“The ear is the avenue to the heart”, Voltaire
Just as I thought I had experienced everything unusual with regard to this annoying, frustrating, challenging dis-ease, fibromyalgia, I developed another aggravating symptom- VERTIGO! It all began one month ago, at night, turning over in bed, the room began spinning. It was very frightening. It lasted about 30 seconds followed by nausea. I had another episode the next night as well. The morning after the second episode, leaning forward I had a very violent attack which prompted me to go to the doctor.
This vertigo is not to be confused with dizziness that is brief and passes quickly. Rather, vertigo is experienced as spinning. It was described to me as small calcium crystals lodged in the inner ear and could be encouraged to move through by a positional manoeuvre. The doctor asked me if I was game to try this technique and I agreed. Lying on the table my head was hanging somewhat over the end while he held my head and rotated it for 30 seconds. This manoeuvre is described on the Mayo Clinic site and it is suggested that the person can actually try this at home.
I can attest to it being one of the worst experiences I have had in many years. The doctor did this three times, both sides, and the nausea and dizziness became unbearable, resulting in the need for a nurse to administer a Gravol injection. Thinking about this nausea and dizziness actually makes me ill again. Obviously the manoeuvre did not work.
A few weeks went by and on the advice of friends I made an appointment with a physiotherapist who specializes in vestibular issues, among them vertigo. An hour and a half visit, testing me, wearing a face mask with wires attached to a computer, he watched my eye movements on the computer (after he had determined which ear and where in the ear the crystals were located- the horizontal part of this convoluted anatomy), then the treatment which was non-nausea inducing and only slight dizziness happened. I had been shaking beforehand fearing the worst, and relaxed as I knew he knew what he was doing. Miracles of miracles- it worked! I was told to take it easy for the rest of the day and to keep my head still neither looking up nor down for the rest of the day and sleeping on my back that night. The following day I was to test the vertigo and luckily for me this one treatment worked. He had told me that there was an 85% chance it would work first visit and if a second was needed it would rise to a 95% success rate and if a third was needed it would definitely move those crystals along! I smile now remembering waking up without fear of the room spinning.
This physio, Steve, is amazing in that he knows so much about fibro and migraines (which he believes are similar in that they are the result of people who have different ‘brain wiring’ than most others). For that reason he handles fibro patients with great sensitivity and understanding, given our own sensitivities. I am so lucky to have found him.
But to my other ear problems. They crackle, feel like they are submerged in water, feel full, flutter and I have other odd sensations that come and go. My hearing is not good, particularly on certain days. What is to be done? So little is known about fibromalgia that each and every symptom, although shared by those of us with this condition, is not properly diagnosed by specialists. I try heating pads to my stiff neck, meditation, exercise, but to no successful end. My chiropractor does give me some degree of relief, but it is temporary. In 2010/01/08 I wrote about Fibromyalgia and Hearing Loss discussing tinnitus, TMJ and the involvement of the 7th cranial nerve. Comments from others encouraged me as I realized I was not alone. It seems this central nervous system of ours invades every avenue of the body bringing about weird symptoms!
Fibromyalgia remains a mystery to me in spite of the lonely journey I have taken to explore this strange land. I am still going up and down various paths searching for the right one. The discovery won’t come in my lifetime.