Vertigo and Tinnitus

Vertigo and Tinnitus

Benign positional vertigo (BPV) is a common variety of vertigo which brings suffering to millions of people. There are many other forms of vertigo, some due to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, the side effects of certain drugs, ear disease and so on.

Tinnitus causes noises in the ears, and as many as one in three people over the age of 60 is affected. The noises are due to abnormalities of the hearing nerves and may be associated with hearing loss or with vertigo. The causes of tinnitus are head injuries, ear wax, age-related damage to the nerves, certain antibiotics, aspirin and quinine.

The sense of balance can be worsened in older women who smoke, according to a US study. This is thought to be due to the narrowing effects of nicotine on the arteries of the inner ear.

Many treatments have been tried for vertigo, some by complementary practitioners. Herbal supplements include ginkgo biloba and the extract of periwinkle, vinpocetine.

Five complementary ways to avoid vertigo

  1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and salt
  2. Use ginger or lemon balm
  3. Have a course of acupuncture
  4. Try Ayurvedic treatment with sesame oil
  5. If vertigo is caused by low blood pressure, use cold baths and eat food rich in wholegrain

Recovery from vertigo may be delayed by immobility. On the other hand, it can be helped by exercises.

The exercises given here are best performed under expert supervision because they may not suit the particular type of vertigo you suffer from. Some examples are:

  • walking backwards with the head bend sideways
  • head movements such as bending and rotation
  • bending forwards
  • walking in a circle
  • walking in a straight line while throwing and catching a ball with a partner

Relaxation and psychological advice are necessary to deal with any panic attacks and worry related to vertigo.

Regarding tinnitus, one way to deal with the problem is to use noise generators like hearing aids to create a pleasant noise which masks the unpleasant tinnitus. Other treatments include manipulation of the spine by a chiropractor, ginkgo biloba supplements and prescription drugs from the doctor.

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