Three Types of Dizziness: getting to the bottom of it.
There are different types of vertigo and dizziness. Some types of dizziness are essential for healing and forming new pathways; some types of dizziness require movement; and other types of dizziness need stillness and rest.
Which type of vertigo/dizziness have you experienced? What does your body, mind and ‘spiritual’ self need for healing?
Brief, Positional, ‘Spinning’ Dizziness:
This dizziness usually lasts less than 30 seconds (often less than 5 seconds). It is very common when recovering from an inner ear condition or a migraine. The brief dizzy sensations are often error signals that the ‘body-brain’ will reset – this process is part of re-calibrating our balance. The more we practise our balance exercises and effectively treat positional vertigo (BPPV), the less we experience these error signals. Brief Positional dizziness is actually a good sign that we are changing and challenging our balance pathways. Avoiding movements because you don’t want to feel this brief, positional dizziness can prevent recovery of new balance pathways from forming.
Some people experience brief dizziness without head movements. This can happen when the balance pathways do a sort of ‘sneeze’ and the balance information is temporarily confused. It tends to pass quickly and settle. It happens more frequently in patients with vestibular paroxysmia. This condition is diagnosed with MRI and considered benign (not harmful).
Learning to actively find steadiness is a skill that you can learn (try the FREE Starter Kit program) it is a wonderful tool for people with intermittent dizziness.
Spinning for Longer Than 20 Minutes With Your Head Still:
These episodes of dizziness are more severe and require a good amount of rest. If it happens to you, consider either sitting until it passes in a comfortable chair or going to bed if you can. This may be a Meniere’s type inner ear fluid disruption that requires stillness to settle within the inner ear cavity. The more we move our head, the more it disrupts the inner ear fluids. Stillness is good medicine. Stay well hydrated, especially if you experience vomiting or diarrhoea. If you need to vomit, that’s okay. This is part of the body processing change and adjusting. Some people report feeling a lot better after they vomit rather than suppressing it with medications. There is no right or wrong. This type of dizziness usually feels absolutely awful and is transient.
This type of prolonged spinning could also be a variant of migraine where the brain signals are confused and need time to resettle. Stillness is essential here. Take your time. Many people report that darkness and quietness help. The body will settle in its own time, and being busy or rushing around can prolong the process. This is more common for people with vestibular migraine conditions. Remember, not all migraines include headache!
It is important not to overdo vestibular exercises (or any activity) during these tender times of recovery. Stillness is sometimes more beneficial than movement. So make sure you have the right information about when to be quiet and when to be active. It is a fine balance. You will need to gently navigate what works best for your body. Use your emotional support tools to help ease the anxiety and frustration at these times. You learn plenty of these tools on the Rocky Steady or Private therapy support programs.
Fuzzy, Prolonged Feeling ‘Not-Quite-Right’:
This could be due to the body/mind/emotions feeling unsafe, stressed, or fatigued. This can happen when the body and brain are trying very hard to re-set balance pathways after any sort of change. This can feel like jet lag or some people describe it as a hangover that doesn’t end. Try to understand what your mind/body/spirit need in order to rejuvenate. Do what is essential and important to you. Give the body, mind and brain a chance to rest and re-set often.
Find nurturing people to support you and help ease the pressures of daily life.
Practise asking for help when you are vulnerable- reaching out to others is an important part of building resilience. You are allowed to feel what you feel. It doesn’t make you ‘weak’. Remind yourself that no-one can feel ‘strong’ or ‘happy’ all the time either. We are all busy being human after all. It is quite normal to go through difficult feelings especially when experiencing intermittent or persistent symptoms.
‘Pushing through’ these symptoms and trying to be ‘stronger’ can actually put more pressure on the body and exacerbate symptoms. Make sure you find ways to feel safe or at ease in your daily life to help soothe the ‘alert’ response within the body. Try addressing any repetitive worries or limiting beliefs that might be keeping the mind stuck in feeling overwhelm. Our worries can make our dizzy feelings accumulate. There are plenty of strategies to help ease this and interrupt the worry cycle.
Understanding and witnessing our mindset is a useful tool when we are tired or symptomatic. Some people say things like, “I am always dizzy; I can’t drive; I don’t feel like myself’; when will I ever feel normal again?; I hate this; my body has let me down…” and this can make us feel even more stuck. The mind-body connection is strong here. Learning how to witness thoughts without attaching too much meaning onto them- this is a great skill for life. Cultivating kindness, patience and compassion within our inner dialogue helps us to feel befriended and ease persistent dizziness. It takes practice and professional guidance, so give yourself time to acquire these skills.
I recommend allowing 3 months to learn, practice and implement these holistic skills into your daily life. You can try this in the ROCK STEADY program recovery of persistent symptoms.
A final note:
Follow the guidance within ROCK STEADY and take time to understand your changing body, your mind, and your recovery pathways. Get to the root cause of your positional or persistent dizziness. Use a combination of medical advice and also exploring insights within your inner life. Once you can understand the underlying mechanisms and move forwards with new patterns in place, you can feel yourself again. Some people never find the support they need to get there. I hope that you do.
Reach out if you desire private therapy or personal support to help you navigate your healing.
Keep going at your own pace. Find a self-study program to learn more about how you can overcome symptoms in simple steps.