wash my hair. I also don’t like the shaking back and forth when someone else washes my hair. For me, it can shake those darn crystals around. I’m fine when I wash my own hair.

      I’m not surprised that a vigorous hair-washing can confuse the crystals in your ears, if you have BPPV. Since I have no vestibular ocular reflex, the shaking makes my vision go wonky. (How’s that for a technical term? My vision goes back to normal when the shaking stops, but it is uncomfortable. My hairdresser sprays my hair with water.

      Maybe someone else can chime in?

  90. Micki

    My first vertigo attack was on Nov 1, 2009. I remember it clearly because the day before I had taken my granddaughter to a Halloween parade. It was cool and windy and I didn’t have a hat on.when I opened my eyes that morning the room was spinning/ flipping..I thought it had something to do with the wind in my ears. I went to my reg doctor and then an ent..that episode, no vomiting, but diarrhea probably from fear. They gave me Ativan, antivert( which I didn’t take), a nose spray of some sort and the episodes continued for that entire month on and off.washing my hair bending forward brought it on..bending over too..the ent said avoid those movements and do the bpvv exercises….the vertigo seemed to go away but dizziness persisted on and off a lot of the time but I could function..I got dizzy especially when I went from change of summer days into cold AC or indoors in the heat to outside…the dr seems to think this is unrelated but I know it is more than a coincidence. I had another period of episodes in 2011 which did not last as long..then nothing till yesterday.i have had a cough for a few weeks..lots of dust as we are moving soon and there I was Dec 4 2014.waking up again, head on pillow with the room flipping.i knew to sit up and hold on and try to focus..but lets face matter what you know you should do ,it still scares the heck out if you. I called my own dr and he said again do Ativan and try the antivert. I need to be alert and am afraid of it..I called my ENT and he was away…his partner was there. This is a well known and prestigious practice on Long Island so they should know what they are doing. The partner told me not to do the bpvv exercises but do Cawthorne head exercises..he did a thorough head nose eye ear exam..cameras inside and all and a hearing test…he also told me NOT to avoid the positions that bring it on, but be aware of them and try to recreate it!! I guess I looked at him as if he were crazy, so he explained it would help my brain to become immune to these sensory triggers..has anyone heard of that before?? Told me no salt( which is a problem because I get dehydrated and have had to go to the ER..they told me eat drink and extra salt.he said he would like me to take steroids but I can’t because of my I have nasonex, astepro nose spray, the Ativan and he also wants me to take he anti vert..and do those exercises moving my eyes around..these do not seem to be triggers for me..I don’t understand the any of these treatments seem familiar..?my daughter has menieres and he said it is not that..if not. Then what?..he said ” just vertigo” any thoughts on this? What triggers this after 2 – 3 year breaks? We are moving , packing a stirring up 10years worth of dust and I have had allergies and a cough for weeks.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Micki. Wow. I do avoid salt, because it does dehydrate me. I drink extra water. See Seven Things You Can Do to Help Manage Your Vertigo.

      I keep a spreadsheet of my vertigo attacks, so I have a shot of knowing what causes them. In your case, with the dust, that could be a trigger for your allergies. (Just a thought. I’m no MD!)

      When I first had vertigo, I was on antihistamines and anti-cough stuff for weeks, all in an effort to keep my nose clear. I find Mucinex quite helpful.

      Here is a link to the Cawthorne exercises. I think I did some of them when I did vestibular therapy, but not all of them. Wow. I would have fallen over. If they think you have labyrinthitis, that’s something you eventually get rid of. Eventually is the operative word.

      If I were you, I would get help for the moving. We did, for our move this year, but that’s because I am close to useless. Given my vertigo, I cannot pick up a box. I can barely pack a box! We paid for help, and it was worth every penny. It cost much less than we expected. It also forced us to make good decisions about downsizing. You might read Is Anybody Using This? or Does This Enhance My Life? as you make these decisions.

      Good luck to you.

  91. cristine

    I know what vertigo is like n honestly id rather be deaf then have this had episode other day n its not pleasant n people whom nvr experience this dont know what its like on a day to day basis so wish thr was a cure fr it

    1. johanna Post author

      Cristine, have you seen an oto-neurologist? Mine says that *for me* there were several options. I wrote about the options and my decision in Making Difficult Choices. If you are not seeing an oto-neurologist, you might consider it.

      If you don’t have a diagnosis, see a regular neurologist. I have a letter to the editor in draft form, urging neuros everywhere to consider motor neuron disease, when they see stubborn dizziness cases. Those of us with persistent undiagnosed vertigo would rather have some diagnosis than no diagnosis at all.

  92. Anita

    Wow – I can’t agree more! When my parents and husband say how sad they are that I lost 1/2 of hearing in one ear, I just try to put their minds at ease. Even having tinnitus in the affected ear is not as bad as having vertigo.

  93. Lynda

    Thank you for such a supportive web site.
    I am about to ask my doctor for a referral to an ENT Specialist. I’ve had one big spin in 2011 and smaller dizzy moments ever since. Although not all the time. I even managed a cycling holiday last year, so I do have normal times and I sail once a year. I take Stugeron every day when I sail, to make sure I don’t get seasick and so far so good with the vertigo, although I am crossing my fingers I will feel better by May! I’ve been spaced out for the last 5 weeks and am drinking lots of water to try and keep hydrated (I heard it can help). I am spaced out most of the time, but I live with it and I function fine until the wave hits me. Wobbly knees and nausea. I feel like I am waiting for the big one and it scares me, especially the thought of it happening while I am away from home. The big spin in 2011 was awful and I am so scared of that happening again. I remember it too well – I had done a yoga class the day before and the person who ran the class specialised in The Alexander Technique so I thought it might be a good class. I remember lying on the floor and she moved my head from side to side. The next day I woke up with the big spin. I am convinced it was because she moved my head …. I might be wrong. I’ve had that spaced out feeling through 2011, August 2012 and now Dec 2014 and a general spaced out feeling periodically over the last few years, as if my head is all foggy.
    The smaller “spells”are awful, but I would prefer them any day, at least they go. I keep saying to myself “All things pass” …. and hope they do!
    I’m working today and typing so until the wave I’m just kind of spaced out. I don’t like looking around the room, I feel better looking straight ahead. Although I do force myself to look around and Its “just there”. I have to work so in-between those “funny” moments I just walk around like I’m about to drop, but I haven’t so far. Just the odd little topsy turvy moment. I had to hold the desk while talking to a customer the other day, but then it went. So the little monster is still there bugging me and I long for the day I will feel normal.
    Anyway, it helps to write it down. My doctor told me not to look on the internet, but I think it’s natural to try and find answers, especially as he’s not providing them. I do find it amazing that in this day and age we cannot find a cure for these inner ear problems …. surely soon …
    I am a bit scared of going to an ENT Specialist because I’ve heard the Epley Manouvere and all those balance tests are very unpleasant (yes, I’m a wuss!). I know when you have the big spin you will do anything to get rid of it and I kind of don’t want to put myself through it until that happens, but I guess an initial consultation wouldn’t hurt …
    Anyway thanks Joanna! the support helps.
    Kind regards,

    1. johanna Post author

      Lynda, you are quite welcome! The problem with vertigo is that it has many causes. The reason your doc doesn’t want you to search online is that he/she doesn’t want you to scare yourself. You might have labyrinthitis, which I believe goes away after a while. You might have BPPV, which the Epley and other other head turning exercises do address. Vestibular therapy will help. Other, much more rare causes are Chiari malformations, and my motor neuron disease. Since you still have your hearing, you probably don’t have Meniere’s Disease.

      You are correct. The balance tests are no fun. However, they last a couple of hours at most. At the end, they provide your ENT enough information to tell you what’s going on. That makes them worth it.

      Yes, the vertigo fog is quite annoying, isn’t it? I talk about the “vertigo stupids,” because they are real.

      I am envious of you. I could not manage to bicycle at all, never mind for a vacation! I don’t have enough balance for that. I can sail, as long as I hang onto things on the boat. (Every time I try something and I succeed, I’m so happy with my small success.) I don’t get nauseous sailing, which is great.

      Best of luck to you. I hope they discover what causes your vertigo. I find answers so much more comforting, even if I don’t like the answers, than not having them.

  94. Jane

    Fabulous site here…such positive and hopeful comments for fellow sufferers. For me, A couple of things i think worked. Drink plenty of quality water with magnesium. Still water and knock off caffeine and tea. Cut down salt. Get exercise. Try to reduce stress. Dont skip meals and eat well.
    Read books on the subject. My two favourites from Amazon. I read this one over and over again. i swear what he says got me through the tougest times of my life. Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn et al.
    The other book was the revised Meniere Man book because it was step by step taking me through the beginning, middle and end of vertigo attacks ( meniere’s ones) and had so many techniques for coping.
    I also got John Kabat Zinn’s CD for meditation..these were excellent to get me to relax at home.
    And I also had a few sessions with a psychologist to work on the anxiety the vertigo was causing me. So with all the above I felt more in control and had a handle on the vertigo..and it seemed that helped . The less stressed I was and the more ” going with the flow” and understanding that the vertigo would not go on forever…
    Everyone has something positive here…all so good and how lucky people understand what one goes through with vertigo.

  95. Maggie

    thank god for your website. I just had my first severe vertigo attack a couple days ago on Christmas Eve and had to be rushed by ambulance to the emergency room because the spins were out of control and SO FAST causing me to vomit more violently than I had ever experienced. I am not normally a panic type person, but once I started vomiting blood I honest to god thought I was dying. Scariest thing I’ve ever been through in my life, without a doubt. This seems to have been triggered by a deep tissue massage I received the day before – the masseuse was doing a lot of work on my neck – because the first dizzy spell happened 40 min after the massage. I had three more that evening that got progressively worse, but no spins during those ones and they each lasted less than a minute. The next day I felt lightheaded so I stayed on the couch watching movies most the day. Around 4:30pm I got dressed to head out to the gym, got down to my car, and then BAM the big one hit. Thank god it happened before I started driving. Anyway, I’ve been researching the internet like crazy trying to find out everything I can since I can’t get into see a doctor for another 10 days. I can walk straight now, but I feel like one of those bobbly head toys you put on your dashboard. At least the nausea is gone. I’m 37 yrs old, very active and healthy (or was) am scared that my entire quality of life is ruined. I don’t have any ringing in the ears, but your post described what it was like very well. I’m so grateful to have come across your writings. Thank you.

  96. Maggie

    Also, how long does it usually take after one of the bigger attacks (like what you describe) to “get normal” again? As far as where the eyes don’t feel like they’re under so much strain and things “look” normal again while you’re moving like walking and not just sitting in one place. I realize everyone is different, but how long does it take for you? Thank you in advance for your advice and support!

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Maggie, I hope that the doc you are going to see is an ENT. The massage may have been a trigger, but it may also be coincidence. Although, someone recently posted that she has had luck with chiropractic work on her back. Your neck is connected to your back :-) (and on and on). Other people here have terrific advice and some fascinating experiences.

      The first time I had a vertigo attack, it took me close to a month to become “normal,” but remember, I blew out my inner ear. (See Intralabyrinthine Hemorrhage Information.) Most people don’t take nearly that long. Now, when I have vertigo attacks, I sleep it off. I’m close to fine the next day, and within a couple of days, I’m back to my version of normal.

      If you have BPPV, your quality of life is not ruined. You have crystals that need to be put back. If you have labrynthitis, that takes a while. Meniere’s Disease is a life-long problem, although people manage it, too. The key is to discover the cause of your vertigo. If you know what the cause is, you can learn what you can do to manage it. I would hold off on strenuous exercise, and do floor exercises and isometric exercises until I felt better. But, that’s me.

      If you can walk straight now, you are already way ahead of many of us, certainly me :-) I always look a little drunk. It’s called the “vertigo waddle.” Vestibular therapists have a name for everything!

      Good luck.

      1. Jane

        Reasons for and prevention can vary as i discovered.
        I made a rule by learning the hard way. Avoid neck manipulation and neck massage..that is what I do now. First bout of dizziness happened after an Osteo neck manipulation… may have been a coincidence…?

        2 weeks of room hugging dizziness where I ended up seeing a neurologise happened after being on a sailing boat for a day. Why I avoid cruises :) and long train journeys. Diagnosis at that time was labrinthitus.

        Drink more fluids in hot weather! Seems obvious but ai didn’t. Result was Low blood pressure and dehydration ..not enough fluids on the heat= Not enough fluid volume in the body to keep the blood pumping to my brain! So i got very dizzy .

        Another was a nasty virus…that made me fall over sideways when I sat up…really affected my balance..but that caused a high fever too.

  97. Graham

    I know how you feel.

    Water helps me too and I’ve often wondered if my blood pressure medication causes an electrolyte imbalance leading to this problem as it started when my medication was altered to include a diuretic component. Do you take a blood pressure medication or diuretic?

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Graham, I took HCTZ for years for my blood pressure. It worked really well, except I needed to drink more water for the diuretic effects. A few months ago, it appeared to be a problem, and my doc put on Lisonpril, which is not working at all. I see my doc later this month to see what to do differently.

      I have found that when I work out enough, I don’t need BP meds. However, I have had significant radicular pain and problems recently, and my workouts seem to be aggravating those. This is unrelated to my vertigo. It’s a Problem. I will need to figure this out with my doc.

  98. Linda

    Hi, I found your site by accident. I suffered BPPV for the first time last July. It’s extremely debilitating. Coffee is definitely one of my triggers. It took me 3 months to recover from that first attack. I had another 3days ago and still feel like I have a permanent head cold. It’s comforting to know there are many others out there suffering as I do, in some cases,a lot worse than I ever have. You have hit the nail on the head though, find your triggers, adapt and overcome as there is no cure as yet. Good luck all

    1. johanna Post author

      Linda, it’s a good thing to know your triggers. I hope you get back to normal soon, after this most recent attack.

  99. Kareen

    Hi there!

    I was recently diagnosed with vertigo a month ago and I’ve never been the same since then. I’m 24 years old and I’ve always been very active and the one thing I hated in the world was feeling dizzy. So when I woke up one morning with the world spinning and vomiting everywhere and feeling nauseous I thought I’d just go to the doctor and they could fix me. I hate the fact that she told me that I have to live with this my whole life, she just gave me Mclizine and that was it, she didn’t ask much questions and didn’t recommend me to see an EMT doctor, pretty much she was like ‘here take some pills and suck it up’. But I can’t even sleep on my side anymore because then the world starts spinning. I can’t do cartwheels or paint because when I tilt my head it starts, I can’t even look down for more than a few seconds or I start getting the whirlies. For weeks I felt like was in an unstable bubble that would tilt at every action, and it pissed me off that most people brush it off like it’s just some small thing. I can’t imagine my whole life like this, I’ve had no relief from this for a month, and at times my ears would hurt and I would be nauseous the whole day just lying on my bed. If anything, I’m going to change my doctor and hopefully see a EMT doctor but I just wanted to say that, at times I felt like I’ve been alone so it’s nice to know that their are people who I can connect with about this.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Kareen, Wow. You have just experienced the first law of vertigo: Very few regular docs (primary care physicians or ER docs) understand what we go through.

      It can take a few weeks for the dizziness to subside. Do not worry that it has only been a month. If it’s BPPV, you can learn the Epley maneuver, and manage it on your own. If it’s something else, an ENT will help you determine what it is.

      Since you still have the whirlies, maybe if you see an ENT soon, you can get diagnosed faster. Getting your diagnosis is key. Good luck. We’re here for you.

  100. Jane

    A lot has been said about fluids…avoid alchohol is a big one…

    Suoer food … green coconuts for hydration ..if you can get them fresh..or coconut water is really good if you are dehydrated. Also very high in magnesium. So if you are feeling in the negative zone ..or if you feel like you are getting a headache or migraine…keep coconut water in the fridge..tetra pack even.
    Dont confuse with coconut cream though!
    All the best everyone!

  101. francis butler

    Yes I have had this vertigo when I was 5 , but it started back in high school I was losing my balance alot, I have five children now and I’m fifty one they say I need glasses and have ocular headaches but I don’t feel the headaches I do have alergic conjunctivitis just been diagnosed thank god no eye diseases just need glasses I was supposed to have went to the hearing center for test but I didn’t but I’m going now after this I got woke up and can’t go to sleep yes it is scary well I know if I tilt my head lying down it comes back so I lay on my stomach laying on my back makes it come back so I lay in my floor with my head down turned that don’t bother me but if I turn another way it can come back oh well pray for me, thanks

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Francis. I don’t know anything about ocular headaches. If your vertigo is that sensitive to how you lie down, I would see an ENT.

  102. Tab

    In 1990, I had my first attack of vertigo while pregnant. My only symptom was vomiting! I was put in the hospital for investigation and they found it was due to my inner ear. I was young, so I do not recall much, but the dr sent me to an ENT, where they laid me on a table in a room and dropped a very tiny tube in my ear with a balloon on the end, which filled with water. They said they were doing a test, and also asked me to read certain things on a screen.
    They said I had some kind of an inner ear problem, but I don’t remember what they called it. After a couple of months the matter cleared up with meclizine and I went on with life.
    Around 2007, it returned. Except this time the symptoms presented differently. I had heart racing, dizziness and a terrible pressure in the inner ear. If I stood up, my heart would race. If I climbed steps, my ears would pressurize and my heart would race. The doctor did some cardiac investigating and found nothing with my heart, and concluded it was so form of panic disorder. But I never felt that this was correct, as these symptoms occurred with a pressure in the ears.
    Once I had another attack so bad my hands would tremble. My heart would take off up to 98bpm, and I would feel dizzy. When I reported it to the doctor, he once again sent me back to the cardiologist who said it was not coming from my heart and to go to a hemotologist. LOL I laugh because they seriously did not know what to do with me, even as I told them my ears are pressurizing.
    I did visit the hemo and had some bloods drawn and he said I need to go see my GP and ask to see an ENT again. GP said I probably had an ear infection, put me on an antibiotic and BOOM, dizzeness gone, pressurized feeling gone, heart racing gone.
    Over my life, whenever I get these attacks, I get put on antibiotics and it goes away.
    As i get older, I find that the antibiotics do not work as well for this anymore and most days I really suffer.
    My grandmother suffered with labyrithitis and had to live on valium to function in her older years. She would get the vomiting aspect and spinning head. I do not get the spins, but I get a pressure feeling and a bumping into the walls at times and my gait is unsteady.
    I find that the heart racing goes hand in hand with this for me, and it truly makes me miserable at times. I’m about to go see an ENT and investigate again. God Bless anyone going through this. It’s so very hard and my heart goes out to you.

    My symptoms in total: heart racing, pressurized feeling in ears, painful inner ear feeling at times, unsteady gait, bump into walls, light headed, trembling hands, cannot tolerate loud sounds, head rush feeling, hot flush feeling in face, anxious feeling, difficulty sleeping, nightmares.

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Tab, I can empathize with you re the painful inner ear, unsteady gait, and the difficult in tolerating loud sounds. I sometimes get an attack if my ear hurts for several days. Smart of you to de-pressurize.

      My suspicion about the antibiotics: they cleaned out the pressure in your ear and Eustachian tubes. I’m not a doctor. That’s still my theory. If I have pressure, I take Mucinex or some antihistamines (or both) and they work to reduce the pressure in my ears.

      If you are not under an ENT’s care, you might decide to go to a neurologist. Some combination of an oto-neurologist, or a neuro who specializes in dizziness and balance issues. If you’re having more frequent dizziness or attacks, it might be worth it for you.

      Good luck.

  103. Lane Karsh

    I have had 2 vertigo attacks & they knock me out with fatigue for weeks
    Going to house ear clinic for test
    & they diognosed my titnitus in my left ear back in 99. Hopefully this visit will
    Help me. Would appreciate any help
    Or info on vertigo thx

  104. Malinda Essig

    I am 42 and had my first vertigo attack this past Monday. I woke up and tried to lift my head but could not, as soon as I opened my eyes, everything was violently bouncing up and down – not side to side. I had to crawl out of bed backwards to crawl to the bathroom – with my head literally dropped because I could not lift it. The sweat was rolling down my neck and as soon as I touched the ceramic floor, I just had to drop to cool down – but felt no fever. Was doing my business than went for the trash can to start the vomiting. My fiancée was so worried and just wanted to call the ambulance. I asked him to give me a minute and to just sit and give me his back; I could not hold my head up very well. I was coherent and calm (for the most part) through the whole thing. I finally let him go to call the ambulance. I vividly remember the whole occurrence, the ambulance ride and getting into the room at the hospital. After that is a blur. We were home a few hours later, I slept than showered and went to work. The whole bouncing sight and heavy head lasted about 1.5 hours. Today I am had a blind migraine (retina migraine), which I have been getting from time-to-time for about 15 years.
    The whole thing was scary. To be so aware but yet not be able to have that control. I do notice that if I look to the side, just with my eyes, there appears to be a slight delay in either my eyes to brain or brain to eyes, not quite sure.
    Thank you for the posts, it is helping a little – especially when I see some of the timespans that some face and I don’t seem to be dealing with the same timespan – I am thankful.


    1. johanna Post author

      Malinda, it sounds like your side-to-side issue was saccades. If you have not called an ENT, you should. You may be able to discover why you had this attack.

      I also find that if I sleep it off, I am better. Good luck to you.

      1. Malinda Essig

        Thank you Johanna. I made an appointment with an ENT. In December I had a pretty bad head cold and the blocking of my ears have been a pain since than so I am hoping that is all it is. Thank you for the response.

  105. netmouse

    So glad to find your blog. My first attack was 3 weeks ago. Woke up to a shocking wild swimming head and rocking body, and couldn’t steady myself, when bending to stand kept going forward into wall. No other symptoms. Thought I had a stroke, I’m 67. So scary. I live alone. Long story short, by mid-day after sitting upright at my desk all morning I was better, good enough for a nice walk outside, but still feeling unsteady. Every day since has been like this, but morning wake-up usually more mild but distinct head swimming, holding onto things and walls to get down hall to bathroom. Some afternoons stable enough to go to store., some not. Day 3 had clammy cold hands and weak rubbery knees so went to doc who said come back in 2 weeks if you still have symptoms. Scary as no explanation. Got second opinion who said if happens with position change go to ENT and gave me a name, and for a neurologist if needed for nerve damage. Beginning this week the secondary symptoms got stronger – cold clammy hands and feet with heat flushes over shoulders and chest, 4 episodes of the shakes and rigid tightened muscles that last 20 minutes, and light nausea that seems not tied to head appeared more often. Doc did EKG, small change from prior one so sent to Cardiologist who said probably vertigo, talked about head rotation procedures and set me up for some heart tests. I found head rotation chart on internet (epley) and tried that. It seemed to make the lying down left side dizziness better, but standing was much worse as my head swam no matter where it was positioned. The right side seemed a little dizzy lying down, so I tried the head procedures for that side. Found a different head procedure of Colorado State U. where you kneel and do a forward half somersault then turn to the left, the come back up so head is even with waist then back up kneeling. WOW that made a mess of my head. Very off balance and wobbly when standing but managed dinner. When in bed lying down, my eyes started rapidly moving back and forth going super fast, it was being blind. It went on and on. Both eyes, no matter where I positioned my head. Sitting up I could focus, but terrible wobbly time getting to bathroom. Back to bed and eyes went crazy again. I figured the somersault maneuver messed my inner ears up, so I did the classic epley maneuver again, very slowly staying 2 minutes in each position. That made the eyes behave much better. Today sitting at my desk all day, I was stable and can walk around quite well, did a laundry. Something is moving around my inner ears, that is for sure. I have had random very mild pressure around my neck area and under ears from the beginning all along, today a tiny bit soreness.

    Tomorrow Monday is heart stress test and a review with a second cardiologist. I hope to get to see an ENT within a week, it seems awful that before I was told it would be probably 2 weeks to get an appointment, but I could call each day to see if there was a cancel. So hard to see a doctor!

    Living alone, I am dependent on finding someone to drive me, as tests might make me dizzy. The best medical center in NJ seems to be JFK Medical that has a department devoted to this – you go in and their various doctors and specialists do everything that day to diagnosis you and set up a plan. They have all the latest equipment and tests listed at their website. A less robust hospital but closer has a specialty ear department for this and a neuroortonlogist and special PT head it. The closest hospital has a vistibular rehab group, but only an ENT practice that has lots of services with one being dizzy and balance disorders. If I need different help like a neurologist I have to go to another place and maybe again wait 1-2 weeks to be seen. I’m really torn about where to go, which imposes on someone else to transport and stay to take me home, and also risk any rehab set-up being far from home. But maybe the ENT close practice near-by is good enough. Tough decision as insurance will probably only pay for one shot at getting this diagnosis right, you can’t keep doctor shopping I’d think.

    1. johanna Post author

      Mouse, wow, you’ve had a difficult time.

      BTW, I drove to and from my vestibular testing. I’d had vertigo for a few months by that time (the first time), although I was not yet using a cane. The second time, I drove myself and I was using a cane.

      I don’t know what kind of insurance you have. My insurance paid for at least one second opinion, especially since they did not know the cause of my vertigo. Maybe you can call your insurance and discover what they offer.

      Get them to check your upper motor neuron function. If you have shakes and rigid muscles, something other than straight vertigo is going on. No one ever thinks of motor neuron dysfunction, because it is quite rare.

      The ENT can tell you if you have BPPV. A neurologist can tell you why you have the shakes and rigid muscles, unless that’s from your heart.

      Best wishes. I hope you get an answer sooner, rather than later.

      1. netmouse

        Thanks. Appreciate your advice. Insurance is Medicare, and I am glad about that!

        The 4 shaking episodes happened over a few days in week 3, and has not reoccurred for a few days. Probably tied to increase in cold clammy hands and hot flushes over shoulder, and the emergence of a slight sore throat with sinuses a bit drippy yesterday only. Hope so. Doesn’t help if there is a second illness with those symptoms layered on top of this. If one gets the wild crazy flu, that would sure confuse things. But then the weak hands this morning are a concern. I hope someone figures it out.

  106. netmouse

    Question – For maybe 2 months now I have a large coffee in the evening. I always have had 2-3 large cups in the mornings. Could it possibly be the increase in coffee, and late in the day, that could have caused little crystals to break off in my ear? When one drinks a lot of coffee your head does get a “buzz”.

  107. netmouse

    Saw ENT, and he seemed really great. Thinks it is BPPV. Explained why not some other things such as Menier’s. Said to work with Cardiologist to finish the heart tests this week (nuclear stress test and ECHO heart ultrasound). ENT office did an audio test and I am missing one little sound so their rule is to do an MRI, but very unlikely a brain lesion, and any brain problem will show up in MRI. Ordered rehab and evaluation. Ordered an hour long Videonystagmography (VNG) test in their office in early February. Gave me a sheet with Cawthorne Head Exercises to do 15 increasing to 30 minutes twice a day. See him again in 6 weeks.

    1. johanna Post author

      Thank you for your update and for this video. When I had my vestibular testing, the VNG, we discovered I had no ocular reflex. No wonder I was dizzy!

      We can adapt to many things. I have adapted, even to a lack of VOR.

  108. Kath

    Hi johanna,

    I’m glad I found this blog! As you said, this feels so isolating. Some of my coworkers even think that it’s just a psychological thing. I thought of that as well at first but confirmed I’m still sane after the tests were done.

    I just had an attack this morning when i woke up. I just opened my eyes and everything is moving. It’s been more than two months since I had an attack and this shocks me. I’ve been limitting my coffee intake gradually trying to iliminate it as the doctor said removing it completely would definitely result to withdrawal sympthoms. Good thing my SO is there to help me or i would really tumble and fall from the staircase. (we don’t have a bathroom near our bedroom and i’m thinking of adding one to at least help when i’m having an attack there) Will start reading your article on managing vertigo.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. johanna Post author

      HI Kath, my best wishes for you to find out what’s going on. I hate waking up in the middle of an attack. Argh.

      BTW, I drink an occasional cup of decaf coffee (which still has caffeine), and a cup of green tea (which has not too much caffeine) every morning. You can go decaf :-)

      I hope they discover why you have vertigo, and if there are meds, that you can take them. Good luck.

  109. Malu

    About 2 years ago, I had “severe” attacks if vertigo ( at y they all) my husband had no idea what I was talking about – then one day on the radio I heard a commercial about a cream one could purchase and to call an 800 number-” oh, yea, probably a $200 cream…” but then he said just rub it behind your ear!!
    Then — I began to rub the BONE behind my ear AND instantly my verdigo disappeared – a few my times and then infrequently they STOPPED!! I could now bend over and pet my dog or pick up anything on the floor without getting verdigo. I think the gentle message of that And did it for me and I still don’t know what that cream cost! Now, today 71 years old and it has returned — not too severe but there with every turn of my head??? Now my husband has vertigo when moving his head side to side. My attacks & his attacks are frequently and the odd thing is theryre now long enough to message the bone behind my ear. Maybe this info can help others now. I hope so. I hope this goes away soon.

    1. johanna Post author

      Malu, if you have not gone to an ENT, you should. Yes, some people suffer from vertigo as they age, but why should you suffer if you don’t have to?

      You may have been massaging your mastoid bone. If you have an infection in your middle ear, it might affect the fluid in your inner ear and, therefore, your balance.

      Middle ear infections are relatively easy to diagnose and fix. Even inner ear infections are easy to diagnose. Not as easy to fix.

  110. Toree

    I’m 16 and have had vertigo for a couple months now and I take meclizine and a substitute for zofran but neither seen to be helping me. My vertigo attacks happen every day at least 2 or 3 times sometimes more. Any advice? My doctor keeps telling us that it’s nothing and it’s normal but I don’t feel it is.

    1. johanna Post author

      Toree, having vertigo attacks every day or more often is not normal. Unless you have an underlying condition. Even then, you should be able to find some relief.

      If you have not seen an ENT or an oto-neurologist, it’s time. At minimum, you can get a second opinion.

  111. Nancy Robbins

    had my 1st vertigo attack last wk, standing at my printer at home. The room suddenly tilted & I grabbed the wall. Only lasted abt 5 secs. Felt bk to normal pretty quickly. Hoped it would never happen again! But has been happening almost once a day for the past 4 dys, all random times including once as I rolled over out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night. I’ll call my neurologist tmr & my gp. But I have chronic intractable migraines & I’ve read abt MAV… migraine associated vertigo. I don’t want to have to go thru a bunch of tests if this is yet *another* difficulty of living w/ migraine. I’ve skimmed lots of these entries but haven’t seen any mentioning migraine. Anybody out there like me? But this vertigo… how do people cope w/ this!? What wld happen if I were driving, or doing just abt anything?? It hits so hard w/o warning!

    1. johanna Post author

      Nancy, my vertigo attacks are much less frequent than yours. I did have one while driving. Scared me. I was half a mile from home and drove home where I promptly threw up.

      I have no idea what’s causing your frequent vertigo attacks. You do need to check them out. Good luck.

  112. Shannon Ramsey

    I’m only 17 years old and my doctor perscribed me with BPPV. My doctor did the maneuvers at my appointment and right whenI got up I had nausea and my doctor couldn’t continue with the exercise. I’m on meclizine but I can only take it at night because of the drowsiness because I have school in the day. It’s really scary. You can’t control when you get super dizzy or get nausea or headaches. But when it happens it’s too overwhelming.

    1. johanna Post author

      Shannon, other people take Zifran. Maybe that’s a possibility for you?

      If the Epley makes you nauseous, you need to know what causes your vertigo. Make sure you see an ENT or an otoneurologist. You can’t let your vertigo run your life, certainly not at 17.

      Best of luck to you.

  113. Larissa

    In 2008 I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, my vertigo attacks just started in November. Someone here put it perfect when they said you have danced with the devil. My ENT has given me dexamethatone (spelling?)injections in my ear, first one helped for one year, next shot only two months, next only one month, just had one last Tuesday, had a bad vertigo attack Friday morning – doc says can take 7-10 days for it to be effective. Bad vertigo attack for me is crawling to bathroom, not knowing to vomit or poop first. Solved that problem with bucket in bathroom. Yesterday I had a more mild attack and I was out at an imaging place for my mom and the guy behind the desk told me he went through a bout of these and Sudafed helped him. He brought me one, I took it and OH MY GOSH, I felt better. I also take Valium if I have a warning that an attack is coming (blurry vision, queezy) but sometimes they just hit me. I wanted to say thank you for the ideas here. I have started a spreadsheet (data, data, data) and I have thrown everything out with MSG (wow – everything has it?!!! like my ranch dressing and raspberry jelly!!) I’ve switched to Decaf. I have not had alcohol since January 10th – and am trying to quit smoking – do you think a nicotine free cigarette is OK or also constricts those vessels like nicotine? I’ve reduced my sodium as well. I’m going to try the Sudafed again when I have a warning of an attack coming on. By the way, I have lost quite a bit of my hearing and the TINNITUS is enough to drive you crazy but I’ll take that and pretty much anything over a vertigo attack. I have a new scale – like the pain scale the docs say: “on a scale of 1-10 what is your level of pain?” My scale is on a scale of 1 to Vertigo everything is pretty much a 1 or 2. Now I need to get some walking (bad knees) started to help eliminate my stress. Oh, by the way, my vertigo attacks begun in November when some really difficult, stressful events took place in my life. Coincidence? Not if you look at the data! Please keep all your ideas, suggestions, coping mechanisms, etc. coming!

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Larissa, my goodness, you have some challenges.

      I’m not surprised the Sudafed helped you feel better. It helps me too, sometimes. It depends on what’s going on in my head :-) At the beginning of this journey, I took Sudafed and Mucinex all the time to reduce what was in my ears. Since your Eustachian tubes connect everything, if your nose is at all stuffy, you can affect your ears. Good for you, for figuring that out!

      I love the idea that you are collecting all your data. When I bring my data to my docs, they are always surprised. Good for you. Maybe you can manage your Meniere’s that way.

      When I had those shots, I had them twice a week for two weeks. I wonder why yours are farther apart.

      I have no idea about nicotine at all. Good for you for trying to quit.

      Yes, tinnitus is cruel. It gets louder when you are in a loud room. And, if you don’t have much hearing to begin with, it can drown out any hearing you do have. What a pain. I have met people with Meniere’s who have cochlear implants. Maybe if your hearing loss is bad enough, your doc can talk to you about hearing aids that work for you.

      Good luck! Rock on. You will figure things out. (It’s all about the data :-)

  114. Larissa

    Thank you! Did the injections twice per week for two weeks help? I will ask my ENT doc about that. All he said was I could have them as often as I want? I wish I had found this site sooner but better late than never with MSG info, low sodium, etc.

    1. johanna Post author

      Yes, the injections reduced my dizziness quite a bit.

      My oto-neurologist said I could only have them once every two years, but I don’t have Meniere’s, so I have no idea what the real deal is.

      I don’t know how long the steroid lasts. I suspect the half-life is much less than the docs think it is, but it allows your inner ear to reorganize. I’m all for that.

  115. edh

    My dance with the devil was 7 months ago, August 2014. I wrote about it Sep and again Oct. 2014. An ENT said it was most likely Viral Labyrinthitus and it would be gone after 6 months. Well, its now 7 months and I can still feel it, usually, it is a wooshy feeling in the top part of my head. The good news for me is some days I don’t think about vertigo, then other days it is I can feel somewhat dizzy. It is a big deal not to think about the dizziness. The wooshy feeling never goes away, but maybe I’m getting used to it.

    2 weeks ago, I had one tiny episode of saccades that lasted for literally 1 second. My eyes did the typewriter thing where my vision bounced back and forth horizontally one time, but then stopped. It thru me into a little panic, because I thought oh know, here comes the vertigo, but it stopped and didn’t start again. I was relieved that it stopped. I probably shouldn’t be complaining because my dizziness is 95% better, I would like to be 100% normal like I used to be. Has anyone else been diagnosed with viral labrythitus and do you eventually get over it? My ENT told me about steroids for the ear. Sounded like a injection into the ear? That would be my next move. What are people experiences with the steroid injection?

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Ed, I thought viral labyrinthitis took closer to a year to resolve. I think a colleague had it and it took him closer to a year to be “normal.”

      I know that wooshy feeling ;-) I like that word for it.

      In my vertigo attack spreadsheet, I have a number of saccades-only attacks. At one point, I could bring them on with a specific head position. (Don’t do that, Johanna!)

      As for the steroid injections, I wrote about my experience with them in Making Difficult Choices. Now, almost 2 years later, I have dizzy days and not-so-dizzy days. Today, I appear to more dizzy than yesterday. At least, we now know what causes my vertigo. We didn’t know that 2 years ago.

      Maybe someone else has had the steroid injections and will comment?

    2. netmouse

      I wrote about my new case above. It seems like you I have Viral Labyrinthitus. I get my revaluation from the vestibular physical therapist today and go back to the ENT doctor for a second visit next week now that all tests are done.

      The VNG test showed 18% difference in balance between sides, the left side the problem. I think below 25% is “normal” but one therapist said that accounts for what I feel. I’m in month 3 and have that light unbalanced or disoriented feeling at times. This makes sense as a walking exercise where I turn rapidly right I am good at, but when I turn left I stumble sometimes a bit, not much. And I have had a light sore ache move around my head from the beginning that in recent weeks only vists the left ear. It is a lingering virus it seems. At week 3 I had other secondary symptoms at their worst that probably were from the virus. The ear ache (and light nausea sometimes) stayed longer and then just the ear ache. All very light but annoying, especially frustrating as I feel the labyrinthitus won’t really recover until the virus is fully gone. We’ll wee next week what the doc says.

      If it is a virus that affected the balance nerve, I expected a year or more for a nerve to repair. I had cubital tunnel syndrome (like carpal tunnel but in elbow) that damaged a nerve causing numbness in 3 littlest end fingers, and dropping things – this ulnar nerve took perhaps 2 years to fully heal, but this is fine today.

      NOTE: I was given periodic steroid injections (4 total over 2 years) into the elbow to reduce inflammation, after which I felt much better. It brings immediate relief when pills like aspirin or advil do not work. But I recall the concern from doctors including my primary care doc that you cannot have many of these as it could harm your kidneys.

  116. netmouse

    I talked with a neighbor who had an interesting vertigo situation. In 2006 he became suddenly dizzy at work, went to medical staff on sight (he works for a big insurance co). In summary, he had a tumor on the balance nerve. His ENT doc sent him into NYC to Roosevelt hospital that had extensive surgery experience, and he had the nerve removed (right side I think). Interestly, he is fine today, just has to be careful when turning right such as on a bike or trimming the nedges on a ladder. Every once in a while he turns without thinking and falls to that side. But he gets around doing anything he did before it seems.

  117. netmouse

    Another interesting link. The study – article is over 10 years old, but it does point out that based on what direction your eyes move and more, there are different maneuvers that the physical therapist for vistibular disorders can do to move misplaced particles around and relieve symptoms, including the rapid eye movements. That is why visiting the ENT or other specialist doctor is important for any symptoms. I got the crazy rapid eye movements from left to right that lasted a week (lying down) after I did a procedure that moved my head forward (instead of backward like the Eplay maneuver). I immediately also staggered walking like a drunk sailor. By doing the Eplay maneuver after, that helped move something that helped “cure” the rapid eye movement. It took a week to play out and calm down, showed up when I lay down.

  118. Tim Dixon

    I have had the symptoms of menieres disease since I was 21 but they told me I did not have menieres disease. So by the time I was 50 years old I have been misdiagnosed 4 times then I walked into mid west ear Institute in Indianapolis Indiana I was with the doctor 2 minutes ,and was told I have had menieres disease for a long time. It has been improperly diagnosed finally I had a diagnosis. I feel so sick most of the time. It looks like the light switch on the wall moves up and down does anyone have that to happen to them? I have the spinning sensation vomiting balance problems I trip over the carpet sometimes. I have ringing in both ears I am deaf in my right ear can barely have any hearing in my left ear I have a hearing aid but sound and voices makes me sick at times. Also my hearing changes with the weather and the seasons does that happened to anyone of you all? I feel like I’m losing my mind if it were not for the Lord I don’t know what I would do. So I continue to stand on his word. I take water pill and advert and numerous other medicines. But I continue to do everything I can however I did not know sugar could make it worse so that is why I like to read personal testimonies of others God bless

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Tim. I feel for you.

      I thought that with Meniere’s, you could get the steroid injections, or the labyrinthectomy (what I call the roto-router of your inner ear). I was under the impression that both of those would stabilize you. I might have misunderstood my oto-neurologist. If you don’t have an oto-neuro, or a neuro who specializes in dizzyness, I suggest you get one.

      My tinnitus and balance change with the weather. I don’t know about anyone else.

    2. netmouse

      Tim, you have my heartfelt sympathies. I tasted a bit of the balance issues, but after revisiting the doctor it seems a virus did a little damage to a nerve and with rehab and time it will get well. I also just learned a friend had a tumor and had surgery to remove a nerve on one side of the head. He leads such a normal life I did not know until I told him about my situation. So if surgery is an answer for you, as Johanna mentions, that may be an extremely beneficial way to go and I encourage you to see the right medical team. Both my friend and I went to ENT doctors who specialize in balance disorders and mine sent me to rehab (what I needed) and my friend’s sent him to New York City to a doctor that does this surgery all the time and had a very good outcome, life even without the nerve is fine, he just has to be careful when turning to the right on his bike and such.

      Good luck, Tim, you have all my best wishes.

  119. Larissa Sharpe

    I started going to an ENT in 2007, after many hearing tests, I was diagnosed in 2008 with Meniere’s disease in my right air. It was not until this past November, 2014 that I had my first and sadly not last vertigo attack. Worst feeling ever in my life. I do get the diamethotone (spelling?) injections and they have helped me. This past injection did take 12 days to work and I did have several attacks prior to the 12 days. I bumped into someone who told me they take Sudafed and it helps them. I have to say it has helped me too. Try it, it can’t hurt. And yes, every single weather change and barometric pressure affects my ear. I too pray a lot and give thanks to this site and ideas. Also, I followed Johanna’s 7 rules and I now have no caffeine, no alcohol and low sodium and started to walk for stress reduction and get sleep and currently doing much better. I can only hope it continues. God Bless you too!

    1. johanna Post author

      Larissa, I am so happy you are finding a little relief.

      I thought I was the only one that the barometric pressure affected. Ha!

  120. Marian Murphy

    Still trying to get over my 1st really bad case of Vertigo, I woke up in the middle of the night with the room spinning and I was so disorientated I didn’t know which way was the bathroom, I started vomiting in my hands and slid to the bathroom toilet on my vomit, It was so violent and went on for hours as I sat in my own vomit and bowel movement unable to move or get up, I have just had a knee replacement surgery last year and I couldn’t kneel on it from the pain or get up. My husband had taken a sleeping pill and couldn’t hear my calls. I don’t remember much about the last two days through the vomiting and pain and its still with me now, I also feel alone and I think my husband thinks I’m over exaggerating my pain and I’m miserable. I wanted to go to the emergency room but he didn’t think I needed it. Today I’m not vomiting but I can’t bend over to clean up some of the mess I have made and the smell in the bathroom is enough to make you sick. I did get meds sent in for the nausea and vertigo, and I feel they did help, but I am going to make an appointment for an EN&T specialist this week, thank you for your kind words it always helps to know what you are going through and to know you are not alone.

    1. johanna Post author

      Marian, you poor dear. Yes, the problem with a vertigo attack is that it plays havoc with your entire GI tract.

      I hope that the meds you are taking help. I’m glad you are going to see an ENT.

      You might need to explain to your husband that you are not faking it. Maybe he should read some of the posts/comments on this page. Good luck.

  121. Larissa Sharpe

    I recall reading you take magnesium, I forgot why? I did buy some and wondered if it would help my Meniere’s disease. I stopped taking my potassium supplements after reading that it is potassium that increases the fluid in the ear, I believe. I’ve read so much information just trying to figure out my triggers and things that help other people, etc. I am keeping my vertigo journal up-to-date and I believe my diet changes have helped too.

    1. johanna Post author

      I take magnesium because it’s part of my calcium supplement. You do want to figure out the right balance of salt/potassium for you, because it definitely affects the fluid in your inner ear.

  122. vicky

    I had my first vertigo attack on Friday and it was scary. I called my doctor but got his voice mail so I hung up knowing I was not able to leave a message. He called me back and I could barely get the words our as the attack was still taking place. I was having spinning, my eyes felt like they were jetting back and forth in my head. I was sweating and very nauseous . Yesterday was the day after this all happenened and i could not get my bearing back. I didn’t eat but slept all day until this morning. That’s a lot of sleeping now I feel somewhat ok. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

  123. netmouse

    Vicky, I strongly suggest you go to an ENT doctor and get referral to a rehab therapist for dizziness – vestibular – evaluaton. There are tests and maneuvers that can be done that help solve this problem for a lot of people. You need to know why you had this attack. Some people are helped with a very simple maneuver like the esply head turns that take only minutes to do. There are a number of possible reasons, and you need a doctor to tell you why you had your attack.

  124. Larissa Sharpe

    Yes, you must be evaluated. It could be many different things driving your vertigo attack. I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease in 2008 after a full-year of evaluations/tests. I did not get my first vertigo attack until November of last year. I do not have the eye thing going on, but my body immediately purges everything in my belly simultaneously throwing up and bowel movements. And yes, everything is spinning and complete feeling of out of control. I have no control what goes on and that is scary and awful. Once my body has purged everything, I crawl back to bed and pray for fast sleep. I’m pretty drained and off kilter for at least 24 hours after attack. Make an appointment today for an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor). Take care.

  125. vicky

    Thanks Johanna , my husband was very worried and kept coming into my bedroom waking me up to make sure I was okay. I told him to please leave me alone
    Because I still felt weird. So I slept until yesterday morning. Still a little dizzy but I just pulled through it and managed to fo some laundry. Again thank you

    1. johanna Post author

      Hehe. I understand about the leave me alone business! Do take Larissa’s and Netmouse’s suggestions and go to an ENT. You need to know why you had this attack. You need to prepare for the future.

  126. vicky

    I’m going to see my doctor today and I will ask for a referral to en ENT. Because I don’t want it to happen again. It was to scary. Thank you for your input.

  127. Molly

    I’m only 20 years old, and I had my first vertigo attack two nights ago after working out.
    I have also defecated on myself at work twice. It’s uncontrollable. I have never had any major health issues, and my daughter turns one years old tomorrow.
    I am so young, and I don’t know if I can live with this for the rest of my life. Help.
    I’ve already seen the doctor twice, and he diagnosed me with Vertigo, but he doesn’t know why I’m defecating on myself. He only prescribed me with nausea and dizziness medication

    1. johanna Post author

      Molly, when you have a vertigo attack, you have *no* control over your GI system. None. I also have to poop when I have a vertigo attack. If your symptoms are bad enough, you will lose control over your bladder and anus. You cannot do anything about this. You are not at fault. Your vertigo causes this.

      Your doctor does not know enough to help you. You need to see an ENT or an otoneurologist, pronto. You need to know why you have vertigo. Good luck.

  128. shawna

    Had my first ever vertigo attack and god I didnt know why or what to do. Woke up out of a dream with my eyes zooming across the room back and forth back and forth which felt so fast and furious so I yelled and closed my eyes turned on my back and just starting sweating like crazy. Felt like I was going to vomit but didnt. I just laid there while the room was spinning. This went on for awhile until I got up and walked to the bathroom very slowly….the only thing that calmed me down was looking out my window when the spinning stopped and I rocked back and forth while I stood there. It just felt good. Not sure how long I stood there for until I climbed back into my bed but at the wrong end closer to the window and slept on my left ear. I didnt wake until noon. This was exhausting and stayed in bed most of the day. I had another one the next morning and then slept most of the day. Had a aching pain in my head and my eyes felt so sore for days. Saw my dr and he said there was nothing wrong with me probably dehydrated and tired. If it persisted to come back. The dizziness went away but I am so tired eveyday. I have another dr appt tuesday but just have no energy at all. I hope this goes away soon.

  129. christine

    I have had my second attack of vertigo my last was about two month ago which was really bad. I have been sat in one position most of the day hoping that it doesn’t turn into a full blown attack. I am scared to lie back in bed as this is when it takes a turn for the worst! Its going to be a long night :(


    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Christine, make sure you stay hydrated. No sugar or salt, so you don’t get sugar or sodium swings.

      I find that some positions are better than others when I lie down. You might want to (briefly) experiment.

      If you are able, call an ENT. You need to understand why you are having attacks. Then, you can do something about it. Good luck, and I hope you sleep it off tonight.

  130. Cori

    Hi Christine, I understand your fear of lying down in bed. I felt exactly the same way after I had experienced a few attacks during the night or waking up in the morning. I felt scared to go to bed at night and was anxious during the day. Only someone who has had vertigo can understand this feeling. I found that sleeping on an incline helped reduce my attacks. I bought a big foam wedge and put my pillow on top of this, so it keeps the upper half of my from lying flat. You still need to try and get a good nights sleep, as being tired makes you feel worse if you are already hazy from an attack. I make sure that everthing I need is next to my bed within hands reach, such as my phone, water bottle and serc tabs, so if I do wake up needing anything I can reach it right away. Even though you probably feel really awful try to manage a small snack and keep having regular drinks of water. Your body will recover quicker if its not running on empty. Hope things are better for you soon.

  131. Marge

    Wow…..I just found this site and though I am so sorry to hear of others vertigo attacks, it is so nice to find
    people that can really truly understand what I go through. I have suffered vertigo off and on for 8 years now.
    I suffer from some really bad attacks. ….life is very difficult…..can never plan anything in advance and travel is out of the question. I did learn a few things today such as the G. I. problems I thought only happened to me, high blood pressure bringing it on as well as too much sugar and salt.
    Here are a few suggestions I find helpful. I keep a trash bag in my glove compartment, in my bed headboard, and anywhere else I may need one for nausea because my attacks can be sudden. Also keep a bag of absorbent kitty litter for an easier clean up if ever needed. Also, I don’t know that it actually helps…but it makes me feel better to have a cold wet wash clothe over my eyes, and an ice bag on my head.
    If anyone has any suggestions to make life easier, I would love to hear them.
    Question…..just before an attack I will get exhilarated “roller coaster” feelings in my chest….does anyone else experience this? Thanks.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Marge, good for you for figuring out what you need to do to stay safe and calm.

      I have never had the roller coaster feelings, but maybe someone else has.

    2. netmouse

      Marge, when ever I hear someone talk (write) about a problem like this with continued suffering, and no mention of any medical investigation, I say GO TO A DOCTOR. An ENT or similar specialist could make a big difference in your life.

    3. Kristin

      Hi there! I have had vertigo for roughly 3 years only now and I am 22 years old. Some weeks ago I finaly had enough and demanded some pills from my dr to help me prevent getting the attacks since it often kept me from going to school or work….

      Have you tried starting on Stemetil? * you get it from your dr* This is what I got.
      It is meant for vertigo, mielles syndrome or labyrinthis. I have used them for 2 weeks now and haven’t had a single attack so far. Good luck to you! I hope you can get rid of it as well!

  132. Marge

    Hi Netmouse……LOL……..I have a cardiologist, ENT, Neurologist and etc……I received more helpful info on this site than from any of them. I have been going to them since this all started. They try different meds but nothing really works so far. (I think they truly want to help me but just don’t have the answers)
    No one has mentioned a otoneurologist before so will try to find one in my area. (thanks Johanna for suggesting one!)
    Oh…..they think I may have Meniere’s Disease but aren’t sure.
    Thank you so much for your interest and reply. Have a great day!

  133. Cheryl

    Hi, there,
    I feel like I just have to get my two cents in here. I went undignosed for several months before I got to the right doctor, an otoneuorologist, who correctly diagnosed me as having migraine associated vertigo. And I *never* had a migraine in my life! You don’t have to have headaches–migraine syndrome consists of many different ailments, from vision and ear problems, to stomach issues, etc. I would highly suggest that you seek out an ear specialist with a lot of experience in diagnosing dizziness and nausea issues. There *are* medications for this that will change your life for the better!
    Take care, and good luck!

  134. Denise

    I was until recently a very active person, then one morning after getting out of the shower my heart rate was beating out of my chest and dizzy, room was spinning. and then the nausea ,dry heaves the worst feeling. I mustered up enough strength to go to work. This went on for a few days. My dr sent me to see a cardiologist thinking it was because of my blood pressure was high. Then one day at work about 2 weeks ago I had an episode that sent me straight to dr who ordered me into bed for a couple of day until they knew what they were dealing with. Rested for a couple of days but no change finally the Dr had a diagnosis VERTIGO. Heard the word didn’t understand what exactly it was. 2 weeks later having episodes just about every day and feeling hopeless. Hoping it goes away soon my life went from extremely active to no existent. I have a wonderful supportive husband but feel like a burden on my family. They keep saying we’ll get through this but I feel isolated and want this to end. Want my life back.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Denise, if you have vertigo, see an ENT. I found relief from meclizine. Other people find relief with Zofran. I hope you read the Seven Things You Can Do to Help Manage Your Vertigo.

      The reason I suggest you see an ENT is that vertigo is a function of an inner ear disorder. No one except an ENT can diagnose or help you manage those disorders.
      Good luck to you.

    2. netmouse

      Many of us see an ENT if a symptom is “dizzy”, who has many tests and specialists to evaluate you. You may be sent for evaluation by a vestibular therapy specialist. Often they can do maneuvers to relocate – get rid of – crystals and such that get into the wrong place in the inner ear. I apparently also had a virus and it took about 3 months of balance exercises. A friend had a benign tumor (seems to be fairly common) and the nerve was actually removed and he is fine now, just has to be careful riding his bike and taking a left turn.

  135. Kristin

    So! I wan’t to write a little about how I changed my everyday life after living with Vertigo for 3 years. Not my ENT nor my DR could see that I have Vertigo but luckily my DR accepted the fact it was this I had. Until recently I started on Stemetil which is meant for Vertigo and it has gone well so far.

    I had huge problems with vertigo and I am only 22 years old! It even worsened when I started on the prevention pills and I got them more often so I had to quit using them and started on minipills which gave me a better reaction. I changed my diet to non sugar and salt intake except for saturdays where I eat little cause it’s saturday and I don’t think I should keep my self 100% away from it either, just recommend people to reduce the intake drasticly! Same goes for coffeine and alcohol, it’s no good for your head!

    Another thing is exercise atleast 3 times a week. Trying to do exercies which does not require much movement on your head.

    But again, the stemetil, I would highly recommend it because before I had problems being clear in my head but after starting taking it with the combination of changing my diet with almost no sugar or salt ” only a little ” it has helped me A LOT and I can think more clearly and I have stopped being afraid to sleep now as well. Best of luck to you others!

  136. Pingback: How Do You Build Your Resilience? | Create An Adaptable Life

  137. Susie

    Your story was so comforting this morning as I’m barely able to sit up after a mild vertigo attack last night. Which BTW I have not had in 2 years as I do my best to stay away from all the things you mentioned. Except the overly salty popcorn oh and of course butter on it last night . I did what you said this time and started drinking slowly of course on water and I was able to keep that down and I know that helped. It is comforting to hear other people’s story, thanks for sharing. I feel bad mentioning mine when yours are so bad. So Sorry. Gotta lay down and get some sleep as I slept in the recliner last night so you can imagine how that went. Feel better. Susie

    1. johanna Post author

      Susie, I’m glad you found this comforting. I no longer eat popcorn (the carbs, the carbs), but I can taste it just based on your description. Hehehe. Good luck recovering from this attack. I hope you feel better.

  138. Sunny Dade

    Had one last night while leaving the hospital after being in the ER with my granddaughter and great-granddaughter. Got to my van and boom! So ended up in the ER myself.
    Got Zofran for nausea, lots of tests and said Vertigo. When I got home I researched for what I can do to alleviate the symptoms and found a video on Youtube by a dr called “The Half Summer Sault. Hope that can help you.
    It is scary when it ladts for 2 hrs!
    Thanks for your post. I have a chronic neck condition, so always thought these episodes were from my neck.
    Wish you the best

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Sunny, thanks for the new ideas. Here are some links: discusses many possible maneuvers. This is the video you referred to:

      You have BPPV, which responds to these maneuvers. Those of you with the crystals in the wrong place–all those maneuvers are possibilities for you. My primary problem is oscillopsia, I don’t do the exercises because they can cause me to have a vertigo attack. Yes, there is a catch-22 there. I take baclofen and that manages my oscillopsia quite well.

    2. netmouse

      Beware that half somersault video! You need to be evaluated to know if you even have BPPV. There are very different head maneuvers depending on your condition and where some crystal might have migrated to if you do have BPPV. It took me a couple of weeks to get to an ENT doctor who then referred me to a vistibular physical therapist to evaluate and diagnosis me. Because of the delay I read on the internet about some maneuvers to try. The epley maneuver seems most common where you bend your head way back over the edge of a bed or table, and that really helped. Still waiting for an appointment I saw that video with the half somersault where you bend the opposite direction – forward. It really REALLY made things FAR worse for me, and I now know it was the wrong maneuver when I was finally evaluated. After dong the forward half somersault I ended up staggering around the house like a drunken sailor, needing to hold onto walls and chairs to get from room to room. So scary. Then when I lay down I got the “crazy eyes” that I did not have before – where the eyes shift rapidly back and forth so fast and don’t seem to stop so I was blind and very frightened. I re-did the epley maneuver hoping that would roll any crystals back the right direction. One video said to hold your head in each position 2 minutes, not 30 seconds, so I was very slow letting things roll out of the wrong place. That made things so much better and I stopped staggering like a drunk when I walked. Each night when I lay down the crazy eyes happened, each night getting a bit better, and after about a week my eyes stopped the rapid shifting. I recommend get a proper evaluation and do not try any of the many maneuvers, as if you choose a wrong one not meant for your condition, you can really screw yourself up.

  139. Michele

    I had my first attack about 2 months ago. I got up in the morning, let the dogs outside, turned around and everything started to spin like I was going to faint. Then I was in the bathroom dry retching cause there was nothing in my stomach. Everything was spinning, I crawled to the toilet and kept retching, then started sweating along with the spinning, lied on the cold tiles closed my eyes and kept puking. Husband called an ambulance, I couldn’t move, went to hospital, lots of anti-nausea drugs, kept dry-retching and keeping my eyes closed as everything spinned and the light hurt my eyes. 6 hrs later I just wanted to go home. Layed in bed for a week barely eating and just sleeping. Couldn’t watch TV, check my phone, read or do anything. Took about 3 weeks till I felt semi normal. Never had this before and really don’t want it again. Very scared.

    1. johanna Post author

      Michele, did you see an ENT to discover the cause? Your attack sounds like my first vertigo attack. Although, I think with the meds, I was up at about day 3. I didn’t drive for several weeks, though. Horrible, isn’t it?

  140. Michele

    No I didn’t. I think also by day 3 I was starting to move about more, however very minimally and things would totally exhaust me. This experience wasn’t pleasant to say the least.

  141. Anna

    Hi fellow suffers! A lifer here ha ha.. 20 years! My first attack happened when I was 20 after a very windy day at the beach.. I suffered severe spinning upon head movement and was convinced I was dying (what the hell is THIS) .. I had recently lost my Mother violently so I was suffering from PTSD exasperating everything.. I spent the next few years frequenting the doctors surgery (office) every 3/4 months only to be told I needed to get a hobby! Back in those days my attacks were unpredictably predictable! Every 3/4 months with up to a years remission.. I saw various ENT’s all with no diagnosis (idiopathic).. Then 4 years ago I had a particularly violent attack and the behaviour of my vertigo changed! I had a cluster of attacks over the next few months with increased frequency and once experienced 3 attacks on consecutive days which caused extreme panic and depression.. Then another years remission… Then when it came back the behaviour changed again… Increased frequency but far milder attacks.. Instead of severe rotary spinning I’m having more of a wooshy, blurry, muzzy sensation (how hard this is to describe).. My balance is awful always and I struggle to look above eye level.. I’m constantly checking to see if the beast is there and I often wonder if people are thinking what the hell is she bending over and tipping to the sides during dinner/at the theatre/in the supermarket.. I had an attack this morning the third this month and found myself wondering which was worse – these milder attacks with more frequency or the more severe attacks that were less frequent! Just before bed this evening I went to get out of the chair and there it was! The SECOND time in ONE DAY.. the blood rushed to my face and I felt overwhelmed with horror.. 2 in 1 day is very unnerving despite the milder sensations.. I feel depressed, bitter, scared and exhausted.. Mostly I feel alone.. Even if you meet someone who suffers each persons experience is so different!.. In 20 years this is my first entry on a forum! I paid 100’s of pounds to see a private consultant 2 years ago and I’m still left with an idiopathic diagnosis although she suspects I damaged my ear at the beach.. I’m convinced I have Meneres but they won’t even entertain it without the triad of symptoms!.. I normally cope very well but today I feel like driving off a cliff! I wonder whether the increased frequency and much milder symptoms are the result of the ear being fried and the brain compensating.. Strange after 20 years!.. Thanks for listening x

  142. Anna

    Sorry I would just like to add something if I may? Was very late last night when I wrote my comment! For the longest time I was convinced that the symptoms I was experiencing between acute attacks were psychological.. There was so little information about vertigo that was of any use and my doctor was quite happy for me to go along with the ‘in my head’ diagnosis.. So I fought my symptoms. I spent years trying to ignore their presence instead of adapting my life to be more comfortable.. Now I’m happy to say I have accepted my condition and I don’t force myself to go on fairground rides, ice skate and clean high shelves at an angle! It’s not a phantom .. The unsteadiness, the veering into the person walking next to me, the awful balance (lifting one leg to put on a shoe and hopping about like a circus performer) the constant muzzy head, dizziness when turning your eyes to the side quickly, looking into the sky at planes, tipping forward to wash your hair, trying to walk in the dark, washing your face in the sink with eyes closed (oh how hard your vestibular system struggles with that) the sudden acute dizzy attack when you’re staring into space, driving around roundabouts (although I find driving per ce greatly DECREASES my symptoms I have no idea why) turning around in a circle quickly when someone says ‘quick look’ feeling like your going to fall over when you just tip your head down and look at the floor or in your bag, always having to know where you are in space with a million different anchor points.. NOT IN MY HEAD at least not in the sense they are alluding to.. I have lost so many years to this condition and I think it’s set to stay for good.. Although as I said previously the behaviour of the acute attacks has changed drastically.. Much more frequent but generally far milder.. The daily struggles are the same.. Love to you all x

    1. netmouse

      Anna, yes I felt fine driving, too. You need to see an ENT doctor and get tests and evaluation by a vistibular pt who specializes in these symptoms.

    2. johanna Post author

      HI Anna, I may be able to shed a little light on why you feel better when you drive. When you hold onto the steering wheel, you increase your proprioception (where you are in space). When I drive, my head does not drop down forward or go back, so I am in the “neutral” plane for my semicircular canals. The same might happen to you. You have a respite from your vestibular system trying to keep up.

      I have a difficult enough time brushing my teeth. I cannot imagine tipping my head forward for anything. I don’t have enough balance to lift one leg off the floor and try to put on a shoe.

      I prefer the milder attacks :-) I had to see an otoneurologist to discover more information. My ENT was not equipped to deal with my problems. You probably did not have an MRI after your first attack, so you don’t know what the inside of your inner ear looks like. If you had a hemorrhage, that data is long gone.

      You are correct–everyone’s experience is different. Best wishes for living with your vertigo and making accommodations in your life, rather than trying to fight it.

  143. Anna

    Thank you for the replies :) .. Oh that explanation for the reduction in symptoms whilst driving is perfect! It’s often bothered me as you wonder if it can be harnessed in some way! I think we all kind of walk and sit bolt upright don’t we!? I have seen several ENT’s and a very expensive consultant.. 2 years ago I had a hearing test which was normal and an MRI which was normal .. It amazes me how slow medical science is to catch up with such a common condition. Unless I’m vastly mistaken there are really been nothing new in 20 years!..

  144. cheryl

    Hi, Anna,

    My dizziness issues started almost two years ago after my daughter (age 39 at the time) had Hodgkins’ Lymphoma. It was a very stressful time for me. I was totally housebound for over four months. The only time I got out was to see yet another doctor. I finally got the right one! After all was said and done, my “dizzy doc” told me I had migraine associated vertigo–never had the migraine headache, just the vertigo. She put me on 800 mg of magnesium and 400 mg of Vitamin B-2 (not to be confused with-12!) Also, she added Nortriptyline (Pamelor) an old antidepressant, a low dose diuretic, and cyproheptadine (an old antihistamine). She gradually increased the dose of Nortriptyline from 10 to 40mg. All of this seems to be working wonders for me. I am dizzy sometimes, and foggy headed, but not near to the extent I was before the meds. I had to discover on my own what my triggers were–mostly lack of sleep, too much sodium.
    So, there *is* help out there! This doc I am going to is an ear specialist who is quite familiar with my problem. Hopefully, you will find the one who can make sense of all of your symptoms.

    Take care, and good luck,


  145. netmouse

    EXCELLENT article on Vertigo “A Turn for the Worse” by David Noonan in the August issue of Scientific American. My HP printer’s scan is not working right now after I upgraded my PC to Windows 10. Your library should have this magazine, my county library is bigger than the local library. Interesting future medical possibilities for those that have not found help so far.

      1. netmouse

        Yes, this is the same article with a different title. Maybe when it was published in the August issue the title changed then.

        I did a search at their website, using your link, for “vertigo” and found a few more articles that sound very interesting and a video. Haven’t read them yet.

  146. Jessica

    It gives me comfort that other people know what vertigo feels like and what I go through. I get these attacks about every 3 months and they feel exactly as you described. What happens to me every time is I will wake up from a deep sleep suddenly and the room is completely spinning. Then I start getting the saccades you mentioned where about every 20 seconds my eyes move upwards suddenly causing my dizziness to increase. When I get the saccades, it makes me naseous and I start to vomit, which I have no control over, nor do I have any control over the saccades and it is a horrible feeling and sensation. Usually for me the only way to stop it is to fall asleep, which takes awhile due to how uncomfortable I feel. Once I wake up I do feel better, however, I feel extremely weak and do not have an appetite. I have told my doctor about this but she just checks my eyesite, and my eyesite is 20/20 so it is not the problem. I am 17 years old, and even though I only get it about every 3 months, it stops me from doing activities or attending school that day. Is there anything I can do to cope with it? Is there anything you do that makes you feel better during an attack? Thank you so much for posting this because it made me feel much better knowing other people know the feeling since my parents cannot understand what I am feeling. Thank you!

    1. johanna Post author

      Jessica, I also use sleep to recover from my attacks. The real question is why do you have the attacks? Have you seen an ENT or an otoneurologist? A general physician is not equipped to tell you what is wrong.

      The saccades have nothing to do with your eyesight, although I agree, you can’t see anything with the saccades. The saccades are telling you, “Something is wrong” with your inner ear. I hope you see an ENT or an otoneurologist if you have not already.

    2. netmouse

      Jessica, so sorry you keep having this. I experienced it, but fortunately temporarily. I had the extreme dizziness when I awoke one day. For me it was probably a combo of virus and a crystal that moved to the wrong place, and I had 3 months of rehab, tests, etc and today am well. Before I could get an ENT doctor appointment I used the internet to learn. I found various head moving maneuvers to move crystals back to where they belonged. I now know I did a wrong maneuver and bent forward in a half somersault and slowly rose myself up. I started staggering like a drunk sailor when I stood, when I lay down the “crazy eyes” began shifting right and left and would not stop. This was a week after the dizziness began, so was a new symptom caused by the maneuver and seems to be crystals moving into the wrong place. I closed my eyes which helped some after a while. I tried the maneuver that moved my head the opposite way backwards and that really helped. So moving crystals to a different place made a great deal of difference for me. For the next week every time I lay down I had the “crazy eyes”, that got better each day and after a week was gone. It took working with a physical therapist who specialized in vestibular disorders to help determine the best “moves” for me. Good luck.

      1. netmouse

        What I also learned is that the PT watches your eyes very careful when moving you and your head around, evaluating you for any vestibular disorders. The eyes are very telling in how they move or not. The “crazy eyes” can move in different directions depending on what is wrong (assumed a crystal moved to a wrong place, and there are several possible places they can move to). This tells the PT how to treat you and which head or other movements will work for you. There is also a test(s) that an ENT doctor can prescribed and you may be given an appointment with a specialist who tests you in various ways while you sit in a chair, moving you and your head around and again very carefully watching your eyes, – this is all recorded for evaluation and history of your medical problem. I also was given hearing tests by an auditory specialist as hearing damage can be very telling, and had a special brain MRI that emphasized the area for the ears that can also indicate any lesion or tumor in the brain. As I told my ENT after, I was very happy to learn at age 67 that my brain is normal – so there is a big plus from the tests as well.

  147. John

    I am 45 and was on vacation back in Feb and got sick, had to be taken to hospital by ambulance because I couldn’t stand up. At the hospital I was diagnosed with Vertigo. I spent 10 days in hospital. It has been 5 months and I still have episodes where feel like things are moving and dizzy and nauseous. Has anyone else had this for this long and will it go away? I have seen my PCP an ENT and 2 Nuerologists and they all say the same thing, “you have to wait it out!” How long is the wait????

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi John, Hmm. My otoneurologist told me I was supposed to adapt to my inner ear hemorrhage in about 8 weeks. He thought I “wanted” to have vertigo. I didn’t hit him, but it was close.

      If you have labyrinthitis, you may have several months of episodes. Did anyone tell you that was your diagnosis?

      If you have Meniere’s Disease, you will continue to have spells of vertigo until you lose your hearing. Meniere’s is no fun.

      If you don’t have a diagnosis yet, get another neurologist. I recommend two kinds of neuros: an otoneurologist who is an ear neurologist, and/or a neuromuscular neurologist. Yes, they deal with diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s, ALS, and other motor neuron diseases. None of them are good news. On the other hand, except for ALS, you can take meds for a long time that manage your symptoms.

      You need a diagnosis. No one needs to be a medical mystery. Waiting for 5 months is long enough. Find another doctor.

      My best wishes to you.

    2. netmouse

      Have the ENT doctor prescribe getting an evaluation with at a rehab center where PT’s specialize in vestibular disorders. If you haven’t had this nor the tests I’ve posted just above, then go to a major metropolitan area – city where there is better medical help. You can get pointed to a good ENT by a major hospital that lists a department for vestibular disorders as something they treat.

        1. johanna Post author

          +1 from me. Vestibular therapy didn’t do much for me, except I learned to yank in my core and my glutes. That really helps with standing straight. (It was a side effect of everything else I did.) I can take a shower without a handicapped bar, which is a pleasure. However, I am a strange case. You are probably not like me!

  148. John

    I was diagnosed with labyrinthitis vertigo. Meniere’s was ruled out. I am seeing another Neuro next week to do testing for MS (cross your fingers its ruled out) I have done ALL of the testing that can be done when it comes to vertigo according to a ENT Dr. from University of Pitt. I live in Pittsburgh. All therapy did was make my legs hurt. They focused on balance so much that my legs hurt, I am not in horrible shape but after therapy I couldn’t walk the next day. They focused on balance so much so I felt it was not helping because what good is it if I was down for a day or 2 afterwards. And I let the PT know but said this is what we need to do. I do my own therapy now. Even my Dr. doesn’t seem to think I need therapy now as its not a balance thing, its something else. Doesn’t sound right as vertigo is about balance. When I wake up in the morning I know what kind of day I am going to have. The past 3 days were bad days. Havnt had 3 bad days in a row for a long time. Thanks for all of the help. When this is going on it makes you think its just you. I mean I never even heard of Vertigo before. I had a parasite in my intestines about 6 years ago that almost put me out and didn’t think that would ever happen. I am just waiting for me to come down with the Black Plague at this point! :)

    1. netmouse

      John, Sorry you are having such problems. Pitts, PA is a good city for medical help, good you are not in the boonies. Best of luck getting to the bottom of this.

  149. Larissa Sharpe

    Johanna, I’ve been meaning to ask you how many miligrams of Magnesium you take. I currently take 250 and I’ve been feeling better. But I must be sure to take my Vitamins, ALLERGY PILL and when I start feeling like – “Oh crap… we go” ….I immediately take a Sudafed – the one you have to get behind the pharmacy desk – not on the shelf. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with Meniere’s but it is remarkable to me how following a better (Johanna’s rules) have helped me. No caffeine, low sodium and getting Sleep have helped me. Also when attacks are consecutive I go to doc to get dimethecone (spelling?) shots in my ear and that does help for a while. Any other suggestions, ideas that you all have is greatly appreciated.

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Larissa, I take two calcium/magnesium/D tablets in the morning. I get 189 mg Magnesium, 333 mg calcium, and 204 IU of Vitamin D in those two capsules. I take them each morning. I just realized that in my daily multivitamin, I also get 100 mg of Magnesium.

      I am so glad my rules have helped you. Sometimes, it’s hard to know what can help, never mind will help. I think I got those same shots a couple of years ago (4 shots over 2 weeks). They helped me a lot. See this page, I am pretty sure the name of the steroid I got was dexamethasone. I am not positive of that.

      If you really have Meniere’s you might consider the gentamicin injections/pills to kill your inner ear. It’s a one-way procedure. Now that I am on baclofen, my dizziness is much decreased. I still eat quite carefully and get enough sleep. For me, that’s a huge thing.

      It’s difficult to know what to do. Best wishes to you.

  150. Larissa Sharpe

    Thank you Johanna for the supplement info. Yes, they really do make a difference for me. I haven’t lost all the hearing yet in my right ear, but eventually I will. My doc did discuss the procedure with me. Like you said, once done, permanent hearing loss, but no more vertigo. Right now, I’ve been blessed with it being under control. This is a great site and I’m sure many people can benefit from this. Take care!

  151. Dawn

    Such a fantastic site.. Love your posts! I am 46.. Likely peri menopausal. I started having off balance and “shift” episodes earlier this year. I would say May but I’m not sure. But I had one episode at work. I’d been standing up talking a good while. Went and got lunch downstairs.. Came back and had May be half my sandwich and felt off. Lightheaded, marshmallow feet. Unable to focus. I ended up going home, stopping twice to get out of the car to walk around. Get air. Made it home and laid in bed.

    I started having more soon or shifting experiences in late June or so. Given bactrim for suspected UTI.. Took 2 weeks to feel remotely normal. Basically bedridden. Was dealing with kidney stones, hence the UTI. It Was bad. Lying in bed, propped up, cold compress on the back.of my neck helped. I had gotten meclizine and phenergen from.a walk in visit and self medicated.

    Was supposed to have ESWL late August but main stone which was supposedly stuck moved behind l4 so it was cancelled. Finally passed 2 out of 3 stones in late September, early October.

    I have stopped having regular shift etc episodes but still get them very hit or miss. I’ve had two driving which leads to panic attacks. Although the second one I managed well. I finally went to ENT on Thursday because last early Saturday morning I had 4 episodes overnight. Turning my head right to left.. Super quick one rotation spin. Exhausted me.

    ENT did dix hallpike.. WOAHHHHH! I haven’t felt anything like that since I went on the tempest when.I was 10 years old. She did it just once, did not attempt Epley. Took me two hours before I could leave. Drenched, literalky, in sweat. Heavily nauseated.. But no dizziness or vertigo after she stopped the position. I gave myself meclizine first.. Then an hour after a half dose of phenergen. Drove myself to work after 2 hours feeling ok,…but far from good.

    My episodes are brief.. Literally seconds. Are often more a shift than a spin. Like Johanna I track my episodes. I suspect we have similar careers lol. I’m an it project manager and BA, although due to stress and anxiety I’ve left the field.. Long story. Anyway.. I mentioned earlier being possibly peri. I mention this bc in tracking my episodes they are worst a week before my period is due. I usually have two good weeks a month.

    The ENT also confirmed I have TMJ. Bad. On the affected, right, side. She seemed surprised how obvious it was. I notice the more my jaw hurts the more off balance I can be.

    I am supposed to get the epley. But I don’t think it’s wise. My reaction to just the dhp was very violent. The ENT suggests if I do the epley that I am well dosed with ativan or something prior.

    My bet is I will react badly to the Epley. Someone else mentioned the 2 percent. Put me in the club… I typically fit in every low odd thing if I can. When I had my daughter at 35 I had placenta previa.. Complete.. Chronic bleeder. Contractor. 6 weeks in hospital, every drug imaginable, 18 days on magnesium drip (there’s a paper on me somewhere…normal mag rates created pitocin like reactions,.INCREASING my labor.. So I did 18 days on and off over 6 weeks to stop contractions, at max dose. I reached toxic levels 4 days before they took my daughter (at 29 weeks.. Her mag level was half mine). Anyway.. I tolerated it insanely well symptom wise, despite being toxic from.a lab perspective. In 4.5 months I was the only previa patient in a large metro hospital.. Well.. One other woman came in later and I was supposed to talk to her but she hemorrhage and lost the baby. My daughter is 10…your never ever even.think she was an extreme. Not a thing. But like me She’s a two percenter, developing cyclic vomiting syndrome at 18 months old…not diagnosed until she 3…with my telling doctors What it was.

    My point being I’m low odds and my gut is usually right. I don’t want to do the epley. My gut says it will make me worse. My symptoms are manageable. I also suspect that What I have going on is not strictly BPPV.. I have always had a motion problem.. What she triggered is my normal amusement park ride response. Or my general anesthesia or sweet air response. What I’ve been experience is a 20 at worst.. What she did was a 100.

    Thoughts? I’m terrified of making it worse. And I’d be that 5 percent where it moves to another canal or becomes horizontal.. What she did Thursday? I’m still trying to get totally right from today. I just don’t see doing it.

    Can’t BPPV self resolve? Sorry so long and rambly. On my phone since my daughter has possession of the laptop :-(

    1. Dawn

      P.S…..wanted to add.

      1. I think the bactrim was my trigger. What happened in May I think is unrelated. Just a panic attack. The spins and whatnot started with taking the bactrim

      2. I.mention my daughter and CVS because CVS since she had it, is linked to migraines. I suspect I have MAV, triggered by peri menopause. What I understand of migraines, you grow out of, or into them. Like kids who start CVS so young like she did,.will likely outgrow cvs by adulthood.

      1. johanna Post author

        Hi Dawn, I am not sure if BPPV can self-resolve. I have fewer episodes of BPPV now than I did. I credit that to:
        – being aware of what triggers an episode (I am careful of my head positions)
        – falling less often.

        I have not done Hall Pike exercises. For *me*, the Epley was great. You know, if you have had motion problems over a long period of time, I would see an ENT who specializes in dizziness. Or an otoneuerologist (neurologist who specializes in inner ear problems). It’s possible they would call you a medical mystery. Or, they might have a course of action for you to consider.

        1. Dawn

          Hi! I did see an ENT. I’m in northeast CT.. Not a lot of docs here and I’m.on state insurance but he’s the best around supposedly.

          The Dix Hallpike is the first step/move of the Epley. It is what diagnoses BPPV.

          Unfortunately I had a major panic attack just from that, took 2 hours to recover from, so that first step was as far as we got.

          I’ve always had a motion problem. My whole life. But then I’ve been on 9 foot waves on a small ferry and managed it. Not well but didn’t get vertigo or dizzy, just Nauseaus. Amusement park rides cause spinning.

          Terrified to try completing an epley due to the panic. My episodes seem to come mid or just before my period for some reason.

  152. Krystine

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I know exactly how it feels to have that pity party and be terrified of how I am going to handle the dizziness and nonstop nausea as I move up in age. I’m 20 now, and have had bppv since I was a toddler. My pediatrician was quick to credit migraines, but it wasn’t until I ended up in the ER my first semester of college that the doctor told me it was vertigo. I’m not sure why they call it “benign,” because there is nothing small about it. The nonstop dizziness and vomiting takes a real toll on the quality of life.

    1. johanna Post author

      Krystine, I hope that by now you have seen an ENT. You are right. There is nothing benign about BPPV. Although I believe it is called benign because it doesn’t cause other problems, such as cancer.