Vertigo Goggles: Seeing Your Way To Relief - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Vertigo Goggles: Seeing Your Way To Relief

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GLENDALE, Ariz. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - People who have it say it's like you're a little tipsy, but a whole lot worse. Thirty-five percent of Americans over age 40 live with vestibular problems: disorders like vertigo that make their world spin out of control. Now patients are seeking relief with goggles.

Cheryl Whalen's world turned upside down three years ago when she suddenly began falling down uncontrollably.

"I got real dizzy, I was blacking out, I couldn't see. I'd try to do things like bend down, pick up something and I'd fall right to the floor," Whalen, a vertigo patient, told Ivanhoe.

Whalen had BPPV, the most common type of vertigo. It develops when a small piece of bone-like calcium breaks free and floats within the tube of the inner ear. It sends the brain confusing messages about your body's position.

"They can actually get into the fluid in the semicircular canal and as your head moves the particle moves too, it causes dizziness," Sue Stanfield, PT Vestibular Rehab Specialist at Banner Thunderbird Medicine told Ivanhoe.

Now, a new treatment could help. Infrared goggles let therapists get a close-up view of Whalen's eyes. They're looking for small twitching motions that indicate vertigo and involvement with a tiny particle within the inner ear.

A series of head positioning can trigger nystagmus, a twitching of the eye that tell therapists where the particles are. Once the nystagmus is found, the therapist performs a procedure called canalith repositioning to move the particle out of harm's way.

"So you are actually kind of rolling that particle through the fluid in the semicircular canal and then it will settle into the membrane area where it's supposed to be," Stanfield explained.

Eighty percent of patients find success with the procedure. After several therapy sessions, Whalen became one of them. Now she's back on her feet, without all the dizziness.

Studies have shown that canalith repositioning therapy is safe and effective for treating patients with vertigo. For some patients, more than one session is needed to relieve symptoms. This therapy is generally covered by medical insurance.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

BACKGROUND: Vertigo is a vestibular disorder commonly associated with a dizzying sensation within stable surroundings. This illusion of motion becomes more common and more of a complaint as patient's age. Though vertigo is most common in the elderly, it can still affect both sexes at any age, and it can be a temporary or permanent condition. Some of the corresponding symptoms include nausea, emesis, and diaphoresis. Dizziness is one of the most common symptoms affecting about 30 % of people over the age of 65. From 2001-2004, 35.4 percent of adults 40 years and older had been diagnosed with vestibular dysfunction, and broad-based demographic studies consistently show that vestibular disorders are under diagnosed and undertreated.

CAUSES: Vertigo is caused when the organ of balance, the vestibular system in the ear, has problems calculating information to the brain such as balance. Balance problems can range from ringing in the ears to loss of hearing. Vertigo can also be caused by any changes in the parts of the brain that control balance. Vertigo can occur in any instance when tiny crystals in the inner ear become loose, giving the body a false sense of movement. Some other causes include head trauma, labyrinthitis, neuronitis, and Meniere's disease. If taken in high doses over time Aspirin, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sedatives, and tranquilizers can cause temporary dizziness.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Sue Stanfield, P.T
(602) 865-5830
Sue.stanfield@bannerhealth.com

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