The American Academy of Neurology has developed new guidelines for treating vertigo which are described as easy and quick cures. Vertigo is an inner ear disorder that is a common cause of dizziness, and this research work is published in the May 27, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The disorder causes a feeling of spinning or whirling when the head is moved in certain ways, such as looking up or bending. The feeling lasts a short time but can be severe. No one likes to take drugs for such events, but that is exactly what has happened to thousands of people who have reported this occasional dizziness to their doctors.
The new guidelines say that vertigo can be treated with simple maneuvers—a series of head and body movements performed by a doctor or therapist while the patient sits on a bed or table.
Author Terry D. Fife, MD, of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, says “This type of vertigo is easily treated. Instead of telling patients to ‘wait it out’ or having them take drugs, we can perform a safe and quick treatment that is immediate and effective.”
New thinking about this disorder believes it to be caused by loose calcium carbonate crystals that move in the sensing tubes of the inner ear. The maneuvers that trained neurologists can perform actually move the calcium crystals out of the sensing tube and into another inner chamber of the ear, from which they can be absorbed.
The guideline also reviewed whether patients can perform the maneuvers safely and effectively at home. “Having patients treat themselves using home exercises seems to pose little risk, but there is not sufficient evidence that this is as effective as maneuvers done by a doctor or therapist,” Fife said. Still, it sounds as if it will be easy for doctors to show patients how to perform these simple head and body maneuvers at home in case of recurring problems.
A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as epilepsy, dystonia, and other brain issues.