Patient with Dizziness, Vertigo, BPPV
I’m 65 and work from home as an associate lecturer for The Open University – am fit and healthy with no illnesses and not on any medication.
My problems started in 1998 (20 years ago) following a horse riding injury – I fractured my 12th thoracic vertebra (a crush fracture). I was in bed and suddenly experienced a severe bout of vertigo – it was so bad that I was unable to sit up for about 2 weeks and had to have a district nurse to help look after me. It may be worth mentioning that I had also been treated for bruxism prior to that. Since then I have had a residual dizziness problem best described as disequilibrium that has gradually got worse until about 2 years ago I was finding it hard to carry out every day activities and had lost my confidence.
I have had several subsequent attacks of vertigo – in 2011 it occurred while I was driving, and I lost control of the car. I then saw an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) consultant who diagnosed me with peripheral labyrinthine problem. I was referred for vestibular rehabilitation and did the exercises for several months. They did not seem to make much difference.
Following another attack of vertigo when driving in 2015, I had to surrender my driving license and subsequently had to leave my job as a health visitor. I was again referred to the ENT department and was finally seen in May 2016. This consultant said in my GP (family doctor) letter that my dizziness was due to non-vestibular causes.
However, he referred me to the audiologist for more vestibular function tests. I had a very long wait for the tests that were eventually carried out. During this time, I got progressively worse and I was finding it hard to walk due to oscillopsia. Busy environments such as shops made me feel ill – patterned carpets would make me completely unbalanced and I started using a cane for walking. I could not sleep and was suffering from anxiety. I also suffered from nausea and neck/shoulder pain.
When I saw the consultant again in May 2017 having had the vestibular function tests he diagnosed me with total Bilateral vestibular hypofunction (i.e. no function in either side) plus Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).
The audiologist had performed the Epley manoeuvre when I saw him but that did not make any difference. I was told that my condition was very rare and that there was no treatment or therapy.
I did some research and found that people were being prescribed medications and also having specialist therapy so my GP prescribed Cinnarazine, and Amytryptilline. I found a balance disorder ENT specialist in the city where a live and I asked for a referral. I had to see the ENT specialist again in to make the referral which he did in October 2017 and he added Vestibular Migraine to my list of diagnoses.
I am still on a 7-month waiting list for the specialist in the city where a live. I fortunately heard about Professor Orlando Alves da Silva’s work via a Facebook support group and contacted him. He kindly saw me within weeks and quickly diagnosed me with a proprioceptive disorder. I now wear active prisms glasses which were dispensed in a couple of hours of visiting the optometrist in Lisbon.
Since seeing Professor Orlando da Silva I have got my life back. I am sleeping, able to walk, drive, go shopping and care for my horses. I have returned all my medecines to the pharmacy. I now do Qigong and Tai Chi to improve my balance and posture and am able to do all the poses etc without falling over which I used to do.