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Maneuver helps patients with vertigo

December 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
It happens to a lot of people. You wake up, try to get out of bed and you get so dizzy you have to lie back down. It often goes undiagnosed or mis-diagnosed, but for many this type of vertigo has a simple explanation, rocks in the ear and it also has a simple treatment.For Laura Acosta bad bouts of dizziness just started to happen out of the blue.

Link: Dizziness-and-Balance.com
Link: House Ear Institute
Link: House Ear Clinic

Sherry Weber didn't have an explanation for her dizziness bouts. They would happen on and off for months. Finally it got pretty bad.

"I was actually sitting in a chair and I felt like I was going to fall out of my chair," said Weber.

It turns out both Sherry and Laura have "rocks" in their ear. Or actually crystallized debris from ear fluids which have collected within a part of the inner ear.

"When the patient puts his or her ear down, or if they turn their head to that side these crystals will strike the balance nerve in that canal, and it will stimulate the brain in such a way that the brain thinks were in another position," said Dr. Jennifer Derebery, House Ear Institute.

The solution: the Eply maneuver. A series of positions designed to move around the crystals.

The idea behind the Eply maneuver is to move the crystals from the balance canal over to the vestibule.

"After you've done the particle re-positioning maneuver it is important to have some post maneuver follow-up with this. Patients should be instructed to sleep in a semi-upright position. They should not put their heads down flat for 48 hours," said Dr. Derebery.

The elderly, diabetics and people with circulatory problems or head trauma are more at risk.

Some patients may require anti nausea medications or in a severe case surgery.

Sherry says the scariest party was not knowing what was wrong so she urges other to get checked out.

"Let them know it is like normal. A lot of people have it and it will go away," said Weber.

Dr. Derebery says there's hardly a day when she doesn't see a patient with this type of benign positional vertigo. She says people with this condition don't usually have problems with driving since most attacks occur after rising from lying position.

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