Dizziness: Crystals in the ear upset those affected
About one in ten suffers from acute dizziness in the course of their life. Suddenly everything turns, the ground gives way and those affected lose their orientation. Nausea and vomiting often accompany the vertigo attacks. Falling out of fear, sufferers are constantly on the lookout for seating or something to hold on to. They hardly dare to get scared out of the house - especially in winter, when snow and ice increase the risk of falling anyway. And whoever dares to take a step outside the door, usually has the next wall to look for a stop. One of the most common causes of such sudden vertigo attacks is the benign positional vertigo caused by certain movements, e.g. a look at the ceiling or a turn in bed, is caused and lasts only a few seconds. Since the seizures can be very severe, they often trigger the fear of suffering from a serious illness. "Those affected should definitely see an ENT doctor. With a simple examination, he can safely differentiate between benign postural vertigo and other possible causes of vertigo, ”advises Dr. Uso Walter, ENT doctor and CEO of the HNOnet NRW medical network.
The cause of benign positional vertigo is in the inner ear. There, in a certain part of the equilibrium organ, microscopic crystals in a gel-like mass normally measure gravity. If these small stones come loose, they easily get into the archways. With appropriate head movements, they whirl up there and irritate the senses. Since the other side does not transmit any stimulus to the brain, contradictory information is transmitted to the brain, which leads to a violent attack of dizziness. "The reports from the two organs of balance do not match. The result is a mess in the head, which is perceived as dizziness, ”explains Dr. Walter. Older adults in particular are affected, since the removal of the crystals is promoted by aging processes. Whiplash or severe cervical spine problems also seem to be able to trigger the disease. Women are affected more often than men. Basically, the disease can occur at any age, even in children.
In order to assess the clinical picture and therapeutic success, ENT doctors first interview those affected in a detailed discussion about complaints, triggering factors and impairments in everyday life. Then they check the symptoms. With the help of special glasses, otolaryngologists recognize the cause of the symptoms from the eye movements. If these occur in a head-down position during a so-called positioning test, the diagnosis of "benign positioning vertigo" is considered to be certain. The subsequent therapy consists of a sequence of defined movements that move the stones out of the arches again. Otolaryngologists use so-called "liberation maneuvers" such as the Epley maneuver. "These are several successive 90 ° rotations of the head around different axes," describes Dr. Walter the therapy. "Repeatable any number of times, the first treatments already lead to freedom from complaints in a large number of patients." Medications are ineffective with this type of vertigo, but in individual cases can symptomatically dampen the vertigo that occurs during positioning maneuvers. The success rate of the treatment is almost 100 percent. However, relapses can occur over time. (pm)