Vertigo Has Been Spinning Me Right-Round (and Upside Down)

In the 3+ year history of this blog, there has never been a three-week hiatus. I didn’t plan on this last one. I simply couldn’t look at the screen. Those of you who hang with me on Facebook know I’ve been fighting vertigo, and it turns out it’s a lot more common than I thought.

What do I mean by “vertigo?”

Vertigo is when you feel like you’re rotating, rolling and spinning, even when you’re still. Combine this with some walking and wicked motion sickness and you have one wildly unhappy Jenny.

vertigo, BPPV

Yeah…imagine being whipped around in this Epley chair.

Or having the floors and walls move in the Hippie Balance Booth

Or having the floors and walls move in the Hippie Balance Booth

What the heck causes it?

The inner ear can become inflamed because of illness, or in my case, a bad allergy attack.

Also, for those of us over 40, the small crystals or stones found normally within the inner ear tend to become more easily displaced and cause irritation to the cilia of the inner ear’s semicircular canals, leading to vertigo.

Note: When your mom says “you have rocks in your head,” you really DO. Who knew, right?

Also, according to the auditory people? 50 percent of people are at risk to develop vertigo in their lifetime. My doc handed me a six-page leaflet on “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo” (BPPV) and said he sees it several times a year.

How do you get rid of it?

The first few days I had it, I’d have said the only way to calm it down was to remain perfectly still. I spent those days looking at my phone for short periods with my head tilted and one eye closed.

But then I went to an auditory and balance center for testing and they put me in contraptions like the ones you see above. The great thing is, I found out my hearing is normal. The downside is all that jostling made everything worse.

Does anything help?

The night of the testing, my husband and I decided to take my sister-in-law’s advice (she’s a PT) and try the “Foster Half-Somersault Maneuver.” (Stop laughing.)

The problem for me was getting from my bed to the living room where I had room for the Hubs to help me do it. Every time I walked from the bed to the bathroom and back, I hurled. Every time I walked to the kitchen to eat was the same story. Finally, the Hubs let me close my eyes and hang onto his belt to slowly get to the living room.

It took five tries for the Foster maneuver to work for me that first time, and I lost my stomach in between everyone one of them. But that kept the vertigo away for a day or so, which was AWESOME.

Below is a video of THE MOVE. Without it, I promise you I would still be hurling every time I walked.

Cute, eh? I’ve done this thing in most of the rooms at my house, my backseat and the conference room at work. Everyone in my circle now knows what I mean when I say, “I had to do the move.” Really, it’s kind of sad.

You see, this stupid vertigo comes back. I actually fear it more than blood clots since I KNOW what causes those. As far as what causes the spins? I’ve got nothing.

But at least I know if I’m patient, and roll around on the floor long enough, it will eventually go away. For a while.

Have you, or anyone close to you, ever experienced vertigo? How long did it last, and what made it go away? Enquiring minds are dying to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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20 Responses to Vertigo Has Been Spinning Me Right-Round (and Upside Down)

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  2. I had vertigo for the first time in mid-July, and it is no fun, no way, no how. I didn’t have it as bad as yours sounds, but it was still awful, especially working, which for me is eight hours plugged into the Matrix, umm, I mean, working on the computer.

    So, I feel for you! {hugs}


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      OMG, Elizabeth, how did you get your eyes to focus on the computer without a blinding headache? Seriously. Did you have to close one of your eyes? The computer has been my biggest challenge. And THANK GOD for Smartphones because I can do those laying down. Not moving. With one eye closed. It works like a charm.


      • Well, Jenny, it was interesting. I used all my sick leave last fall with the PE, so I couldn’t take much time off at all, and I had the darn vertigo for weeks! 😦

        I had an eye-patch from a few years ago when I had a tear in my retina, so I did the “pirate queen” thing. It was a hoot to have people come around my cubicle wall, and stop short at the sight, but, as you know, it wasn’t that funny!

        But yeah, I did think I was going to hurl from time to time. I almost bought Dragon so I could dictate. It was bad, but I can confirm those bloody rocks do settle down after a bit.



  3. You did have comments closed yesterday when I tried to comment. So no, the zombies did not get me.


  4. karenmcfarland says:

    I can’t believe you still have this! What is the doctor’s remedy for this? Do they go in and do outpatient surgery or something? I mean, the maneuver sounds a bit kinky, but doable…every other day? Holy Cowbell girlfriend! You must be completely miserable. I wish there was something I could do. ((Hugs!))


  5. Julie Glover says:

    Oh my goodness! I knew you’d had some vertigo, but this sounds awful. And totally unfair! (I’m wondering what Baby Girl thinks of your new move.) Hope you’re better now!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Do you know what’s so funny, Julie? Every time, she catches me doing THE MOVE, she’ll do it next to me, under me, behind me… I had her doing her half-somersault into my behind the other day and we just started laughing. It’s incredibly cute.

      The vertigo is wicked because it sets off motion sickness. I can hardly think when I’m like that. I can’t drive, and I can hardly be up. I see the audiologist tomorrow and I absolutely can’t wait. I want this FIXED.


  6. I hate to press the LIKE button on this one, Jenny because I HATE that this is happening to you.

    I’ve never experienced this, but my aunt had it once. It lasted two weeks for her & it hasn’t yet happened again.

    Your Good Egg Karma is too good for you to have to suffer this AND dog-hip surgery back-to-back. So. Not. Fair!

    Sending vibes of “be HEALED(!)” from the stars over Texas.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Gloria, I tell you it was Summer in Crapville! We’re delighted that it is now officially Fall. I just couldn’t take any more summer, if you know what I mean. 🙂

      Well, the upside is I get to see Margie next month. Honestly, it’s helping me keep positive to focus on that. I’m getting everything ready to go, and I’m SO excited. And in the meantime, this freaking vertigo better GO AWAY.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      By the way, it is just smashing to see your smiling face back online. We all MISSED you!


  7. aerobabe619 says:

    First let me say,you are on my prayers list.Of all aliments to have,this one is a real nasty one.
    My vertigo is two stories,The first i was working for a civilian company that did contracts for the Dept.Of Defense.( you still get treated like your in the military).I was assistant to the president of the company. We had our annual company party, whoohoo we didn’t go bankrupt,and we would get pizza.We eat,he says to me” I’ll be outside”,leaning to the left runs out the door and looses his lunch.For one week i had to travel to his home to work.He tried the homopathic road,no success,ended up going to a E.N.T..The doc gave him medicine,ear drops and anti-nausea meds.It took for him one-week.But i hate to tell you,after that for years,he easily would be hit with it more often.
    Second story,right before christmas of this year,i wake up feeling quezy,go to walk to the bathroom,lean to the left and walk right into a wall.Black eye,next day,I knew what it was from bosses experience,got in touch with my primary.sent me to a E.N.T.,And put me on anti-nausea meds(ahhh-sleep) but i had to ride it out,took a week,seems to be the advg, But word to wise,don’t mess with it,ignore it,or try yourself,in case there is other inner ear issues,or your going to have hearing issues. Compazen was the anti-nausea med.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Cheri, they gave me a shot of Compazene in my hip the first day because the nausea was so bad I couldn’t keep anything down. Since then I’ve been taking Bonine. Sometimes I lose it, and sometimes I keep it down.

      I start VRT (vestibular rehabilitation therapy today, and I’ll likely do a post on it, since I find the whole concept interesting. You know, the whole if-it-wasn’t-happening-to-me kind of interesting.


  8. Sharla Rae says:

    This has been one of the worst summers in CA for allergies. I’ve had mild bouts of dizziness but to your extent, thank God! My symptoms were coughing and coughing hard! Post nasal drip meds came to the rescue and also helped the dizzy spells.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m glad it hasn’t been worse for you, Sharla! The interesting thing is that many people state that the allergy meds themselves are making them dizzy. That wasn’t the case for me – for me it was a trauma to the ear (a wicked allergy attack) that knocked the crystals loose and let them travel to the wrong place in my inner ear. However, for many people, it is their meds that are giving them vertigo.


  9. I hope you’re feeling better, Jenny! Vertigo’s no fun at all.

    This may have nothing at all to do with your symptoms, but I’ve been reading studies about FODMAPs — a type of carbohydrate in wheat and some fruit, dairy and legumes — that cause symptoms nearly identical to celiac disease/gluten intolerance. One case study I read mentioned migraines and vertigo. I’m sure you have more than enough info and tips to sort through (and may know all about this already), but in case you’re interested, NPR covered the sensitivity:


  10. Tom Sawyer says:

    I had a quick snoop through your blog, and didn’t really expect to see anything relevant to me. Until I saw this entry.

    I first started feeling periods of vertigo in early spring of last year. Not nearly as severe as what you’ve experienced, rather a sort of vague, floaty sensation, punctuated by brief periods of bad disorientation. Initially it was just the occasional dizzy spell, but as summer progressed it became more frequent. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to being bellow deck on a large ocean-going ship, with all the physical sensation of movement, but none of the visual cues. As I was walking along, it felt at times as though the floor or sidewalk was either falling away from me, or coming up to meet me.
    It was a very odd sensation.

    Anyway, sometime last autumn, I don’t know exactly when, it kind of subsided, and eventually stopped altogether. Needless to say, I was very relieved.

    Fast forward to this past March. Walking home from work one evening, I was almost brought to my knees with the overpowering perception of the sidewalk about to hit me in the face. That didn’t happen, but it looked like it was about to. It was the most bizarre sensation I’ve ever experienced, and to this day, despite seeing a doctor to try to get it diagnosed, I have no idea what caused it, or if it will stop.

    In my case it isn’t incapacitating. I can still walk to and from work without incident, although there are moments when I need to stop moving, lest I veer off the sidewalk and into traffic. My big fear is this: what if this disorienting, spinning sensation comes over me while driving? It hasn’t yet, but it does make me question whether I should drive at all.

    Fingers crossed, it won’t become some sort of “new normal”.


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