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Vertigo Question?

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My friend is a 50 year old male in good shape, normal BP 140/80, resting pulse 65, breaths 24, who crashed a quad last February in the desert going slowly (20 mph) in a set of rollers. He wasn't wearing a helmet and lacerated his skull from left front to right rear and fractured his C2. 4 weeks after the accident, he was told he could remove his neck brace while recuperating. Total time off work was 10 weeks with a clear bill of health to go back to work.

Almost immediately he started having problems with dizziness after the fall. Standing quickly, laying down quickly, rolling from the left side of the bed to the right side while laying down, turning his head to the left while in a recliner, sitting up while on a weight bench, standing from a seated position, etc.. All these things give him dizziness and make the room look like it is spinning for a few seconds. Then it clears up. Sometimes, he would loose his balance while standing and have to reach for the wall. A couple times when nothing was there to grab hold of he simply went down and then got back up.

His GP says it is part of turning old (hes 50) and that he needs to get used to it. He recently bent down to pick something off the floor and started stumbling forward saying he was getting light headed. He was prescribed 25mg of Antivert (in turn given 25mg of Meclizine because of insurance coverage), 3 times a day to alive this dizziness temporarily. It works somewhat, but he still has the symptoms. He gets nasal runage 24/7 while taking the pills. His GP says his ears are clear as is his nose and throat.

Could the head trauma he suffered back in February when his unprotected head hit the sand wash have something to do with this? He had a head scan done by his attending orthopedic surgeon prior to being released and was told all was OK. He was having a mild case of this dizziness then (May) and was told to talk to his doctor who prescribed the medication he is now on.

Or do all males over 50 get this dizziness and his time is here? He has never had this problem before when falling on the job (Firefighter) or while riding dirtbikes.

Thanks for your advice here Dr. Mark. Steny

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I'll defer to Dr. Mark if he has any advice. Since I'm here I'll throw out a possibility for your friend. There can be many causes for this dizziness, especially after the trauma that your friend sustained. One of the easy to fix causes is repositioning of the canaliths or otoliths in the inner ear. These are tiny crystals that move around in the inner ear. They tell your brain where your head is in space. If they are shifted out of position due to aging or trauma they can cause vertigo. Some Physical Therapists have been trained in diagnosis and treatment of this condition. It is VERY IMPORTANT that your friend has been cleared by his physician to undergo this treatment because it sounds like he could have had some serious brain or neck trauma. I have seen people who were dizzy for years get compete resolution of symptoms with as little as 1-2 treatments. Not all PTs are well trained in this area so make sure you look around to find someone who is qualified. I have a friend @ work who is certified, I can try to find out if there is a database of qualified individuals so we can find someone in your area. Let me know what city you are in and I'll see if I can track someone down. Your friends physician may also know someone who is qualified in your area. Finally, dizziness is not a normal part of aging. If your friends physician is blowing off his concerns and not looking for the cause of his dizziness he may want to get a 2nd opinion. Good luck, let me know if I need to help you find someone in your area.

D

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I had a similar situation(no injury,though) at age 59.Dizziness started one day,got worse for about 3-4 months,and then gradually went away.Got various diagnoses,but the one that made the most sense was BPPV(vertigo).Do an internet search,there's a lot of info on the web.Mine wasn't real bad,but was very disconcerting.I was able to drive and do mostly low level physical activity.I had just gotten an RMZ450,but I didn't get on it for 9 months.My balance was way off,so riding was definitely out.

During this time,my BP went up and I developed stiffness in the back of my neck.I saw a chiropractor for the first time in my life--relieved the stiffness and got the BP back to a more reasonable level(went down instantly-I could feel it).I've been taking a diuretic for the BP and it's now back to normal.

One thing about the BPPV--once we decided we thought that's what it was--every time you mentioned it ,someone had had it or had a close relative who'd had it.Seems to be fairly commonplace.

Good luck

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Good website. This is exactly the treatment, canalith/otolith repositioning, that I refered to above.

D

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It is an inner ear problem. I can be resloved by an ENT doc. That is where I would go.

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