Remember as a kid hopping onto that tire swing and your friends winding it around until it could go no further and then letting go? You would spin and spin and spin – fast. When the tire finally came to a stop, you would get off and drop to the ground because everything seemed to still be spinning around you even though it wasn’t. Walking a straight line was literally impossible. You’d have to close your eyes and lay in the grass until the dizziness subsided. Summer fun at it’s best!
The older we get, the idea of getting on that tire swing and spinning can make us nauseous just to think about it. But there are times in our life that we may get the sensation of whirling and loss of balance without the help of a tire swing. The name for this condition is called vertigo and it “results from a sudden or temporary change in the activity of the balance structures in your inner ear (vestibular system) or in the balance structures’ connection to the brain. (Mayo Clinic 9/12)” Defined by symptoms of lightheadedness, imbalance, dizziness or a sensation of movement when we are not, are common.
Vertigo can be caused by:
- multiple sclerosis
- head and neck trauma
- calcium debris in the inner ear (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
- tight or spasmatic muscles in the neck
- adrenal fatigue or exhaustion
- certain medications
- food allergies
- gluten sensitivity
- diabetes mellitus
- Meniere’s Disease
Depending on the cause, the duration can last moments to weeks. Fortunately, our body has the ability to adapt to what is causing the vertigo and balance is once again restored. The important thing to note is that many cases of vertigo do not require the use of medication to correct it. In fact, the course of treatment can involve specific exercises, dietary changes, spinal manipulation, lifestyle changes, stretching, and strength training. If you ever do experience vertigo during the course of your life, you can feel at ease that it can be temporary and can be corrected. If it is a reoccurring issue, getting evaluated can mean the difference between living with the condition, or figuring out the cause and having it never come back. Having the knowledge is not only empowering, but it also saves you from worry and anxiety.
Here’s to keeping you informed and well.