One day in August 2020, I suddenly felt lightheaded and off balance. It felt like I was walking on marbles, making walking nearly impossible. Being four years post strokes, we (Jane and I), became concerned that something serious may be wrong.
First we made an appointment with my family Doctor, and I explained the symptoms to him. They performed a series of test to make sure that I wasn't having another Stroke, seizure, or other obvious problem. However they determined everything was fine and sent me on my way.
Secondly, we checked the programing and pad positioning on my Walkaide. Everything with the Walkaide was fine as well, besides a little tweak or two. But we determined that was not the issue.
Thirdly, we went to see my Podiatrist. I had gotten my Botox Injections several weeks prior, and we thought that maybe the Botox had either migrated to other muscles, or he had missed injecting the proper muscle, throwing off my balance. However, we were assured that wasn't likely, but if it did, I would have to work through it, until the next Botox injection schedule, which was over two months away.
Well, I worked through it and my symptoms seemed to eventually go away. But I was so sure that it was the Botox that caused it, I cancelled my next two Botox Injection appointments.
Well, wouldn't you know it, in August 2021, the symptoms returned. I was frustrated, because my walking was going great, and I was now learning to walk without my cane, because my balance was so great. I mentioned my frustration to Jane, who said maybe it is Vertigo. Unsure exactly what Vertigo was I dismissed it, (mistake). I complained about my conditions to my PSW, who quickly told me it could be Vertigo. She told me there was a clinic in town that specialized in Vertigo, which I have now come to know as BBPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.
Here is the breakdown on BBPV
- A sense of movements of surroundings
- A loss of balance
- Visual disturbance
- Nystagmus - repetitive, uncontrolled eye movements
These symptoms may last for less than a minute
- BPPV results from a disturbance in the inner ear. It may be idiopathic (unknown cause), due to head injury or an ear condition
- Tilting the head up or down
- Lying down
- Turning over
- Getting up
- Risk factors:
- Family history
- Conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis
- Head injuries
- Change in environmental pressure, lack of sleep and stress are modifying factors.
Common Test and Procedures
Doctor checks for signs and symptoms of dizziness, involuntary movement of eyes and responses to certain head movements.
CT scan: CT scan of the head is performed to rule out other causes of the symptoms.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI scan of the head to rule out any other condition causing the symptoms.
Electronystagmography (ENG) or videonystagmography (VNG): This is done to detect the abnormal eye movement.
I immediately made an appointment at the clinic in Georgetown, Ontario, our hometown. We came to realize that the clinic INFOCUS REHABILITATION CENTRE, was located less then 10 minutes from our house. However, they were completely booked, until the following Friday. When I spoke with them, I asked how long it would take to correct the issue, I was surprised to learn that it depended on how long I had BPPV, if that was what I had. What I learned was that when you get BPPV, the brain realizes that you are off balance, and starts developing or learning new ways for you to regain your balance, so they give you an exercise to do to undo or untrain your brain.
When I seen the Doctor, she performed a series of test and determined that I did have BPPV, which she explained, was when CRYSTALS, or PARTICLES, become dislodged and are floating around in the inner ear canal.
She did a procedure to reset the crystals back to their proper place, and gave me an exercise to do for seven days, in an effort to untrain my brain, or to help my brain get rid of the bad habits it had learned. I have attached a couple of videos to better explain the whole process, but if you do have any of these symptoms, don't automatically assume that it is BBPV. Let your Doctor be the one to determine that.
There is one at least one positive I have from this whole experience. I was getting the maximum dose of Botox in my leg, to help reduce the Spasticity, every 10 weeks. I realize now, that I no longer need it, and have not had Botox in my leg since June 2020. If my experience helps someone else, well that's another positive.
Copy and paste these videos into your address bar, and you will understand a little better. It certainly helped me.