Why Doctors Dismiss Dizziness

It’s one of the most common medical complaints, but patients say many doctors don’t take it seriously.

Comments: 188

  1. One of my very good friends suffers from this exact condition -- it's so wonderful and refreshing to see it discussed in the open. Thank you, Brian, for writing this piece.

  2. @David Paul Mr. Paul, Thank you for responding all the way from Germany. I'm wishing the best for your friend and hope my article can help a little.

  3. As a fellow sufferer, Brian, I appreciate your willingness to bring this to light and make your article so personal. As you know, there are good days and bad days -- the "up and down" that is all-too-closely aligned with this syndrome/illness/malady (never sure what to call it).

  4. @Andy I so appreciate this note. As you know, we live in a very frustrating world of ambiguities.

  5. I look forward to reading your book Brian and thank you for writing about it from a personal perspective and including a character in your book living with it. @Andy Syndrome/illness/malady says it perfectly. I have been dealing with this for over 8 years, but I am fortunate in that I can manage my day to day activities, with some lifestyle changes. I am part of an online community living with the vestibular issues. What I have learned for sure is that it is a shape shifting, sneaky, cruel and nasty disorder. While many doctors need to better understand it I have found help from vestibular physio. Also this website by VeDA https://vestibular.org/

  6. @Valerie Parr Thanks so much. I very much look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  7. It's coming up on year two after being diagnosed with vestibular neuritis(VN). I still struggle with feeling dizzy or brain foggy. When walking I feel like in another world. The brain will re-compensate over time but not entirely in my case. Not yet anyway. I have met people who have been going through this for ten years. I just live with it now. Some days are good. Others, so so. I have found that alcohol is a trigger as is strenuous exercise. Recently, I have experimented with stopping my statin meds. Not much difference. The inner ear is a most misunderstood organ. A lot of my friends suffer from tinnitus along with dizzy feelings. I suggest learning how to follow some simple exercises that can help alleviate some of these symptoms.

  8. I could not have written it better. This mirrors everything that I have experienced. Six doctors, MRIs, CAT scans, etc. and no cures. The doctors keep fiddling with my meds which leads to a recurrence of problems that the meds were prescribed for. I have gone to balance specialists and that was worthless. Most MDs think they have the answer but, in the end, there is no answer. This is like a dog chasing its tail. WEe just have to deal with it as best as we can.

  9. @Charlie So happy the article resonated with your experiences. I know how lonely this stuff can be.

  10. Could it be vestibular migraines? By definition if tests don’t show anything migraine has to be considered... I would read a book about migraines to see if all the symptoms fit the picture. I found that I occasionally had even aura with mine, but the doctors had been incapable of explaining what aura looks like and I said I don’t have that... 35 years - since being a teenager- without a diagnosis! Only last year got properly diagnosed and I now control all my symptoms with diet.

  11. It may not be a comfort to you but any symptom that can’t be diagnosed via a test is usually dismissed as “stress.” I had exactly one incidence of vertigo (30+ years ago) and can say with certainty that the inability to keep your head off the floor is a debilitating problem. I did not fully understand vertigo before that incident, maybe doctors, while educated, remain ignorant for lack of first hand experience.

  12. @SW : +1000. Unless you've had it, you can't really relate to it. I had a bout of vertigo last year that was so bad that I could only crawl (not walk) to the bathroom to throw up. The fear that it would never go away was almost as debilitating as the vertigo itself. Fortunately, mine did go away after a few weeks. Also fortunately, I had a pre-existing relationship with a neurologist who did not dismiss my symptoms as a psychological problem. She referred me to a physical therapist who specilizes in vestibular disorders. Prior to that, I didn't know such practitioners existed. Now, because I have a pre-existing relationship with the PT guy, I can go straight there next time I have an episode and skip the doctor altogether.

  13. Virtual reality glasses could help doctors and others ‘understand.’ Also, why are they allowed to bill you for not doing anything? (Seems like reinforcing lazy/bad behavior.) Frankly, other than checking blood pressure, pulse & oxygen levels (which a nurse or assistant actually does) then checking my lungs & thyroid (which the doctor does), I could just call the visit in. The doctor spends almost all the visit at the computer, documenting. If you have a problem & they pass it off without even trying to figure it out, doing research, etc., do they even deserve their fee?

  14. I have a neighbor in her 80"s who recently developed this condition . She went to excellent hospitals where doctors but frequently mentioned said "you are old so what can you expect!". Also if you substituted undiagnosed illness for dizziness in your article you'd find that it matches perfectly. when doctor's are unable to diagnosis an illness and there are few signs(something doctor can see) then the experience you have had is exactly the same as anyone suffering from an illness not found with testing. Doctor's in general seem to unable to accept that not everything shows up on a test . They prefer to push the person to believe they have psychological problems especially women. I wish they could learn to say "we just don't know " . When doctos dump the illness back n the patient by saying it is psychological they add misery and do harm. When they said this to my neighbor she wisely responded that it would be wonderful if it were psychological because that would be treatable.

  15. So, “it’s not depression or anxiety but it responds to antidepressants/anxiolyitics!” Makes sense...

  16. @Robert Frustrating, but correct. These antidepressants/anxiolyitics are blunt instruments that treat far more disorders than their name suggests.

  17. @Robert I sense a level of disdain in your comment (I could be mistaken) as if "this is all just anxiety and depression -- get over it." Anxiolitic and anti-depressant medications work for some and not all and have very complex effects on the brain chemistry. By dampening the signals in the brain the dizziness for some is reduced which may or may not having anything to do with underlying anxiety. Unless you've spent a ton of time looking at this issue (and I know I and many others similarly affected have), you'd be well advised to tread carefully.

  18. @Andy Well-explained. Thank you.

  19. If anyone has follow-up questions or personal comments, feel free to reach out to me through twitter or email (address on my website).

  20. As a fellow sufferer of many years, with much the same story Mr. Platzer describes, one of the best treatments I found (which worked on and off, admittedly) was called the Epley Maneuver : Check the Johns Hopkins medical website for details.

  21. I have been diagnosed with Meniere's disease which flares up and then goes away for months. It has symptoms of vertigo and nausea which can completely debilitate you. I have preventive medications which include a diuretic and another rather expensive drug as well as sleeping pills and anti nausea medications. It is a frightening experience when I have attacks which can occur when I am driving or otherwise engaged . I have to pull over and call for help as I would lose my license if I ever were caught driving under this condition. I believe it was caused by a bad fall I had about five years ago but the neurologist and ear nose and throat specialist says it can just occur in anyone. I am supposed to avoid alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, stress. The Epley maneuver doesn't work for me but it is supposed to be an inner ear problem. The MRI also didn't find anything.

  22. @Barbara Greene Meniere's has had me several times in my life, but cleared up, completely, usually within a month, and the worst of it extended for no more than a week, I think it may have been related to some infections and or allergic reactions. When it hits -- and it can as you noted come on unexpectedly - you cannot get your bearings, cannot walk, forget about driving. I am very suspicious about being told it's from stress. It generates stress, however. I do not believe chocolate or caffeine was a factor, but obviously, alcohol use can affect balance - and probably susceptibility to infection. I'd be wary of using sleeping bills because of their "side effects" which can amplify fogginess and affect balance.

  23. @Barbara Greene and cheryl, I am so sorry that you both have suffered with Meniere’s. My mom has it, too, and for some time before the diagnosis she found it was wrecking her life. She had been prescribed Meclizine (Antivert), which left her bedridden and zombie like for a day after taking a pill. Finally, she found an ENT Doctor who diagnosed her and suggested proactive steps to avoid the spells, like reducing salt and cutting out caffeine, which helped. The provider also prescribed something helpful but milder than the Antivert, should she feel dizzy. The hearing loss my mother experienced from Meniere’s isn’t reversible, unfortunately, but she has her life back. I wish you both well. Take care.

  24. This is incredibly helpful. A retired physician friend suggested that my dizziness might be related to migraines. This seemed plausible to me, and I raised the possibility with my ear specialist doctor, but he dismissed it as nonsense. This doctor never talked to me about my symptoms, he just looked at his test results and was impatient of anything I would say. I really felt unheard. The link you posted to vestibular migraines is incredibly exciting to me. I don't know if this is what I have, but it gives me more tools for pursuing a diagnosis. Thank you!!

  25. @WW You need a "dizziness" specialist doctor - they can come from ENT, neurology, etc. - but not that guy. Vestibular Migraine has been around for quite a while. Not knowing that seems like malpractice per se.

  26. I also had decades of undiagnosed dizziness- in various forms. Sudden vertigo attacks, endless episodes of seemingly BPPV, or simple dizziness and nausea for days/weeks at a time. Finally a smart neuro diagnosed vestibular migraines. I could not believe that it took 35 years to arrive at such a simple diagnosis. I now control these migraines completely through diet and lifestyle- I used the information and protocol described in the book “Fighting the migraine epidemic “ by Angela Stanton. I totally recommend the book and the diet- I. It only prevents migraines from happening, but should one come anyway, I know how to turn it around using just food, water and salt.

  27. @WW I would strongly recommend getting in touch with Dr Gerard Gianoli at the Ear & Balance Institute in Covington, LA. Even if it's just to email to get an opinion. I live in Scotland, but I travelled to him for treatment, and he is streets ahead of all the many other ENT doctors I saw in the UK. A real ear and balance specialist with years of experience.

  28. Thanks for this article. Glad you got to the root of your dizziness. In my case, it's an acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma), benign tumor, that impacts my balance and is the cause of my dizziness. You identify a number of things we all should follow. Find a great doctor to diagnose (it can take some time and energy). Become informed -- read all you can. Ask questions. You know yourself best -- be in tune with your own body. Keep a positive attitude. Take your meds. Follow-through with PT. Seek support -- professional/family/friends. Repeat. Repeat again.

  29. Had a dizziness problem a couple of years ago. Went to emergency. Found nothing. Made the rounds of all the specialists. Found nothing. A month or so later, it went away. Back in Dec, began experiencing the same problem again. Periodic mild dizziness/lightheadedness, even while sitting. Feels a bit like motion sickness. Didn't waste my time going to the MD's again. What do MD's spend so many years studying before they can even get their license? So many just waste your time and aren't any help at all!

  30. @Joseph “Dizziness” isn’t the only problem that physicians have to study in medical school or in their residencies.

  31. @Joseph I would urge you to read my story in 'A Hole in My Life. Battling Chronic Dizziness' (on Amazon) I think it would help to see all the possible reasons for your dizziness, and also the many different experiences I had with doctors to get my diagnosis. It's an easy read but very carefully researched.

  32. @WBS This is true, but in my 35 years as an emergency physician and teacher of vertigo for the past 20 years, it is one of the most poorly understood and taught subjects in all of medicine.

  33. Dizziness causes anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t cause dizziness. I explain it to people this way: Imagine that sensation you get when you trip and are about to fall. That panicky feeling when your adrenaline rushes and your heart rate increases. Now imagine feeling that way constantly. Dizziness forces our brains in overdrive — trying to make sense of where we are. Always being in fight or flight mode leaves us feeling exhausted and anxious. Thank you for this article, Brian Platzer. My hope is that more providers treat the root cause, not the symptom.

  34. @Meleah dizziness can and often is a symptom of anxiety and/or chronic stress (over taxed nervous system). Chronic dizziness is often caused by the fear associated with the dizziness and an anxiety pattern/loop is caused. So yes, anxiety and stress can be exclusively the reason for the dizziness.

  35. @tally I believe that the point of Mr. Platzer’s article is to shine a light on people WITH VESTIBULAR DISORDERS being dismissed by healthcare providers who are often poorly trained in these conditions. And yes, being misdiagnosed and undiagnosed certainly will compound anxiety.

  36. @Meleah 100% People say “Oh, you have anxiety.” I say, “you would too if if felt like you were stepping off a 10 story building, the ground was dropping away from underneath you, etc.” Similar to you, I’ve describe it as the feeling you get when you step off the curb without seeing it or when you miss a step on the stairs- that brief moment of panic and terror except it’s with every step.

  37. This is practically my story exactly! So happy to see this article in the NY Times! I look forward to reading the book!

  38. @Pam Thank you! I very much look forward to hearing what you think of the novel, too.

  39. @Pam Thanks so much for reading and responding! Looking forward to your thoughts on the novel.

  40. Thank you Brian for writing about this debilitating condition. It's so important for sufferers to get the right kind of treatment right away, before the subsequent manifestations of panic lead to agoraphobia, a serious condition that can destroy one's social and professional life. I was fortunate, though after endless visits to specialists, to end up at NYU's Vestibular Rehab Center, wo put me on the road to recovery. This was thanks to Dr. Devinsky (head of NYU's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, and who writes for NYT) who put me in touch with them. There is hope, and I wish the best for any sufferers reading this article.

  41. Severe vertigo is dreadful in so many ways — the fear of an unknown cause, when will it end, how can I provide for my family. I had a great Neurologist that found mine was caused by BPPV, hypotension, and low sodium. I did lose consciousness once and ended up having 14 staples in my scalp to close the wound. But after taking Gabapentin for four months, making sure I eat enough salt, stay hydrated, and do my exercises, I feel much better.

  42. In addition to looking for the cause of dizziness, consider vestibular physical therapy to help manage the distressing and debilitating symptoms

  43. @AJB Yes. This is absolutely right. Thanks for adding.

  44. Thank you for bringing to light why some of us suffer in isolation. I have vestibular migraine and PPPD. After a visit with a neuro-optometrist, I was also diagnosed with ocular motor dysfunction where my peripheral and central vision don't work together. We don't know why I got this way, but one of my doctor's suggested my problems stem from post concussion syndrome. I can't handle complex visual stimuli and environments. I have to limit use of screens (phone, computer, TV). I don't drive or go to the movies. And, I limit my time in stores and restaurants. Instead of Xanax, I take Ativan. I would like to add dimension to this dialogue - THE BRAIN FATIGUE is crazy!!!. If I'm not drowsy because of meds, I'm always tired because my brain shuts down as it tries to overcompensate for lacking neuroplasticity.

  45. I have hereditary dizziness. Runs in my moms family. It first struck about 12 years ago. But a glitch came in 2018. I have a Meningioma wrapped around and interfering with my 6 th cranial nerve and it caused paralysis of my lateral rectus muscle. Hence double vision and reason for my long term dizziness. A Neuro ophthalmologist repeated tests done a year before in a hospital. Then the docs said I had a stroke. Misdiagnosed. My eye doc saved me a lot of aggravation. Since the tumor was expressed with double vision I haven’t had a dizzy spell. Mine felt like I was on a “tilt a whirl” ride up to 3 to 4 weeks duration. I now see the neurosurgeon and neuro optometrist and Neuro ophthalmology ,too ,every year for an MRI and prescription prism glasses. So be keen on getting checked head to toe if dizzy a lot. Insist on a contrast MRI or PET scan.

  46. Thank you for pointing out that vestibular disorders create a sense of being unsafe. I just did a presentation in which I suggested using sensory processing treatments to address trauma-induced mental health issues. When you feel unsteady and unbalanced, you have more than a movement problem, you feel unsafe. When you feel unsafe in the world because of trauma, you can use your balance system to help you feel safer and more in control.

  47. It would be interesting to compare and contrast how doctors in countries with a national health system would view/handle cases of dizziness. During my time in Germany, I found that doctors treat an individual holistically and work with you to find the answer, even if the tests don't corroborate your symptoms. In the UK, however, I believe dizziness would not be seen as a threat to your health, and would be ignored by most GP Surgeries (not worth using public funds). I think looking at how countries that view productivity decline as an issue, like Germany, handle dizziness might provide some insight for ways to treat it.

  48. @Andrew You can easily compare between UK and USA by reading the book 'A Hole In My Life : Battling Chronic Dizziness' (Philippa Thomson) The book was very thoroughly researched, and authenticated by two ear and balance specialists.

  49. @Andrew I dont know what Japan's healthcare system is, but they also have an amazingly comprehensive holistic approach to Meniere's. Here in the US I see a neurologist, ENT and my primary care doc (plus 5 other specialists who deal with side effects of the meds, psych, and all of the other things that have gone wrong with my body since vertigo started. It's been over a year and I dont feel close to my previous self. They never communicate with each other except for med changes. I have to get my records to bring to appts to show test results, diagnosis, treatment plans, ect. American healthcare is broken!

  50. @Andrew One has to wonder how many are in nursing homes as of the result of problems that should be fixed without a miracle.

  51. I had dizziness. There were days when it was so bad that I had to hold onto furniture to get across a room. The brain fog made some computer related tasks impossible. It turns out that I had incredibly low B12. Regular injections of B12 have helped enormously but the B12. It also turned out that my iron levels were low. My iron levels were at 7 and the Dr was still insisting that I deal with it through a diet high in iron. Finally my gastroenterologist (yes, I have absorbption issues) noticed my iron levels and immediately ordered 3 batches of Iron transfusions. Low blood pressure and stomach issues have made this more complicated to treat. Make sure you insist on a lot of testing, see another doctor if the first doctor doesn't help you find a solution. Vote for a candidate who will insure the kind of health care that will support you through this process. I live in a country where everything I needed was covered. I am lucky and grateful.

  52. @Jwalnut You ARE lucky, - too bad jerks like Trumpski have not had physical issues that would wake them to the plight of others, so that EVERYONE had health care...

  53. @Jwalnut I also had iron deficiency. For years I took ferrous sulfate which was not well absorbed by my body (GI upset for starters). Finally a nurse practioner prescribed a pill that consists of B12 + Vitamic C + ferrous fumerate which was better absorbed by my body and finally cured my iron deficiency.

  54. Please see a physical therapist who specializes in vestibular disorders. The feeling of dizziness comes from an imbalance between right and left vestibular input and among different sensory systems. Patients always want a diagnosis but sometimes there really isn’t one. However that doesn’t mean that there isn’t help to reduce symptoms. Physical therapists will show you exercises to accommodate and integrate input. Good luck

  55. Great article but please keep in mind that your image is triggering for a lot of people with vestibular disorders (and would likely love to read your work.)

  56. @Someone No kidding! I had to scroll quickly past that.

  57. I'm sorry I missed your first essay. Lately I've been experiencing very frightening dizzy spells. I worry that I will fall and seriously hurt myself. I sent a note to my MDs office to ask about an appointment and was told to drink more water. I mean...that's it. So I'm in the shower and about to plunge over the edge but at least I'm hydrated. Thank you for all the info here..

  58. @jackzfun Sorry you got such an inadequate response. Maybe an ENT provider would be more thorough. Good luck and be well.

  59. I find this highly entertaining. The author rejects the diagnosis of depression and anxiety and feels that non-specialists brushed him off. He doesn't feel appropriately diagnosed until someone names it PPPD. This is considered a functional neurological disorder! Aka what neurologists call a psychiatric manifestation of disease- aka depression/anxiety with a slightly different term. It is treated with guess what? anxiety and depression meds. Seems the first docs he saw were right.

  60. @X Let me guess, you're a shrink?

  61. @X How you can find someone's suffering to be entertaining is beyond me. Have some empathy.

  62. @X It is hurtful to hear ignorant comments like this. I suffer from Meniere's disease and vestibular migraines. Xanex helps calms the nerves and vestibular system so I dont have to go to the ER every time I get vertigo, but other meds are trial and error. Blood pressure meds, water pills (primarily diagnosed to people with kidney disease), seizure medications are all used to try to control the vertigo in addition to antidepressants. Many of us dont have improvement from antidepressants, just some of us do. Some of us dont improve with any of those meds and we endure invasive proceedures with great risk potential. Many of us end up with PTSD and do suffer anxiety and depression. My psychiatrist and therapist(started going after diagnosed with MD and VM) have never told me my vertigo is psychological. I live in a city where I have access to good ENTs and neurologists who understand my condition and try to help me manage it. I've heard from many it took them years to get diagnosed properly and any kind of treatment that may help them. That is the point of this article: there are unsympathetic people out there (like you) and some of them are doctors. The author didnt search for a different diagnosis he was searching for real help to manage a debilitating condition. The tone of your comment and your words are so offensive. It sounds like you're making fun of a chronically ill person. I hope you are a better person in other areas of your life.

  63. Only experience so far is occasional from standing up too fast, usually from reclining - rarely severe, but can be. It's enough to convince that persistence would be a serious problem, and a stunner if it isn't taken seriously by the doctors.

  64. @J111111 That type of dizziness is usually due to a sudden drop in blood pressure. It's very common in adults who take anti-hypertension medications, but it can happen to anyone. The advice that I used to give my patients who had this problem, when I was still working as a professional nurse, was simple. Don't stand up or change positions quickly. Hope your occasional episodes never become worse.

  65. U ended on 2 psychiatric medications that alleviate stress. Sounds like a mental health disorder was correct.

  66. @CV Antidepressants are used to treat pain. That doesn't mean pain is a mental health disorder.

  67. @CV Benzodiazepines dull the vestibular system which is why Valium is routinely given to vertigo patients.

  68. I thought the most common cause of dizziness is BPPV: Ear crystals that your body uses to sense movement get dislodged from your ear canal and start sending signals to your nerves that are interepreted by your brain that you are in moving when you're not. Doctors are hopeless at treating this as apparently only PTs are taught the Epley method for repositioning the crystals becuase it doesn't involve you being given unnecessary drugs. It took me three weeks and a head MRI to find a PT to treat me and I was cured in one Eppley session. It is appalling that physicians are not taught this easy to do procedure It is appalling that many geriatric patients are needlessly drugged whe complaining about dizzyness from BPPV.

  69. @Dee I have spent the last several decades trying to get emergency physicians and others to learn this technique. There is progress being made, but it's slow. The younger generation is starting to get it. There is a saying "Science advances one funeral at a time." Hopefully all doctors will be able to perform this simple maneuver before my funeral comes.

  70. I've had PPPD since 1972. Of course it didn't have a name until just recently, was unrecognized and written off as psychological, as many new medical ailments are initially. Even now it is only a "syndrome" which means that the symptoms can be grouped and recognized but that doesn't mean it's understood. Even more than the dizziness, cognitive issue have been the most troublesome and life-influencing for me. I view it as a neurotransmission problem with different parts of the visual/balance/orientation axis miscommunicating. When I die I hope someone will examine my brain to try to gain insight into this strange and disabling disorder.

  71. I had symptoms very much like you describe. I ended up having a pituitary tumor. Once the tumor was removed my vision went back to normal and an no longer dizzy.

  72. Dizziness is when you feel like you're spinning. Vertigo is when you feel like the world is spinning around you. I had chronic vertigo for about 15 years, and have no idea why it went away. But it turns out that there are now much better treatments for vertigo than when it began for me. If you've had it long term, it's worth making a fresh attempt to getting it treated.

  73. @Blonde Guy If there are much better treatments, my ENT doctors have not heard of them. I wish there were better treatments.

  74. I was having dizziness when getting up in the morning and I also noticed a fuzziness in my vision. An MRI revealed that I had a pituitary tumor. Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital has a pituitary surgery center and I had the tumor removed. The condition is non-cancerous. Upon waking up, my vision is back to normal and I have not been dizzy since.

  75. I actually took your previous article to my doctor and suggested the diagnosis of vestibular migraine. It turned out to be exactly right. 100mg of Topamax and my symptoms subsided, but unfortunately, the side effects were intolerable so I have bounced in and out of remission since coming off my meds. Prior to the diagnosis of vestibular migraine, I spent over a year with my dizziness and vertigo attributed to anxiety. I'm very grateful for your article 3 years ago!

  76. @Sally Happy to have been of some help. Sorry it was limited. Good luck moving forward, Brian

  77. What I didn’t see here is the curse of an inner ear infection called Miniers disease. This causes severe vertigo along with a series of spasms that can last for hours. They are followed by a day long hangover of general weakness. They can be alleviated with steroid shots to the ear in question. Loss of hearing is a consequence of this disease and is severe as well. ENT’s are very aware of this condition which is largely untreatable.

  78. @MP Crugnale There are a few comments here about Meniere’s, from which my mother has suffered. It is not curable, but can often be managed by keeping sodium, caffeine and alcohol low, while also getting enough sleep regularly. Best wishes to all who are going through vertigo inducing conditions.

  79. @MP Crugnale My mother had Meniere's disease, with horrible vertigo/nausea, and it was "cured" by two things: a shunt in the inner ear, and cutting both the auditory and balance nerves on the affected (right) side. Unfortunately, one of the problematic side-effects of this surgery is the possibility of Meningitis, which my mother got. This was in 1986, and she was treated by one of the best ent doctors in the nation, using the best treatments he knew at the time. She had balance problems after that, but the Meniere's never returned. I hope others can be spared this surgery, though.

  80. My mother has dealt with the same issue over and over again, She was in a tragic accident back in 2008 where she was stabbed while locking up her job establishment at night that left her with excruciating pain and vertigo. She went to a Neurologist that kept insisting that my mother was just simply overwhelmed with work and stressed with overall life. This physician adamantly had this mindset that it was simply stress. Ultimately my mother kept telling her that she had the tip of the knife encrusted in her head and that was causing nerve misfire causing her not only vertigo, but neck pain and so forth. I still never understood how this physician kept insisting a cause that was completely incorrect. Was it pride ? Was it the lack of knowledge ? Was it that she didn't care much, still completely flabbergasted with her response on my mother's case.

  81. @Jennifer So sorry that your mom suffered this horrible assault and that you both went through an inept medical response. Did you find a more satisfactory provider? I am in the midst of a tough medical situation myself and saw, over the course of two months, two neurologists, a rheumatologist, an endocrinologist, my PCP, went through countless diagnostics and came up with nothing. My PCP, who saw that I was in a bad situation, recommended that I find a neurologist in NYC who also taught medicine. That’s what I did and although I had to pay out of pocket, he did get to the bottom of things. Best wishes to you and your mother.

  82. @Jennifer You need remember - most doctors are empty vessels filled with the accepted teaching - that allows them to blithely reject an alternate or reasoned examination of related information they have been conditioned to reject. This is especially the case from the inept GP - who is only capable of functioning as a car mechanic inept at logic and reduced to changing parts until they happen to change one that solves the problem... When the "DOC" acts like God, refusing any input, - RUN...

  83. A great article but a terrible image to use on the web for those of us who have these sorts of issues. What were you thinking?

  84. @Jeffrey Dreiblatt yes I agree

  85. @Jeffrey Dreiblatt I totally agree. Although I've gotten pretty adept at quickly scrolling through these types of images.

  86. @Jeffrey Dreiblatt It is horrible. I immediately felt sick.

  87. Having suffered exposure to petroleum based chemicals I now have little lining of the sinus - and problems which I suspect may well be connected to the Vagus nerve branch in the sinus. With occurrence of Migraine type visual effects - if I flush the sinuses using a Nettie pot the symptoms usually clear within minutes. The logical source in my estimation is an oversensitive nerve branch of the Vagus nerve, - considering the Vagus nerve information network character.

  88. "But dizziness is a problem with the vestibular system" -dizziness is a non-medical term used by laypersons to describe a huge variety of sensations - it can be caused by almost anything - infection, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, a myriad of heart problems, carotid stenosis, inner ear problems, brain tumors, hydrocephalus, depression/mental illness, etc. etc. etc.. Vertigo MIGHT be a problem with your vestibular system... or things like a brain tumor or stroke. "And even the relatively small number of experts who do have appropriate training are often motivated by the insurance system to conduct exams and tests, rather than spending time talking to patients." - as a physician I'm starting to find articles similar to this increasingly offensive. I'm an emergency physician and know how to accurately differentiate life threatening from non life-threatening vertigo very well. Most of the way I do this is by talking to patients and spending a good deal of time listening to their story and performing a detailed exam. The ENT physician you saw is an expert at ruling out inner ear problems. The ophthalmologist you saw is an expert at ruling out ocular issues as a cause of your 'dizziness'. I do also also find it ironic that you basically chastised physicians for calling your symptoms 'psychiatric' but now you are happily parading around a diagnosis that is essentially a psychiatric/catch all diagnosis.

  89. Dizziness and vertigo are different symptoms. Vertigo includes a spinning sensation. Dizziness does not.

  90. @DZ Perfect response. The devil is in the details! Also, being an EM Physician, one realizes that dizziness is such a vague term that it is important to delve further and obtain the details about what is going on. Feeling “foggy”, feeling off balance, feeling like passing out, seeing black spots, etc are all different sensations that require different evaluative tests, and a lay person make not be able to make that distinction, because of socioeconomic factor or anxiety.

  91. @DZ I agree that ER physicians and others can make these differential diagnoses. It is crucial just how your diagnostic knowledge is imparted. If the symptoms are vague and the tests are negative, it doesn't mean that there is absolutely nothing wrong in a physiological sense, even in a functional sense. It is helpful if the MD conveys his/her knowledge in a compassionate and sensitive manner, regardless of diagnosis or lack of one (for the moment). Often, if the problem is not obvious, the fall back response is either: stress, anxiety, aging, hypochondria, health anxiety, etc. All one needs is one "hysterical" (in the psychiatric sense) patient to die after the fact, for the MD to be cured of the rush to judgment. Also, even if anxiety/stress, etc. is ultimately causative for some (but not all) patients, it is important that one's conclusions be conveyed with compassion and even humility (e.g. I don't have all the answers right now). Regardless of what your examination and tests show, the symptoms may be scary and even debilitating for the patient. Kindness and attentiveness means the world to people.

  92. Can sympathize. I had one brief completely unexplained episode a few months ago and it was profoundly frightening. Am hoping it is the last such episode.

  93. I also had symptoms of dizziness and unsteadiness. In addition I had various other symptoms like brain fog, shakes, and a feeling of muscle weakness. It came on gradually shortly after TURP surgery. I went to various doctors who did just about every test in their playbook on me. They did blood tests and various scans. Nothing! So I finally asked myself what had changed in the last few years. Other than getting older the only thing that had changed was my asthma medicine. After my surgery I had started using an albuterol inhaler. I had taken various drugs for asthma for years but never albuterol. So I quit taking the albuterol a couple months ago and my symptoms have all but disappeared. Now I need to find another asthma medicine before spring as that's when my symptoms tend to be worse.

  94. @Phil Ask your asthma doctor about Xopenex, a rescue medication that works for me. I can't take albuterol because it makes me very agitated.

  95. @Phil I also take Xopenex for my asthma, even though I have to pay extra for it. For me, albuterol causes heart palpitations.

  96. In 2006 I underwent an emergency hysterectomy at age 51. Five weeks afterwards I awoke one morning to the most hideous dizziness that made me scream when I lifted my head from the pillow. I could not walk and could barely talk, it was so disorienting. I was taken to an emergency room, where they admitted me as a “stroke patient,” and then ran MRIs. The neurologist said my brain was fine. After three days I was discharged, still dizzy, with no diagnosis. I was given two prescriptions, Clonazepam and Nortriptlyine. I was told it would take 5-6 weeks for them to have an effect. During that time I was to try and walk a bit each day. I was so nauseous I could barely eat and went from 110 to 90 pounds. I was sent to a vestibular expert, who put me through exercises that made me more dizzy. Still no diagnosis. Finally the meds began to help. Another thing that helped was walking in a swimming pool, where I had no fear of falling and injuring myself. But this all came back to haunt me several years later when I began to lose my hearing. Now I have one ear with moderate hearing loss, the mother ear with moderate to severe hearing loss. I have been wearing hearing aids for 10 years. I have tinnitus, for which I take ginkgo biloba. When I visited an ENT doctor, he dismissed the entire thing, saying he had patients with worse problems. I am appalled at how little the medical world knows about what goes on in our heads: brain, hearing balance, vision, dementia.

  97. @Janet Baker I always hesitate to mention my book, as sales is not what I'm after - it's raising awareness. But I do advise you to look at A Hole In My Life (find on Amazon) - only a high resolution CT scan would show holes or thinning of your balance canals, causing SCDS. The books covers all kinds of inner ear disorders, presented within a memoir. I do study Neuroscience etc, so it's all carefully researched! Best wishes.

  98. @Philippa Thomson And is there treatment for this? Thank you.

  99. @Janet Baker that sounds like Ménière’s Disease You have the same symptoms as me.

  100. I take 5 prescribed meds and aspirin, all very common, for blood pressure control after long ago cardiac event and surgery. 4 of those meds list "bad dizzyness or passing out" as side effects. Yet when I mention "light-headed sensations" to my docs, there is never any consideration that it may be the effect of something they prescribe every day. I'm not experiencing anything like the serious effects described by many here--I empathize with the impact that vertigo can have. I'm only suggesting that what's in your pill bottles may contribute. Read the package inserts, and be aware that the effects can be additive.

  101. Three and a half years ago, in an instant, I developed vestibular neuritis. Upshot was that one of my vestibular nerves was 80% destroyed, considered worst case scenario. So my damaged nerve sends 'weak and inconsistent' information to my brain about where my body is in space,. 18 months of vestibular PT (thank you ACA) got me part way back, but my brain never learned to fully compensate, leaving me with constant vertigo whenever I am moving. Just 6 months ago, my area Kaiser hired an otologist, an ENT who specializes in the inner ear. He introduced me to the concept of migraine activity (activity, not headaches) potentially interfering with my brain's ability to compensate. Under his care, I started with supplements and dietary restrictions, then added a blood pressure drug. No improvement. In early January he suggested I add a tricyclic antidepressant to the rx list, again to see if the chemistry in my brain could be altered in a way that would help my dizziness. After 3 years, I was not optimistic at all, but much to my shock, my vertigo has improved roughly 30 - 50%. A miracle for me! I do not know whether this gain will continue, but I think this avenue the author discusses of working on brain chemistry with a variety of drugs is worth pursuing. A good starting point is Bucholz's of John's Hopkins 'Heal Your Headache'. I wish all the best to the members of this vertigo club which none of us ever wanted to join. Thanks to Brian for this article.

  102. @igloopants thanks for that, I’m similar to you with 100% loss and deaf on that side. I’ve tried ssri drugs. 6 years of this is is still very difficult. I’ve been told migraine meds could help but nothing has. Hope you remain on the upside

  103. I'm surprised that no doctor suggested a cardiologist, as mine did after I had brief episodes of dizziness and near-unconsciousness while driving a few months ago. Fortunately, my heart (ears, etc.) is fine, but the symptoms may come from renal insufficiency. (I had to ferret that out on my own.) Drinking more water more often has helped considerably and I can now drive safely again.

  104. I have permanent vestibular neuritis, 30% loss on left side, and was greatly helped by balance retraining by a DPT who specializes in that area. Such specialists are hard to find, and I find I really need to go back. After an acute period where I could not drive at all, I can now drive locally but not in many high speed highway situations. It’s has definitely impacted my life.

  105. There is a little-known vision misalignment disorder that can cause the dizziness and other symptoms you've mentioned. Treatment is with micro-prism lenses. It's called vertical heterophoria. Specially trained optometrists can provide this care - there is only a few around the country.

  106. My husband found that too large a dosage of Tylenol caused dizziness.

  107. My husband began having severe dizzy spells, nausea and vomiting a little over a year ago. His internist diagnosed him with benign positional vertigo and atrial fibrillation and referred him to a cardiologist. The cardiologist only treated the a-fib, of course. When the dizziness persisted and worsened, all we were told was "gee, BPPV doesn't usually last this long". Finally, after 6 months- by which time this had progressed to include an inability to walk because he couldn't keep his balance, and double vision, he was finally referred for an MRI. That's when we found he had several brain tumors. By that time little could be done and he died 4 months later. We are both RNs and I kept telling his docs that this is more than BPPV but I couldn't get anyone to listen. I also now have about $20,000 of co-payments to deal with.

  108. It is unfortunate to hear about everyone's suffering and lack of adequate medical care. it is more unfortunate that MDs in an outpatient setting do not directly refer to DPTs (disclosure I am one :) who are specifically trained to perform differential diagnosis with dizziness, and in the case of BPPV, we perform the specific crystal-mobilizing maneuver to relieve symptoms. We had our annual APTA conference the last 3 days in Denver (18k PTs) and I bet this was one of the few in the medical community this year that had multiple vestibular sessions in addition to one specifically on PPPD. Our hospital sends a vestibular-trained therapist down to the ED right away for patients with vestibular symptoms; I can only hope the outpatient world will do the same someday.

  109. @Amy When my husband was first sick, his MD did recommend maneuvers for BPPV. I found some really helpful videos on You Tube. ( Of course they didn't work on a brain tumor). I relayed all this to his docs and was pretty much ignored. Kudos to your hospital for taking this seriously, I wish ours did the same.

  110. @Amy When my husband was first sick, his MD did recommend maneuvers for BPPV. I found some really helpful videos on You Tube. ( Of course they didn't work on a brain tumor). I relayed all this to his docs and was pretty much ignored. Kudos to your hospital for taking this seriously, I wish ours did the same.

  111. @Amy When my husband was first sick, his MD did recommend maneuvers for BPPV. I found some really helpful videos on You Tube. ( Of course they didn't work on a brain tumor). I relayed all this to his docs and was pretty much ignored. Kudos to your hospital for taking this seriously, I wish ours did the same.

  112. Honestly, I’m quite shocked the author didn’t mention (or try) “alternative medicine” as an option to help treat his symptoms. Chinese medicine and acupuncture can provide amazing relief to patients suffering from dizziness, vertigo, nausea, etc. I don’t want to judge the authors process and pain, but having a daily dose of multiple anti-depressants can reek havoc in the body in many other ways. I’m sick of the medical world just throwing drugs at problems and compartmentalizing the different parts of our bodies. Often times our symptoms are coming from a whole range of imbalances that need to be treated holistically. Acupuncture doesn’t work for everyone. But we are over prescribed and clearly suffering from it as a culture. It’s time to regularly include options beyond what has come to be accepted as “medicine” when we talk about illness. Our modern medicine has been in existence for about 150 yrs. Eastern medicine, for example, had been used and refined for 2,000 yrs. Lets change the way we approach our bodies and our health.

  113. @Patrick Riley I appreciate the note. For months and sometimes years I saw highly recommended practitioners of massage, chiropractics, acupuncture, electroacupuncture, trigger-point dry needling, the Alexander Technique for breathing, herbs and tinctures, craniosacral therapy, essential oils, meditation, diets based on blood tests, diets based on theories about gluten and dairy, and diets based on studies of sugars and fats, and more. None had any effect, so I started taking medication that mitigated the symptoms.

  114. I’m curious as to whether you were ever treated for adrenal symptoms. My son has this issue and when treated with glandulars for adrenal fatigue they disappeared forever!

  115. Thank you for responding. And I apologize, I wasn’t aware of the other treatments you tried. And I’m sorry they didn’t work for you. Happy you are feeling some relief with your current therapies! Thank you for writing about your experience.

  116. Getting prompt medical treatment can be lifesaving. My ENT immediately sent me for an MRI which revealed several clots in my brain which vascular neurology was able to dissolve and which have not returned. Be certain to have the cause of the dizziness investigated.

  117. You shouldn’t have that graphic with this article. I don’t have vertigo and it made me dizzy. Very unthinking.

  118. I had extreme vertigo after a near head on collision. The only thing that helped me was Vestibular Rehab. I don't know if you tried it or not.

  119. I too suffered from years of on-again, off-again vertigo, with episodes lasting up to 3 months. I was on my knees trying to find a way to stop the chronic dizziness which affected every area of my life. After 2 brain scans and numerous visits with Neurologists and ENT doctors, I got a diagnosis of Vestibular Migraine but got no effective relief as all pharmacological options suggested had no effect. Then I did some research on Vestibular Migraine and natural supplements. I discovered that high doses of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and Magnesium had been shown to alleviate symptoms. 2 years ago I started a daily regime of 400 mg of Vitamin B2 and 400mg of Magnesium; within a week the vertigo subsided and I have not had a single day of dizziness since! This has truly transformed my life.

  120. Doctors don’t dismiss symptoms. We work the patient up following the “standard of care” guidelines. And that has nothing to do with insurance companies. The misperception is astounding. Why do people take so much pleasure in accusing physicians- like we are Gods that should know and must have answers to every symptom a patient experiences. Ultimately this patient was treated with anxiolytics and anti depressants. He was given a diagnosis “PPPD” that meant and changed nothing, but clearly appeased him, because now he has a diagnosis that wasn’t “anxiety” even though the treatment given was for it. Bravo!!

  121. @Roji Menon Whew, your is a pretty mean-spirited comment. It seems that you need to spend some time with a debilitating illness that you are told is "all in your head". Doctors often report that their first time being a patient with a dread disease can be very humbling for them and changes their perspective permanently.

  122. @Sandra Campbell Thank you for your negative wishes- I will never wish anyone the same. Some will never stop with the blaming or shaming. And just an FYI- I have and didn’t blame my doctors or victimize myself for it. Ultimately it’s your attitude that counts. Cross reference it.

  123. Hi Brian, thanks for your article. I don't think it's the case that doctors ignore dizziness but rather they don't know how to assess it or treat it which leads to their lack of insight and concern. PPPD is really a psychiatric diagnosis which has become the diagnosis du jour for people like you, but it's not a real disease and perhaps doesn't even really exist. You should at least acknowledge Thomas Brandt, the neurologist in Germany who first conceived of this syndrome which he called by a different name. And yes, migraine is now considered the most common cause of vertigo but there is no diagnostic test for it at this point. Finally, it goes without saying tha tthere are more excellent vestibualr centers than the ones you somehow chose, some that are a lot closer to NYC or even in NYC where this paper presumably reisdes. So you do the Times readers a diserervice by suggesting a bunch of hospitals that aren't in the New York area, based on some vague 'reputation' no doubt provided by their publicicfty departments. But slothful medical resporting is what one expects from the Times and given that very low threshold you did a nice job explaining what it's like to have dizziness and the frustruatioin involved in obtaining adequate diagnosis and treatment.

  124. MIne disappeared with accupuncture. Blessed relief.

  125. I have been very fortunate. I have periodic bouts of vertigo which can last minutes to days. No one ever told me it was ‘all in my head’. My first attack happened in the middle of the night and got me to the ER where they gave me meds to stop it. They sent me home the following morning with scrips for Valium, meclizine (antivert) and promethazine. I keep the meclizine with me so if I get a bad attack I can take it. I’m thankful I was so lucky.

  126. I have vertigo intermittently, with the last occurrence being so bad I vomited. I have had a huge amount of help from my vestibular physiotherapist. I can do the Eppley and Semont manoeuvres myself, and I do regular head and eye exercises twice daily, both of which seem to manage the vertigo. She really has been a godsend. I cannot imagine how people manage with constant vertigo.

  127. After 3 years visiting doctors of different specialties and numerous MRIs, a Neurologist told me: I know you have nothing that will kill you, lets try the last resource: hydration. Take 2 lts of water during the day and until 7 pm. And that was it, immediate solution! after 2 years following his advise, I continue with no more dizziness and equilibrium problems. It is worth to try!

  128. HOSANNA!! Finally a column that deals with Chronic Dizziness and its affects on what used to be ‘normal life’! Having Nystagmus (which causes your vision to approximate that of a hand-held jerky camera), the addition of chronic dizziness has laid me low quite often. Reeling around one’s home like a drunker sailor is dangerous and depressing. Couple that with betting older and you have the perfecta ‘Trifecta’ for accidents and falls. I am encouraged by this writer’s advice. Thank you very much for the insight! [email protected]

  129. @NANCY L. ISENBURG Thanks so much for reading. I'm so sorry to hear you're struggling, but I do look forward to your thoughts on the novel. Best, Brian

  130. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I had VN about 2 years ago that triggered vestibular migraines (and maybe PPPD). I saw an otologist in November who diagnosed me and it makes sense. He’s started me on supplements and diet changes and I’m doing better but we may do more. It’s just such a breath of fresh air to be working with a doc who seems to know what he’s taking about and can help me. Vestibular conditions are so hard to explain to people and I don’t think tou can understand unless you’ve been there. I love that this article was in the NYtimes! We aren’t alone - there are so many of us trying to get back to good. I can’t wait to read your book and I hope you continue to improve!

  131. "Dizziness" bothered me for years. As a retired physician, I was only too well aware how dreaded this symptom is from a "provider" viewpoint. After discounting my medications as a contributor, I turned out to be wrong and have felt better since. Unfortunately, causes for "dizziness" can be multifactorial, as I believe they are with me. But yes, "it's all in your head" can be both true and untrue at the same time!

  132. If you've checked with your doctor and perhaps a second or third doctor, and they have found nothing to cause the dizziness, you might want to try the "Half Somersault Maneuver" developed by Dr. Carol A. Foster. My experience has been that when I use the "The Half Somersault Maneuver", it always works for me. Look it up and you'll see why it works, and that it's easy to do. Also I like to use ear candleing about once a year to remove the ear-wax that can build up in the ears. This requires having another person's assistance. Ear candles can be purchased at most health food stores.

  133. I experienced very similar symptoms, and pursued many of the same specialists as you write about. My dizziness lasted over a year. What I think finally helped me was going to physical therapy, which really did restore the connection from the mind to the body, and I also worked with an acupuncturist and a chiropractor. I’m not exactly sure if one thing helped, or if it was the confluence of all things that I tried, but now I am relieved to say that it has not returned! thank you for sharing your experiences!

  134. Thank you for bringing this medical issue into the light again. I've found the articles in The Times and many reader comments to be very helpful as symptoms, causes (if any can be determined), and treatments can vary widely. But the search is on for me and it'll be a long one. ..hopefully worth it. The spinning room, gait like a 'drunken sailor,' severe nausea and sometimes vomiting, and, for me, prominently featured is a feeling of being 'hit by a bus,' where I immediately lose all energy and have to lie down for a few hours. (Lying down makes it all worse unless I can finally sleep but upon waking and standing, I find most symptoms are still present.) Thank you to all the sincere readers and authors out there who help with their sharing of information. And it truly does help to know one is not alone.

  135. I had Vestibular Neuritis (VN) in 2019 and later the same year had a truly life threatening condition. VN was by far the worst experience. Vestibular Physical Therapy was a life saver. With diligent exercises three times a day for eight weeks I was able to regain ~98% of what I had lost. As a side benefit, I'm much less prone to motion sickness! I am also a physician and appreciate how difficult it can be to meet the needs of patients with complex, multifactorial problems. Thanks for a great article on a complex issues.

  136. Brian, if you’re still checking the comments... I have PPPD after vestibular neuritis in Jan 2019 (mid 40’s female, never a dizzy person before). Finally found a doctor that could not only diagnose it, but could also offer help. It was my 3rd neurology consult, and 3rd dizziness specialist. That doesn’t include the 2 other ENTs (it was quite the year!). The neuro-ophthalmologist started me on 20mg Duloxetine once daily. Symptoms have been so much better! I’ll try to go into detail in a separate comment tomorrow - long day & it still builds. Long explanation short: the new thinking on PPPD is that it’s a genuine neurological condition (not psychological) where nerves/ brain processing over activates to compensate for the loss of nerve function during the initial VN assault. My game plan is a year on the meds, & hopefully things will have calmed by then.

  137. Okay, please just stop this nonsense. The drugs which worked MIRACLES are benzodiazepines (same family as Valium) or antidepressants. Their has to an standard not just your statement "I feel dizzy". Because right now I feel dizzy and tomorrow morning I will feel dizzy again! Specifically, I will feel dizzy right before and after I speak with my a) Husband. b) Children. c) my parents. d) Boss. e) accountant f) therapist. g) whom or whatever!! Look, you had a great workup! There are somethings that we don't know enough about and hopefully we will know more in the future (like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease or faster than light travel or transportation!) Suffice to say that is all we got now.

  138. Thanks a lot NYT for the terrible zig-zag moving graphic accompanying this article. Triggered a brutal migraine. These sorts of patterns in motion can trigger both migraines and seizures. To include it on a health article about dizziness (a common problem for people with vestibular or chronic migraine issues) is just negligent.

  139. @Marie Absolutely right; I looked at it for maybe 3 seconds & knew I had to move on- PRONTO! That's a dangerous graphic!

  140. @Marie agree, this is beyond stupid! Come on NYT turn it off!

  141. I've had BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) since 1985 and medics tend to mostly shrug... not only about vertigo, but most symptoms I report; about anything, really. They dutifully write it down; maybe they'll order a test, or maybe not. They tend to be pretty relaxed. Once I tell them I've got osteoarthritis, everything somehow becomes a manifestation of it, and of course, there's nothing they can do about osteoarthritis. They definitely don't even pretend to "feel my pain". We laugh at the Dark Ages, of leeches and the "Four Humours", but I think in a hundred years or so they'll laugh at us, what with our corporate medicine and horrendous diets and the thousands of new & toxic chemicals with which we've flooded all planetary life, every ecosystem, with minimal to no concern about any consequences, that may in fact be responsible for the many disquieting symptoms we feel, and the deaths of millions of our fellow creatures, like those whales that wash up dead on our shores with crushing regularity, filled with 60+ pounds of plastic in their guts. Having written that, let me try to be a little helpful, not merely critical. In NYC, for my BPPV, I've found a lot of respectful help at H&D Physical Therapy. Their Vestibular Therapists are great and they have 3 locations in Manhattan. I am in no way affiliated with them, except in my role as patient.

  142. One must keep in mind, that if rehydration (6-8 glasses of fluid a day) is adhered to correctly, that all liquid should not be just water -drinking electrolyte sports drinks as part of the regimen will offset the possibility of hyponatremia which which, in itself, may cause dizziness!

  143. My husband and brothers all get relief from dizziness by visiting a chiropractor.

  144. My vestibular injury from a virus acquired from a 2 1/2 year. I had adequate medical diagnosis. It is never an issue that comes up as a focus of concern about why I was disabled from full work status. It served as an obstruction to the rapid dx of my eventual lymphoma., most likely acquired from pesticides and glyphosate. Though I have a strong story attorneys have not allowed my case to join class action against Monsanto. I remain impaired and shamed by my medicine list. Recently I begun Lion's Mane, mycelium and fruiting body, as a plant medicine. 6 months out I will have a better idea at 18 months. I am a fully credentialed physician with 15 previous academic appts in US and Canada. Illness can happen to anyone...tomorrow. (may all persons be as well as possible, as safe as possible). May we carry generosity, non judgement, kindness and compassion in our lives for ALL PERSONS we encounter as well as those we do not encounter.

  145. I experienced terrible vertigo several years ago, following a period of extreme stress. I went to the ER and the doctor noticed that me eyes weren’t tracking properly. I went home with anti-nausea but was referred to Barrow Neurological Clinic. The therapist there was outstanding and determined that my eyes weren’t tracking properly left to right and vice verse. I have probably had a mild version of this condition for years. She gave me vision exercises to do which have helped tremendously. This is an unusual cause of vertigo and I suspect it’s related to my many years of being a fast reader. I do wonder if this cause of vertigo is being missed in others less lucky than myself. I hope my story may help someone, as this condition can often be debilitating.

  146. In some patients, dizziness can be caused by POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), a condition that is underdiagnosed in the general population.

  147. When I feel dizzy or spacey, It’s usually because my back has tightened and my neck is “out”. An adjustment by my chiropractor solves the problem. I wish it were that easy for all people who suffer from dizziness!

  148. One of the problems that the author refers to is the "siloing" of specialists, their reliance on tests, rather than patient interaction, and essentially missing the forest for the trees. While a specialist who deals in dizziness is a good idea, one could argue that there is then a need for specialists in every possible multi-system problem. Or, maybe better staffing of primary care with physicians who are well-compensated and not forced to function as if they are on an assembly line would be a good solution as well. I am married to an excellent primary care (family medicine) physician, and have observed her approach to practice and treatment for more than two decades. She is on the faculty of a residency, and I have also paid attention to how she and her colleagues train their residents. From the stories I hear back from the community about how my wife works with her patients, from the end-of-day venting/storytelling that my wife engages me with, and from hearing about the less-than-ideal work done by many specialists, I have come to the conclusion that a GOOD primary care doc, who listens to their patients, knows their own limitations, and practices evidence-based medicine (with a grain of salt based in their judgement and experience) can see what is going on with patients in a much more holistic manner. Having treatment managed by a good primary care doc seems to result in better outcomes (and potentially lower cost due to fewer unnecessary procedures).

  149. @pdrothstein - I heartily agree! Fortunately, our family has found a truly wonderful PCP and it has made all the difference.

  150. My mother had a brain tumor called "acoustic neuroma". When she complained of dizziness, the doctor followed a line of questioning aimed at alcoholism. Over and over he asked this 83 year old how much she drank. She does not drink. He did schedule an appointment with a specialist, but 6 months into the future. Long before that 6 month deadline she had collapsed entirely and been hospitalized. An example of a physician not taking dizziness seriously.

  151. Sounds like the original doctor DID take her complaint seriously, and this is why they made the appointment with the specialist. It is not the original doctors fault that it takes 6 months to get in with a specialist. (although primary care doctors are often blamed for this erroneously)

  152. I used to experience 'dizziness' where it felt like the room I was in, all of sudden turned sideways, and dangerously it would occur sometimes while walking down a flight of stairs. Fortunately, I've never fallen because of this. Eventually, I switched from an M.D. to an N.D. naturopathic doctor, who prescribed some supplements that my body was missing, along with cutting out gluten from my diet. Within just a few weeks, any sort of dizziness stopped and I have not had a recurrence in over 3 years. So, maybe for some this could be food related.

  153. I developed dizziness following a brain surgery called a Microvascular Decompression, to treat my chronic Trigeminal Neuralgia and Geniculate Neuralgia. That was in April of 2018. My life has never been the same. I went through 8 months of vestibular rehab for BPPV. Then the BPPV resolved, but I was still dizzy and nauseous every day of my life. Then I was diagnosed with PPPD a year ago. I’ve been with a new vestibular rehab clinic that is really good. Having said that, I am still unable to work or drive more than 2-3 miles. I have gained helpful strategies for coping with the dizziness and I have learned how to modify household tasks, such as unloading the dishwasher. But my thoughts of a “cure” fade every day. I strongly suspect this may be my life. And I am just 53.

  154. Migraine is the cause of much dizziness (technically vertigo) and it is a woefully underfunded medical research topic by the US Government. 1 in 7 people on the planet have migraine. Most are women who still suffer from the insult of being ignored by male physicians. Of the men, they tend to go undiagnosed. The reasons is similar in the sense men have been programed to think of migraine as a headache. But migraine is a genetic neurological disease and impacts the entire body. A lot of neck pain and digestive issues are probably migraine caused, for example. Other common migraine symptoms beside vertigo include hearing loss, tinnitus, brain fog, sore neck and shoulders, sensitivity to light, certain sounds (like plates being put in the cabinet), or smells and sensitivity to touch, to name a few. As the author suggests, the first thing to do is book an appointment with a specialist in the neurology clinic at a research teaching hospital at a university. It might not be Johns Hopkins but usually is in your main “university of” medical center. Typically it has specialists like neurotologists/otoneurologist who can diagnose and offer treatment options ranging from new anti CRGP drugs to changes in diet (avoid aged or fermented foods) and exercise. Migraine is a spectrum so, if a cure or effective treatment is found, in theory, most migraine types, including vestibular migraine, will be gone. Migraine costs the economy billions of dollars and destroys lives and careers.

  155. Thank you for taking up this important topic. BUT: I was disappointed that in the outset you mix up VERTIGO with dizziness. Vertigo is a well-circumscribed medical phenomenon, be it "paroxysmal positional" or due to some vesitubular pathology. Both are affected by posture and is a clear-cut problem of our internal gyroscope or higher level (central) position perception system, and doctors know what to do to locate the source of the problem. Dizziness by contrast is much more diffuse, often just a fog of mind, and not "the world turning around you". Very hard to describe let alone quantify. This is the reason why doctors dismiss dizziness! How relieving it is always when a patient's "dizziness" turns out to be vertigo in the narrower medical sense because then we have a diagnostic lead for further tests.

  156. Brian, implied throughout your article is this concept that a defined organic pathophysiologic diagnosis is acceptable yet a psychiatric one is somehow shameful and must be avoided. This is such a common view in society and so unhelpful. It's as though a "hardware" (ie neurologic, eg MS, tumor, migraine) problem is permissible whereas a "software" (ie psychiatric, stress, anxiety) is not. We need to address and combat this pervasive approach, it leads to more anxiety and numerous unnecessary tests. Yes, I'm a doctor and to some degree I'm defending my own here. As a cardiologist I see a lot of people with palpitations who are in a similar situation to you. I try to get across the concept that there are two factors determining your level of suffering, the condition you have, and how you choose (psychologically) to deal with it. Sometimes we can't really help the first, so we have to concentrate on the second. Best of luck.

  157. ...and yet many of us have experienced our symptoms shrugged off as anxiety. It is a real problem (a not too distant mystery illness article here highlighted this). Of course anxiety is real and may be debilitating but it can’t be the blanket answer for the doc who doesn’t have an answer.

  158. Good points. I think the problem is when patients are simply dismissed as just having anxiety and depression.

  159. This is my story. Thanks for writing it. I’ve seen multiple specialist over the past two years (ENT, Neurologist, Audiologist, Otolaryngologists- the majority of whom treated me like I was crazy, etc. (my favorite was a otolaryngologist at UVA who told me the use of words “destroy,” (as in “the symptoms have destroyed my life”) and “violent” (as in, “I’m experiencing violent muscle spasms”) was evidence that I was crazy and that I should just try yoga. I’ve just seen a good neurologist at Georgetown who has suggested possible PPPD. My symptoms are of constant, severe dizziness and disorientation and a sensation that I am falling, that the ground is being pulled out from below me, like the sensation when you miss a step on a flight of stairs or step off a curb without noticing it- it’s that helpless, panicked feeling except it is all the time and not just a fleeting sensation. I have great difficulty walking, riding in cars (I can’t drive with it) and it’s worse standing, in situations where there’s a lot of dynamic movement like a store and, interestingly, it’s worse when walking across a blacktop parking lot or crossing a road, perhaps because there are fewer visual points of reference with which to orient oneself.

  160. When the symptoms first hit I was training for another marathon but spent the next eight months completely disabled, unable to walk to my dumpster or even the 15 feet to my mailbox without great difficulty and tremendous disorientation. Gradually I started jogging short distances around my block and the symptoms became marginally better, though I can’t work out in my community’s gym and do weights now at home. The writer is absolutely correct that one of the worst aspect# of the disorder is feeling useless being unable to work or travel and missing family gatherings like weddings, funerals and the holidays. I’m hopeful that with this new diagnosis and the coping techniques and medication ideas I’ve learned here, I can greatly reduce and better manage my symptoms to resume an active and fulfilling life. Thanks for sharing your experience and writing this, Brian.

  161. I’ve suffered from regular bouts of dizziness since I was a child, with it peaking during my university years, early motherhood and stressful work/family situations. Although it has always been taken seriously by the doctors I’ve seen, not one has been able to identify the cause. What I’ve noticed, however, is that during stressful and/or busy times, I forget to drink, leading to dehydration and oftentimes debilitating dizziness. If I catch it in time (often preceded by tiredness), I find that fluids and lots of rest will circumvent the situation. But, I’ve also experienced dizziness despite drinking lots of water and/or (non-caffeinated) teas. The more I drink, the worse it sometimes seems to get. What has worked to alleviate or remedy it altogether is simply adding a bit of sea salt or, in more dire situations, electrolyte powder. It seems like a simple solution to a big problem, but dehydration/overhydration can happen easily.

  162. Thanks for this article, it resembles my dizzy 2019. In February my GP diagnosed an ear infection, then labyrinthitis, and after a debilitating spell of dizziness in May, I called an ENT. The ENT performed the Epley Maneuver and referred me to a vestibular physical therapist, who was the first to mention BPPV and vestibular migraines. I was given vestibular exercises, and each time I went in she performed the Epley until there were no signs of BPPV. The vestibular migraine symptoms were persistent, she ordered an MRI, (normal). I was told am genetically prone to vestibular migraines (history of motion sickness, previous episodes of vertigo), and like other migraines, triggers are similar: salt, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, processed meats, hard cheeses. Oh, and maybe stress. (and maybe even estrogen in my BC pills!!) And I was told that for me it could flare up at any time. From my first inkling of something being wrong to me feeling almost normal was about 10 months. From looking at other comments I guess I am lucky. I quit alcohol, caffeine, cut back on other food triggers, did my exercises. The path to the ENT and eventual credible diagnosis was initiated by me, not by referral from my GP. Unfortunately, we all must take responsibility and be proactive – no one is really looking out for us except for ourselves. My other advice is for young people to study to become vestibular specialists, the therapist I saw is one of the few in SF and is in very high demand.

  163. So, when doctors attribute dizziness to anxiety and depression, it is aggravating, but when they work at a specialized dizziness center and make up a name for your diagnosis, and then treat you with medications for anxiety and depression, it is life-altering? Sounds like they are making a lot of money off of your fancy insurance.

  164. I have also had extreme bouts of vertigo over the last few years. I notice that if I go outside that I barely notice it, but upon coming back inside it returns. All those straight lines I guess. I had all the tests done that the author mentions, with no issues found. Finally the last specialist diagnosed ‘probable’ vestibular migraine. What has worked wonders to relieve my symptoms: Claritin-D. I take it when I can feel a spell coming on and after a few hours I am basically fine. I continue to take it for about 3 days and stop. Back to normal. Someone on some board recommended it when I was searching for ideas. Maybe it will work for you.

  165. Although I have had some benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, the worst problems turned out to be a result of exposure to polyester made with formaldehyde. Newer polyesters don't seem to cause the reaction, but older ones such as fiberfill in pillows are the worst. One of my daughters has the same problem. Remember after Katrina when a lot of people were given mobile homes made with formaldehyde in the insulation and so many of them got sick? My first exposure was a polyester quilt my mother had in her guest room years ago. When I came to visit, I fell on the floor when I got out of bed the next morning. When I left the house I got better, but every morning my dizziness had returned. Finally deduced it was the quilt and once it was removed from the room and stored away, all the symptoms were relieved. It has happened again several times over the years and as soon as I found the polyester culprit and removed it all was well. I am particularly careful when buying decorative throw pillows and try to get only down filled ones.

  166. My husband has bouts of vertigo which are always cured by a neck adjustment by a chiropractor. We learned this solution from my brothers who have had the same experience.

  167. Yes!!! A strong massage works as well. If I feel shoulder/neck tightness, I make an appointment. (I’ve had far fewer episodes since eliminating dairy and wheat too so believe it’s connected to that ol’ pesky inflammation).

  168. Ménière’s disease causes intense vertigo, also. Physical therapy for vertigo saved my life by retraining my brain. Someone who specializes in vestibular rehab can customize a head exercise routine.

  169. When I was a teenager I was bitten by a tick and the bulls eye rash developed. A few nights later I woke up feeling like I was on a roller coaster. From that day onward I would have terrible bouts of dizziness that could last for days. I told no one of the rash I saw and told no doctor about the dizziness. Anything could bring a bout on, sometimes but not all times stresses like taking the SATs, which I remember vividly because I could hardly read the test and it was important for my college entrances, but other times just catching a cold or nothing at all that I could pinpoint would start a bout. It took 20 years for the dizzy spells to stop. I assume that the bacteria from the tick was the culprit. Some forms of Lymes Disease can show symptoms and then retreat only to come back again. I also assume that the tick was not on me long enough to fully transmit the disease and left me with only these dizzy spells. As is evident to anyone reading this, I am a suffer in silence type person and did not want to go through the poking and prodding and sceptical doctor diagnoses as a teenager. because of my experience I believe that a lot of the chronic dizziness problems are due to bacterial or viral infections. The columnist found some relief through medical intervention but ultimately it is undiagnosable with an eventual decline of episodes back to normal. Of course, being older I realize that ruling out possible causes like brain tumors or MS is a smart thing to do.

  170. Go to a doctor who treats Lymme disease. Because the bacteria reproduces in your body. So the number of bacteria you have is limited by your immune system, not by how many were transmitted when you were bit.

  171. I struggled with dizziness for years; it was absolutely maddening. I thought it was blood pressure related which has run high since I was a teen. Doctors never had answers except saying I had anxiety. About 10 years into constantly being dizzy, I began passing out frequently. The most scary episode on airplane traveling for work. Fed up, I tried out a new doctor she and said, “I think this is one of two things. You need to see a cardiologist.” I was very confused at going to a heart doctor but she said more than anyone else had so I obliged. The cardiologist ran the more serious test first—all clear. The second was out of a medieval storybook—a tilt table test. The nurse asks you to lie down on a table and then straps you in mommy dearest style. While on the table they stand you up at 90 degrees. The test is that they ever so slightly change the angle at which you are standing and monitor your blood pressure and heart rate and you describe any and I mean any changes you feel. The test was supposed to last 90 minutes. At first I laughed over how silly the whole thing was—this is modern medicine? 5 min in I began to I feel hot, clammy, and dizzy. I could barely breathe or talk—I started to pass out. The dr was immediately able to diagnose me with an ‘autonomic dysfunction.’ The medicines he prescribed were described in the article and they have stopped my dizzy spells. I was at peace and so happy. To give thanks, I baked cookies for both of my new ‘rockstar’ doctors.

  172. I had dizziness two weeks ago. For me, it's caused by tree pollen allergies. I don't have other hay fever symptoms from tree pollen. Just my ears (eustatian tubes?) are affected.

  173. I had persistent dizziness for several years - often so bad I had to spend 12 hours or so in bed. Like you I went from specialist to specialist and also being in NY got a lot of tests. Fortunately each new doctor got all the previous tests. I was finally diagnosed with Meniere's disease by a specialist who had trained the younger specialists. He explained that his was what is called "a diagnosis of exclusion." When you have absolutely ruled out every other possibility, it is Meniere's. It eventually comes with hearing loss in one ear, which builds so gradually you might not notice it. A hearing test sealed the diagnosis. The dizziness was coming from a fluid thickening in the balance center in the inner ear. He was pretty sure that salt was causing that and gave me a diuretic and a low sodium diet. It did the trick - although restaurant meals can sometimes tip the sodium back up and some mild dizziness returns. But the hearing loss got pretty bad. It is not an ear problem - the auditory nerve on one side deteriorates. I've never been happy with hearing aids - I can hear ok one-on-one, and it a crowd they amplify all the voices so don't help me hear the ones I'm talking to - even with all kinds of fancy settings. It was a very long and disconcerting process, like yours, but now is just one more of those things you learn to deal with.

  174. After a fall that caused vertigo, I intense dizziness, visual disturbances, and nausea for several months. I was eventually “adjusted” at my doctor’s office and got better. As simple and understandable as my condition was, I made me understand how some people would want to die rather than live with an inescapable, intense discomfort for the rest of their lives. I have never before understood the impulse to suicide. My deep sympathy goes out to anyone dealing with this. Be brave! It can get better.

  175. I had debilitating vertigo a few years ago. So true that people who don't experience it don't understand. I was initially misdiagnosed with BPPV by another doctor at my PCP's practice and was told to do the Epley maneuver, which made things worse. When my PCP returned from out of town, I followed up with her. Luckily, she recognized right away that I had labyrinthitis -- only because she had seen one other case of it in years of practice. It took months to resolve itself.

  176. in fairness to physians, when you hear hooves, suspect horses, not zebras. while it's important to continue to seek specialists if you're not getting better, it sounds like what you were ultimately diagnosed with is rare.

  177. Dizziness and lightheadedness often appear in neurological disorders like Parkinson’s. If a patient presents these symptoms as recurring, their neurologist will attribute them to chronic

  178. Brian, one answer is to find a Neurological Chiropractor. I had horrible vertigo and I went to a chiropractor in Tucson Arizona who gave me simple eye exercises. I did them 12 times an hour for three weeks and was cured. I didn't have it again until six years later, brought on by some deep neck massage, and was in Oregon. I did the eye exercises and it helped and when it was good enough to fly I went to I flew to Tucson to see him. I also got Acupuncture because my body felt like it needed my energy to be sent downward, and that helped a lot. She put the needles in to achieve descending energetics. It's all connected.

  179. I have gone through all of this. I have learned to be very persistent in seeking health. Three things have helped me. A wonderful MS specialist, while ruling out MS, gave me this one word of advice: move. After listening to me talk for an hour (top specialist in NYC with very ill patients who most certainly had MS) she realized that I was spending my days doing little else than staring into one spot. Staring at a computer, staring at a book, staring at TV. Drinking more water has helped me. I started it to wash the gadolinium from the brain MRI out. And it transformed how I felt and how I looked. The third thing, I read The Wahls Protocol and implemented as many of the changes as I could. I don’t eat wheat, sugar or dairy.

  180. I wonder if for some people it could be related somehow to migraine and neck pain? I went through a 20 year period where I suffered from migraines (that seemed to be triggered by neck pain) that were often accompanied by dizziness, nausea, and projectile vomiting. But sometimes I had the dizziness alone. Also I could get a migraine for one day followed by up to 3 days of dizziness. I think time was the big healer but massage, stretching, acupuncture, chiropractic, and strengthening my neck and trapezius muscles were all somewhat helpful as well.

  181. Just my 2 cents worth. I had dizziness on and off for a couple of years. Turns out my new primary care doc suggested it maybe medication reaction and he was right. I am 67 and lucky enough not to ever have med reactions so did not consider as I should. I have not read all the comments but this was probably mentioned but just in case. The med that got me was venlafaxine for anxiety and depression. He switched me to Zoloft

  182. My ENT says: "It is also possible that there are some pathologies that pass undetected by the ENT. PPPD can be treated by multi-sensory rehabilitative training. Ocular vergence and refraction problems are responsible for 15% of vertigo cases (and these problems are aggravated by heavy use of computers and small screens). The latter can be diagnosed by orthoptists who can provide rehabilitative treatment too. Note that the Xanax and Zyloft are also prescribed to anxiety and depression patients, and have side effects of their own."

  183. I suffer from vertigo. It started 16 years ago. It happens one to three times a year. Lasts for 12-36 hours. I haven’t found anything like it. Dramamine can help but not that much.

  184. @JR “Our study suggests that for people with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, taking a supplement of vitamin D and calcium is a simple, low-risk way to prevent vertigo from recurring,” explained Ji-Soo Kim, MD, PhD, of Chungnam National University College of Medicine in Korea.Aug 19, 2020......it is new google it ....I hope this will help you :)

  185. I had two types of dizziness at the same time. One was caused by the drug venlafaxine (Effexor), and the other was caused by a crystal in my ear being out of place. I was listing to one side like a ship taking on water. Luckily, my PA suggested I got to a physical therapist who specialized in dealing with the inner-ear crystal issue. It was like magic. Just one treatment and the crystal went back into place. And in that moment I could feel that something changed, although I still had the other form of dizziness. I have continued to have the other form of dizziness, but it has seemed to ease over the past six months since I have been able to exercise more. From my personal experience and research, I would caution others in the use of antidepressants, especially without thoroughly vetting the drug. Often people experience a placebo effect, making it seem that the drug is doing something, but the side effects from these drugs can themselves debilitating. I have personally suffered side effects of many of them, the worst being Effexor (velafaxine). Be aware these drugs were not meant to be taken long-term/indefinitely & were meant to be used along with psychological counseling. They can have a serious deleterious effect on your brain, causing lasting damage. An added word of caution: Effexor can be as hard to withdraw from as heroin. Don't stay on it too long. I weaned off carefully, took my last dose in Sept. 2018 and my body still is not back to normal.

  186. I’ve been suffering from dizziness/lightheadedness accompanied with all over body pains - specifically chest, followed secondarily by back and abdomen, brain fog, head “buzzing”, adverse reactions to caffeine and alcohol, and overwhelming exhaustion for about 6 months. I’m only in my 30s and I used to be an elite runner but have spiraled down to a point where going for a walk is too taxing. I’ve been to the emergency room 3 times during this period from episodes where I thought something was so terribly wrong. I was wondering if anyone out there has any of my symptoms or any idea what could be wrong with me. I’ve been to countless doctors with mostly the same negative experiences as mostly everyone else has expressed. I had a chest MRI as well as a brain MRI that supposedly came back good. My blood work has come back pretty solid for the most part. I did have one very patient and open-minded ENT who also diagnosed me with PPPD just a few days ago, but I am not sure if that would explain my all over body pain. I feel so alienated and alone and still am in disbelief that all this is happening to me. I just want to know what’s wrong - even if it’s the worst case scenario - and cannot handle one more person inferring I brought this upon myself.