In a study of persistent dizziness that especially affects seniors, the doctors have developed a booklet of simple exercises. Doctors in the study found that by turning your head right to left and back again or nodding your head up and down led to reduced dizziness within a matter of weeks of starting, and the benefits lasted for at least a year, for those with this common form of dizziness.
The University of Southampton and National Institute for Health Research study recently has been published in the British Medical Journal, according to a July 4, 2012 news release, " Simple exercises are an easy and cost-effective treatment for persistent dizziness." If you have dizzy spells, check with your health care team and see whether you have the type of dizziness that can be helped with the simple nodding or head-turning exercises in the booklet.
Since many seniors often are plagued with dizziness and loss of balance most commonly due to inner ear issues, doctors have developed simple exercises and published them in a pamphlet. The exercises can be done sitting or standing and consist of turning your head to the left and then to the right and nodding your head up and down. Doctors report that this type of exercise can relieve the most common type of dizziness, caused by inner ear problems.
A professor from the University of Southampton has called on doctors around the world to give patients with persistent dizziness a booklet of simple exercises, after new research has shown that it is a very cost-effective treatment for common causes of the condition
Lucy Yardley, who has been researching dizziness for many years, urged family doctors (GPs) at the international WONCA conference held earlier this month on July 5, 2012 to ensure that the booklet is translated so that patients of all nationalities can benefit. Professor Yardley's urgent appeal comes after her study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that the exercises, such as turning your head right to left and back again or nodding your head up and down, led to reduced dizziness within a matter of weeks of starting, and the benefits lasted for at least a year.
It can interfere with people's daily activities and cause stress. It also increases the risk of falling and fear of falling, which in turn, can result in substantial further limitation of activity, injury, and healthcare costs.
Research has shown that an exercise-based treatment known as "vestibular rehabilitation" or "balance retraining" is the most effective means of treating dizziness related to inner ear problems (a very common cause of dizziness). However currently only about one in ten suitable patients are referred for this treatment.
Balance training is used for some inner-ear-related causes of dizziness
During the study, which Professor Yardley will present at the WONCA conference today, more than 300 participants were randomly allocated to receive either routine medical care (commonly just reassurance and medication to suppress dizziness symptoms), booklet based vestibular rehabilitation only, or booklet based vestibular rehabilitation with telephone support from a healthcare professional.
The majority of patients within the study, an NIHR Research for Patient Benefit project, suffered from dizziness due to an inner ear problem. However there were many patients who had undiagnosed dizziness.
Dizziness is a common condition, especially among older people, but it can affect any age
Nearly twice as many patients who had the booklet and telephone support said they felt much better or totally well at the end of the study, compared with those who had routine care. Even without any support, getting the booklet led to better recovery than routine care. Only 5 per cent of patients receiving the booklet with support reported worse symptoms at the end of the study, compared with 15 per cent of those receiving usual care.
Professor Yardley says: "Dizziness can be a frustrating and sometimes frightening condition," according to the news release. "Many people are undiagnosed, have no treatment for it and just learn to live with it. This leads to a low quality of life and can have high healthcare costs. By being given something as a simple as a booklet by their GP, that contains these simple head, neck and eye exercises, many patients will see real benefits in just a few weeks. These easy to understand exercises, which can be carried out at home, have the potential to improve the quality of life for thousands of people."
Simple head, neck, and eye exercises may relieve a common form of persistent dizziness
The University of Southampton worked with the Ménière's Society UK during the study. The Society supplied the exercise booklets used in the study and has been giving them to health professionals and members of the public for seven years.
Natasha Harrington-Benton, UK Director of the Society, comments in the news release, "Dizziness and balance disorders can be extremely debilitating and affect a person's quality of life. This study demonstrates the benefits of vestibular rehabilitation in helping people to manage the symptoms of their condition. We are pleased to be able to provide access to the exercise booklets for both patients and health professionals and, to-date, we have distributed over 8,000 copies."
Another exercise for positional vertigo allows patients to "self apply" at home
You may also want to check out an April 2012 study from a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher in Aurora, CO who suffers from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo recently devised a new exercise that allows patients to "self apply" at home. Check out the April 23, 2012 news release from the University of Colorado Denver, "A comparison of 2 home exercises to treat vertigo."
Also check out the abstract of this latest 2012 study, "A Comparison of Two Home Exercises for Benign Positional Vertigo: Half Somersault versus Epley Maneuver." The CU School of Medicine researcher who had benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and needed to "fix it" before she could go to work one day was at first using a maneuver to treat herself that only made her sicker.
"So I sat down and thought about it and figured out an alternate way to do it. Then I fixed myself and went in to work and discovered a new treatment for this type of vertigo," she explained in the news release. More than seven million people in the U.S. can expect to have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a common vertigo disorder, especially as they age.
The disorder causes more than a quarter of the vertigo experienced worldwide and has a lifetime prevalence of 2.4 percent. This type of vertigo is unusual because it is a purely mechanical disorder in which particles used to sense gravity accidentally enter the spinning-motion sensors of the ear.
The symptoms can be relieved by maneuvers that relocate these particles. After treatment there is a tendency for this accidental particle entry to recur, and treatment is needed each time this happens.
Carol Foster, MD associate professor in the department of Otolaryngology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine devised a new exercise, the Half Somersault Maneuver. It can be used as an alternative to the more common Epley maneuver.
The Epley maneuver is applied by a therapist or doctor
The Epley maneuver is one that is applied by a physician or physical therapist and can be used at home and is effective in approximately 90 percent of cases but these exercises can be hard to self-apply, because they cause severe vertigo during the exercise and require a precise sequence of head movements that usually require an assistant. During these maneuvers, there is also a risk that the particles can be moved into other spinning sensors, resulting in an increase in symptoms rather than improvement.
"The Half Somersault Maneuver however reduces this risk while allowing the particles to be quickly relocated without the need for an assistant. Our research team compared the Epley maneuver to the Half Somersault Maneuver when used as a home exercise," Carol Foster, MD explained in the news release.
The half somersault maneuver
"Both exercises were able to relieve symptoms of the disease. Patients reported less dizziness and had fewer complications when self-applying the Half Somersault Maneuver. Because the exercise is able to be performed by most people with the disease, its home use should result in considerable savings in health care costs both for consumers and health plans" Foster says in the press release.
This study compares the two procedures and has been accepted and will be published in the new online open-access journal, Audiology and Neurotology Extra, a subjournal of the prestigious Karger publication, Audiology and Neurotology. Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care.
In the latest study, during the 6-month follow-up, the Epley group had significantly more treatment failures than the half somersault group. Researchers believe, according to the study's abstract, that both exercises can be self-applied to control symptoms, but the half somersault is tolerated better and has fewer side effects as a home exercise.
These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, Children's Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Degrees offered by the CU Denver School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies. The School is located on the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit our online newsroom.
Vitamins, lower sodium intake, and nutritional adjustments for vertigo
Reducing your salt intake has been found to be helpful in stopping vertigo, Meniere’s disease, and migraines, along with a regimen of vitamins, minerals, and fish oils. After your doctor has determined that your vertigo, Meniere’s disease symptoms, and/or your migraines are not caused by tumors or aneurysms or any other condition that needs surgical repair, you can choose between standard treatments or supplements of vitamins and minerals.
A series of tests will tell you whether you have Meniere's Disease, or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Meniere's Disease and BPPV are the two most common causes of vertigo.
While one can be mistaken for the other, they are different diseases with different symptoms and different treatments. Sometimes migraines can be one cause of vertigo. View the PDF file article, "Treating Vertigo in the Office."
According to articles from as far back as 1937, doctors were studying the effects of vitamins and minerals on vertigo, Meniere’s disease, and migraines. See (1937). Abstracts. The Journal of Laryngology & Otology, 52 , pp 783-799 doi:10.1017/S0022215100044170.
Also see, in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology 1975 Jul-Aug;84(4 Pt 1):513-7. “Conservative management of Méniére's disease: Furstenberg regimen revisited.” Albert C. Furstenberg developed and promoted the Furstenberg regimen of a low-sodium diet and diuretics.
Méniére's symptoms and the low-sodium diet
The Annals of Otology study reviews twenty years' experience at the University of Michigan with 500 consecutive patients suffering from symptoms of Méniére's disease. The Furstenberg regimen of a low-sodium diet has been satisfactory in relieving the most disturbing symptoms of Méniére's disease in the vast majority of cases and often in patients that have failed other treatment programs.
The success of the Furstenberg conservative management program has been largely dependent upon the strict adherence by the patient to that specific professionally prescribed, low-sodium diet.
Doctors usually prescribe along with the low-sodium regimen, a high complex carbohydrate diet, omega 3 fatty acids from fish oils and flaxseed oils, and doses of niacin, multiple minerals, including magnesium, along with other B-complex vitamins, and vitamins C, A, and E.
Migraine-caused vertigo symptoms & spasms of blood vessels?
Medical professionals noticed that migraines which may be caused by spasms of blood vessels in your head might also be connected to Meniere’s syndrome symptoms and vertigo. Migraines, vertigo, and Meniere's symptoms--all three--might be brought on by spasms of blood vessels located in your inner ear.
Treatment that might control those blood vessel spasms seems to be similar for vertigo, migraines, and Meniere’s disease symptoms. Research and diet-based remedies with additional nutritional supplements continue to be studied.
Let’s say you have a migraine. The same factors also might be responsible for your repetitive bouts of vertigo. As for Meniere’s disease, the symptoms include vertigo, hearing loss that comes and goes, and tinnitus, which is ringing or buzzing in the ears.
The person may complain of fullness in the affected ear. Then headaches and/or nausea develop. What’s happening, according to doctors, is that the affected ear’s inner canal is filling with a fluid called endolymph.
In Meniere’s, the attack begins with loud ringing or roaring and buzzing in the affected ear. Then comes the sensation of pressure inside the ear, as if the ear is stuffed up or clogged. Within a few hours, usually at night or when the person lies down, there’s a sudden onset of severe vertigo, but in Meniere’s the vertigo is accompanied by a loss of hearing in the affected ear. The dizziness may last for hours. And there may be nausea and vomiting.
Sometimes the symptoms occur frequently and last for weeks or months. Then the symptoms disappear for months or years at a time. Other times the attacks are intermittent, coming at going at unexpected times. Other times, if the person with these symptoms can sleep, the symptoms might disappear when the individual awakes.
When standard treatment fails, patients turn to natural solutions. Those natural solutions include seeing a nutrition-oriented physician specializing in ear problems. The physician should have experience treating Meniere’s successfully with vitamin B3 (niacin) and other B complex vitamins as well as vitamin C, fish oils high in Omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamins A and E.
One daily regimen calls for supplements that include magnesium, ground flaxseeds, fish oils, multiminerals, niacin three times daily, vitamin B complex, and vitamins A, E and C. The vitamin dosages are not very high. But the vitamin B complex needs to be taken together. The vitamins are taken along with a high complex carbohydrate diet. What happens is that vitamin B3 (niacin) puts a damper on the spasms. Magnesium also helps control the blood vessel spasms.
You can’t go overboard and take higher vitamin dosages assuming that they will work correctly. So ask your doctor how much you should take. You only need about 200 mg of magnesium three times a day. And the 50 mg vitamin B complex works well.
You don’t need any high dosages of vitamins that could impair your nervous system. The usual recommendation of niacin is 200 mg, three times a day, but again, ask your doctor. Too much niacin damages your liver. You need to tailor the amounts to your individual body.
For Meniere’s disease, causes attributed to the symptoms of the disease include not only blood vessel spasms but also calcification, aspartame (known cause), MSG, HVP, Cysteine (known cause), HSV-1 virus (this is the facial herpes virus that causes cold sores and non-genital herpes. The virus may or may not be a cause. Food allergies or lack of lipase enzyme also may be probable causes.
You have to distinguish between only the symptoms of Meniere’s disease and having been diagnosed with the actual disease. If you have been diagnosed with the actual disease, then you need to find out whether it is due to nerve degeneration or other causes. See the Proposed Natural Treatment for Meniere’s Disease site for further details about causes and natural remedy information.
There are so many possible causes of Meniere's, vertigo, and migraines that have been studied to see whether there is a connection between all three, that you and your doctor need to work together to find out which cause applies to your own situation. Diet changes have been shown to work in the various medical studies you’ll find in the scientific journals under the key words, "research on natural treatment for migraines, Meniere's, and vertigo."
The latest scientific news to date is that possibly all three are caused by blood vessel spasms. But the research continues.
Fluid in the ear imbalance
A change of amount or type of fluid in the ear causes an imbalance. The inner ear is not able to function. You could have problems keeping your balance in walking. At this point you have a choice between standard treatment and nutritional treatment.
You’ll have to decide whether to try the nutrition, mineral, vitamin, and fish/flax oil approach or go with standard drugs, which include the anti-vertigo medications, sedatives, anti-nausea drugs, specific blood-pressure medications, and surgery for severe cases. If you decide to try the nutritional approach first, at least you have the backing of the studies in medical journals that have been shown to prevent and reduce those attacks.
Meniere's, migraine, and vertigo connections?
Interestingly, similar treatments for migraine, vertigo, and Meniere’s symptoms have been similar diet changes, minerals, and vitamins. Could migraine, vertigo, Meniere’s and other similar inner-ear problems all be connected to the same causes? And if so, could the causes of the three illnesses be blood vessel spasms, allergies, calcification, herpes virus outbreaks, fluid leaking into your inner ear, a deficiency of the B vitamins, fish oils, complex carbohydrates? Or all of the above?
Or could a combination of all the possible causes named for migraines, Meniere’s symptoms, as well as vertigo attacks lead researchers back to similar roots, viruses, or genetic issues that created malformed blood vessels creating the spasms? Continuing scientific and medical studies will connect the clues and help you to tailor your treatment to your own body’s needs.