Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Vertigo - Not Just a Scary Movie

The Epley Maneuver

Miraculous is not a word that gets overused in my personal vocabulary.

I had vertigo for a long time, off and on and sometimes debilitating. A couple years ago, I had a fierce episode that lasted eight months. The Adele song “Rolling in the Deep” was my theme every morning when I woke, turned over and traveled from bed to bathroom, a mere few steps. I started each day with an initial wave of nausea that eventually calmed down but never quite disappeared. 

More than once, I slid into friends on both level and uneven terrain, was obliged to apologize and straightened my pace but I almost succeeded in knocking some of them off their own feet. People who’ve never had vertigo have no idea what an unbalanced plane the victim suffers; how equilibrium swings around like an out-of-control pendulum; what getting out of bed or rising from a seated position entails.

I’m not sure if all vertigos can be cured as mine was, but I know there are a lot of people who have never even heard of the Epley Maneuver and neither have their doctors. I was lucky that my physician, Dr. Vanessa Feliciano, on the staff of UW Medicine, sent me to the UW Medical Center Physical Therapy. She was convinced I could be helped, even though I was sure it was hopeless.

When I arrived, I was confronted by a waiting room full of people who were clearly disabled with canes, walkers, wheelchairs. I thought perhaps there was something wrong with my neck and/or spine, so maybe I was in the right place. I met with a physical therapist, Emmanuel Craig. As we chatted, we discovered we had friends in common and I relaxed and allowed him to manipulate my head and neck. I've never been comfortable having people fiddle with my neck.

When Emmanuel told me it was clear I was suffering from vertigo, I told him I knew that! but then he explained BPPV to me (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). BPPV is the [sudden sensation that you’re spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning.] I had a severe case. Surprise, surprise. What he told me next promised to change my life. It could be cured, simply and within moments.

I walked out of the UWMC PT, clearheaded and balanced. I was also astounded. That this treatment could be so uncomplicated, involve no drugs and leave absolutely no after effects, amazed me. I tried to share the information with others who I knew suffered from vertigo but was met with disbelief (I could relate) and skepticism. I told them to ask their doctor and make an appointment with a physical therapist.

I am well now. I know how to resolve my vertigo if it returns, and it may. I no longer need to fear falling and running into people, furniture, small children, etc. I don’t have to cling to walls. I get out of bed in the morning and sit up normally, ready for my cup of coffee, not afraid I will vomit it up.

If you have vertigo and you want to try curing yourself, you can follow the instructions in this video, which is what I will do, if mine returns. Have someone with you to help guide you along. It won’t hurt, isn’t complicated and can change your life. Good luck.

Thanks for reading.

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