Vertigo, or dizziness, can last for hours or even weeks and can be debilitating. David Ushery reports how new guidelines for treatment are a sign of hope for the 3-million cases diagnosed each year.
Last year Melvin Weinstein, of Iselin, New Jersey, woke up dizzy one morning.
"I couldn't control anything. I just got out of bed and had to hold on."
Doctors ruled out a stroke but he spent six days in the hospital waiting for it to pass. Weinstein was suffering from the most common cause of vertigo. It's called benign paroxymal positioning vertigo, or BPPV, which refers to crystals in your ears.
"When they break off and get into the wrong part of our inner ear, then they disturb the normal functioning of that ear and the ear winds up sending the wrong signal to the brain and the brain interprets that signal as you spinning," says Dr. Phillip Kramer, a neurosurgeon.
Experts don't know why it happens.
Kamender Baykara has had BPPV on and off for about three years.
"I can't walk, I can't open my eyes, and everything is very bad."
Medications can help the symptoms and in some cases surgery used to be done to block the ear canal or cut the nerve but not anymore. The American Academy of Neurology recently issued guidelines for treatment.
(sot: Dr. Phillip Kramer, neurosurgeon)
"It's a simple maneuver that takes 2, 3 minutes and you lay them down and roll them in such a way so that the debris, the crystals that have gotten into the inner ear, roll through the inner ear back to the place where they belong," says Kramer.
For both Weinstein and Baykara it did the trick.
"He just keeps shaking your head until the crystals go back where they belong," says Weinstein.