Hyderabad: Positional vertigo is the most common cause of giddiness or vertigo which is not related to the brain but to the inner ear. The continuous bouts of giddiness caused by positional vertigo makes the individual rush to hospital emergency units and neurologists as they are scared that it may have something to do with their brain.
But that is not so. Dr N. Vishnu Swaroop Reddy, senior ENT surgeon, said, “Positional vertigo patients find that the room is spinning in dizzy spells lasting for a few seconds. The diagnosis can be confirmed in ENT clinics most of the time. Unfortunately many patients think it is related to the brain and approach neurologists or emergency departments.”
He said emergency departments and neurologists tend to send the patient for an MRI of the brain and neurological tests to find out the cause of giddiness. “Many patients are then put on tablets but they have recurrent episodes and usually go from one doctor to another. Many patients come only after six months to a year to an ENT surgeon to get evaluated,” Dr Vishnu Swaroop Reddy said.
One of the reasons for giddiness could be due to disturbance in the inner ear. It could be caused by viral infections, injury to the ear or the head. Sometimes bowing down or turning the head can also cause this problem. It has also been seen in patients who have prolonged tooth treatments where they have to lie down on the dental chair for surgical procedures.
ENT surgeon Dr S. Sridhar said, “This problem is seen mostly in elderly people. In the younger age group it is seen after a head injury or an operation. People must be careful of the exercises which are related to the neck and head.”
Most ENT specialists say patients come to them very late as the practice of neurologists referring them to ENT surgeons is not followed. It is only on trial and error basis or word of mouth that these patients come to them.
The treatment for positional vertigo is Semont’s Maneuvers which is a therapy carried out by ENT surgeons. There is no role of tablets in positional vertigo but severe symptoms require suppression through medication.