I’m new here, and while I’d felt a little unlucky to have suffered balance issues recently, looking around on this forum, I can see that there’s a lot of it about, you all have my deepest sympathies. I have a few questions and wonder if anyone has recovered from something similar, and would appreciate any advice or observations.
I’m a 57-year-old male and have had a near clean bill of health my entire life but suffered a total loss of the balance function in my right ear seven months ago, overnight, apparently due to a virus. Luckily for me, my hearing has only been marginally affected. I should also add that since day one, I’ve always been fine with my eyes closed and I sleep well, and I’m okay sitting down and working at a computer (I wasn’t for the first two months) or watching TV.
Labyrinthitis was mentioned at first, but the general consensus is that I’ve suffered from vestibular neuritis, although no-one seems entirely sure. I’ve been rehabilitating with what seem to be the standard eye exercises, alongside 30 minutes of yoga and balance exercises daily. I’ve always been physically active, a bit of a bull in a china shop really, and have attempted to carry on with as much exercise as I’m capable of.
After about six weeks I got on the static bike and then resumed running (straight lines only at first). After about ten weeks I started running around corners and then playing some badminton, crazy difficult for the head but no apparent ill-effects and only the odd stumble.
Despite still having a rushing sensation in my head, after five months I went out on the mountain bike. I was pleasantly surprised by my balance and bike handling ability but it left me feeling worse in the following days (I thought it might have been the fast downhill sections that did the damage). I’ve tried riding only on the flat since then but it still leads to feeling worse in the following days.
I want to return to playing football, but haven’t felt that I’m capable of that yet, too much turning involved.
In the last two months, I would say that my balance skills have continued to improve but the rushing sensation in my head has not improved and I’m inclined to think it’s even got worse – my brain just can’t keep up with my eyes and my head movements.
Am I trying to do too much too soon? I notice that advice on recovery suggests that it can take several years (and sometimes there is no recovery). I guess I thought that trying to do all the things I’m used to doing would lead to a quicker recovery but maybe not the case?
Also, just to potentially complicate matters, for several years before the virus took my balance, I’d been suffering (and continue to suffer) occasional migraines with aura – no headache but dancing vision that builds to the point where I can’t cross a road due to not being able to work out where the traffic is. I use that scenario because it always seems to occur under broadly the same set of circumstances and culminates with that experience. It happens approximately once every few months, always between 5.30 and 7.30pm, when I get up from an afternoon’s work, sitting down, and walk briskly. I can feel it coming on after about 15 minutes of walking, it takes about 10-15 minutes to reach its peak, by which time I’ve also got a cold sweat, feel shaky, slightly nauseous and need to sit down until it clears, which takes 5-10 minutes. However, if I exercise vigorously in the evening, it never happens, it always only occurs in combination with brisk walking, which baffles me?
I’ve learned that there’s a strong connection between migraine and vestibular issues, could my loss of balance be connected in any way to my migraines with aura? And is the ongoing rushing feeling in my head actually a migraine?
I’m kind of hoping that I don’t have migraine issues and that I just need to be a bit more patient and my vestibular rehab is on course but might take another year or so? I’ve learned that migraine issues have a lot to do with diet and I really don’t want to cut out the 5 C’s until it becomes my only option.
I’ve waffled on a bit, thanks if you’re still reading, it would be good to hear from anyone who’s experienced similar (although bad luck if you have).