Whirligigs revisited


Sitting very carefully and trying to type this without moving my head. I’ve just been to a specialist physio who is all about vertigo disorders.

It was a long and complicated consultation because naturally, it was not a simple situation. Oh, what a shock. *

There was a lot of walking and moving my head in odd directions, and sitting up and down, and staring deeply into the eyes or at the nose of the physiotherapist. (Luckily she had a nice face.)

Also lots of questions about past injuries and my chronic pain.

At least one thing was simple **. I have BPPV.

Cross eyes

BPPV (artist’s impression)

The physio did something called the Dix-Hallpike test, which showed her that I have rogue crystals in my ear canal, and exactly where they are. Then she did something called the Epley Manoeuvre, which hopefully put the crystals back where they belong. I get more of it next week, and will learn how to do it by myself.

These manoeuvres have made me feel sick and dizzy but it is great to know that I have this benign condition and how to deal with it when (sadly, not if) it returns.

So now I can add a new diagnosis to my collection.

Unfortunately there were more problems than just the BPPV. ***

The physio said I have a bunch more causes for vertigo and dizziness. My meds – no surprise there. My recurring labyrinthitis, but I don’t have that at the moment.

Also my neck and spine: my posture is a bit of a mess after a few knocks to the ol’ spine and years and years or persistent pain.

And then my eyes. Again as a result of years of pain: my brain is in a whirl and hyper-sensitive to all the signals coming from my eyes. Moving my eyes certain ways freaks out my poor foggy brain and makes the world seem to spin.

Unsurprisingly, anxiety is also a contributing factor. Anxiety, for me, is a result of chronic pain and fatigue and my body being in a perpetual state of fight-or-flight for many years.

By working on my posture and core strength, and doing some neck and eye strengthening exercises, and keeping up the mindfulness practice, I can hopefully control the dizziness a bit better in future.

I can’t control the BPPV or the labyrinthitis, but at least there are treatments for them both so when they appear, I don’t have to freak out.

Looks like it will be a bit of work ahead. Me and the physio agreed that a nice goal to aim for would be for me to get to the point that I can cycle to and from work, without dizziness or risking my spine or neck. A little treat to aim for.

Sadly after some fairly serious neck manipulation by the physio, I’m in rotten pain tonight. I’m not supposed to move my head too much, lie down too early or sleep on my right side. But apparently I should feel a little better tomorrow.

Frankly it’s all a bit depressing but I’m trying to stay positive. It’s temporary. I can work on it. It will be lovely if I can get on that bike one day soon.

I’m sick of medical stuff now and hopefully will be able to start thinking about nicer things shortly – like holiday food and the garden!

* That was sarcasm, by the way. My body specialises in weird versions of medical things that don’t fit neatly into diagnoses.

** Um, so I slightly contradicted *, but it is a rare occasion when I do.

*** So … refer to * once again.


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