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Sudden Vertigo Episodes With No Awnsers
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Sudden Vertigo Episodes With No Awnsers

I have been having sudden vertigo attacks for about 4 years now. They can be discribed as being on a merry-go-round starting slowly then speeding up then slowly stopping. They last for 3 minutes up to 38 minutes.I could have 4 a day and then none for a month. A lot of times they are brought on by carring a heavy item. I do have C6 herniated dic in my neck and degenritive disc disease in C5,6,7.I have been through every test possible MRI, MRA w/w-out contrast, ear tests, EMG. I was put on Keppra 500mg a day and thought I noticed somewhat of a change, they appeared to stop quicker, so I was raised to 1000mg a day and went totally without a episode for 3 months then one hit me & hard,I was just sitting watching TV and I felt a pressure on the back of me head and started spinning fast,I broke out into a sweat & was very hot, it lasted 18 min. and 2 hours later I had another lasting 6 min. I returned to the doctor (6th neurologist I have seen) and he said I just has a dizzy spell? I dont understand. No one has ever told me or had a explination of what is happening to me. I thought my meds would be changed, but nothing. Could this from the herniated disc in my neck? Doctors come right out and tell me they dont know.A slight tremor in my eyes has been noticed durring a episode. And my left pupil is larger than the other sometimes, mostly upon waking up. I have wrote before and did ask for contrast MRI of the spine it came out ok, they are going to do another too.They say its not Epilepsy. WHat scared me is the sudden sweat outbreak.I never had that before. Any ideas of what next?
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, keep in mind that I am unable to diagnose you because I am unable to examine you, this forum is for educational purposes. From the symptoms you describe, I suspect that you have cervicogenic dizziness (dizziness caused by your neck).  Neck problems and dizziness/vertigo are often connected.  Some times this is a simple connection of C1 (cervical vertebrae number one) malrotation and changes in the signals the neck sends to the head about where its position is (when it is confused it tries to correct the error and compensates causing dizziness).  Another possiblity is that your neck is precipitating migraine headaches (which seems the most likely to me) and you can have vertigo as the sole manifestation of your migraine (also called migraine equivalents).  Migraines do get better with some anti-epileptic drugs (although keppra is generally not the first choice) and could expalin your partial responce/improvement with Keppra.  There is a lot about your workup that I do not know (you have seen 6 neurologist), but from what you have presented here: I would recommend a migraine prophylactic drug such as Elavil 25mg each night, and see a physical therapist that is familiar with cervicogenic dizziness for physical therapy.  I suspect the sweating reaction is related to panic/stress from the reccurent attack, but if this recurs then I would consider autonomic testing (tilt table, cardio-vagal response, etc)
I would also recommend that you see an Oto-neurologist (specializes in dizziness/balance/neurology).
I hope this has been helpful.
16 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I am not a doctor but I just wanted to pop in and say I had these same things happen (with the exception of the pupil)when I had problems with my C3/C4.  C5/C6 is bad too. Prior to the fusion of the C3/C4 I had to take a LOT of various meds (trial and error)and had SEVERE dizziness and/or vertigo too along with breaking out in a sweat.  I am not familiar with Keppra but I do know that the Neurontin, Lyrica and Depakote caused a lot of dizziness.  I was told that because all of the nerves pass through your neck it can basically cause dizziness and that the nerves "crosstalk" and can send messages to the auditory nerves nearby for example. I guess the pain management doctor was trying to say that anything going on in the neck can cause this.  I have osteoarthritis in my neck with facet degeneration and osteophytes.  So, having all of those nerves compressed with osteo just really messed me up. Then add meds to the mix and I got worse.  The meds also caused panic attacks (sweating and heart racing)but I believe this was caused more so by the FEAR of passing out from the dizziness.  I would be at work when this would happen.  And believe me, I was sicker than a dog and could not work most of the time.  I am also not going to advocate a fusion here BUT when I had the C3/C4 done, all of the dizziness/vertigo stopped.  I hope you can find some help with this and hang in there.  I simply wanted to say that yes, cervical disc degeneration can cause dizziness.
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CCF said it best!  I forgot to mention that I was originally diagnosed with occipital neuralgia.  Then, a short time later, I was diagnosed with cervicogenic headaches with variant migraines.  But these severe headaches were caused by disc degeneration.  The facet and selective nerve root injections proved that the pain generator was the C3/C4 in my case.  But CCF is right. It seems the higher level the worse the headaches and dizziness.
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Avatar_n_tn
kathi49,
Thank you soooo much. I guess you can hear basically anything from a doctor and you will try and grasp something to make you feel better. But to actually have someone who has has basically the same thing does make you feel better. I thank you for your post and your time, it does put my mind at ease somewhat. Having no one to talk to about what is happening to me is hard when the ones you talk to dont understand. I am glad I am not alone!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
You are welcome.  I am glad I could be of SOME help but CCF pretty much nailed it.  I just want to add that I have had a lot of surgeries in my life but going through this cervicogenic/migraine thing was off the charts as far as pain goes.  Hang in there.  This is really tough to deal with and you are not alone.  I was amazed at how many people I ran into with the same problem.
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have had very bad vertigo for the last two weeks. Nothing seems to make it better & I can't tell when it is about to happen. I also had a lower lip twitch for two days two weeks ago & now I have had it yesterday & today. I have never had this before. I have no neck & back problems. I am 56 & in good health and very active.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have DDD and c6 pinched nerve. NeuroDr says I'm falling apart but don't warrent surgery. I have the aforementioned lovely vertigo. You need a therapist that can assist you with Myofacial release and neck massage. Your muscules and tendons are pressing on nerves and vascular tissues...this promotes the ever present, lovely, and HIGHLY annoying vertigo. (Can you tell I'm sick of it?)

My experience was this...when my neck started hurting worse, I told massage guy to ease up because it scared me....that's when the vertigo popped up. Since then, after reserching the web and places like this, I've found that was the wrong thing to do. After two sessions of neck work, it's a little better. I'm sure it will take a while to resolve but we all know that it takes a year to undo what comes on quickly....grrrr. Sara
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been reading with concern because I have very similar symptoms. I have a herniated disc from a car accident 4 years ago fought the pain with accupuncture and other methods and did everything to avoid surgery. Unfortunately I just started getting the vertigo, most severe in the morning, and loss of balance. My neck surgeon that I have been seeing over the past few years always told me to come back if I were ever to lose my balance. That said, with your experiences what to you guys recomend that I do?
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Avatar_n_tn
I forgot to mention that I also have one dilated pupil while I am going through my episodes.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,

I have been having problems with vertigo for a little over a week now. I had an "episode" last Tuesday night and have had vertigo ever since. I went to the doctor on Thursday, but the doctor didn't let me explain how it came about and dismissed it as common vertigo.
I just underwent a partial neuphrectomy on Oct. 19th due to a malignant tumor. They say they got it all but for pain meds they gave me Percocet, even though I told them that I was having problems with codeine. Anyway, less than a week after the surgery, I had to be taken to an urgent care center because of slurred speech and altered hand/eye coordination. They couldn't find anything wrong with the bloodwork (I have had many problems in the last year to which noone has been able to pinpoint any specific illness other than Fibrimialgia and Osteoarthritis). They told me to stop taking the pain meds, of which I had only taken at night to help with the pain. Then they put me on a mild pain releiver that was still in the codeine family. I only took it once, it did nothing for help.
But on Tuesday, my kidney had begun to hurt and I endured it all day and decided to try taking 2 percocets at 10 pm. By 11 pm, I had gotten up to use the restroom and when I got back into bed I had a sudden, excruciating pain in the front left part of my head, my neck arched, then my back arched, I couldn't speak, yell or anything. All I could do was grab for the sheets and I have no idea how long I was like that. Then the room went to spinning like crazy, I broke out in to a sweat and was very sick to my stomach. When I was finally able to move, my neck felt wrenched. For the next two days I couldn't get out of bed without pain and dizziness. I fell onto the bed after one attempt. I even suffered the spinning epsiodes while lying perfectly still with my eyes closed. Also, both of my ears were hurting and I have had a bad headache ever since that epsiode happened. On Thur. my boyfriend took me to see my dr. He wouldn't let me explain how it began, he just started asking me to squeeze his hands, follow his finger and other tests like that. After I did tell him about my ears hurting, he looked in them and told me they were fine. I felt like I was dismissed after he told me it was nothing more than common vertigo, gave me Antivert and told me not to call him right away, that it will go away on it's own. Well, it's not getting any better, in fact it's not responding well to the antivert like it did the first few days. I go back for my surgery follow up on the 22nd, but should I wait that long to get another opinion about this vertigo? I'm wondering if I had some sort of seizure, be it related to the meds or not...can anyone tell me what I should do next???
Thanks for taking the time to read this long description!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello, I have read some of your alls problems with vertigo, etc...I was in a severve head on collision where the other driver crossed the center divider and hit me head on. It totalled both vehicles. All involved were taken to the ER. Since the wreck, I have had severe vertigo lasting for days and days, blurred vision, headaches, sensitivity to sudden noises and sharp pains in my neck and wierd headaches that come and go....and when I get up each morning my head throbs like my blood pressure is a million over a million ! I had several MRI's done and shows only a bulging disc annulus at C5-C6 discs. I have severe pain between my shoulder blades and is very painful, but the Doctor/Radiologist who read the Thorasic part of the MRI's only said "no acute fractures or disc herniations, Two sentences for $8,000.00. So on the advice of a close realtive, I took Meclizine, available from your pharmacist,(A DRUG FOR MOTION SICKNESS) 1x/day and the symptoms became tolerable after about two days , felt some relief in a few hours the first day even! I was put on an antibiotic to make certain no inner ear infection was causing the vertigo. It didn't help, but without the Meclizine, I was/am disabled. I was wondering if anyone has had or heard of "minimal bulging annulus" on a cervical disc? If so, are my symptoms typical of a bulging annulus. Also I wondering what the difference is between bulging annulus and protruding disc? I hope my comments are helpful. Please help m. Is it not uncommon for a Doctor/Radioligist to not see on an MRI what is causing my pain in my shoulder and mid back? I am not familiar with these terms and my doctor seems to just want me to see another Neuro Surgeon to read the 4 MRI's. Sounds like a money scam, but I am not sure?
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Avatar_n_tn
MECLIZINE (AVAILABLE FROM YOUR PHARMACIST W/OUT PRESCRIPTION TOO!)MAY HELP YOUR VERTIGO. AN INNER EAR INFECTION CAN CAUSE VERTIGO I AM TOLD ALSO, THIS CAN HELPED WITH AN ANTIBIOTIC.
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Avatar_n_tn
I can definately understand your concern and know how you feel like. I have had Vetigo for 2 motnhs now !  Ask your Doctor about the Meclizine or a possible inner ear infection. I also suggest when a Vertigo attack hits, apply a hot wet, but not dripping wet wash cloth to your ear and neck below your ears and then try a cold,cold cloth the same way, it works sometimes for me. Hope you feel better ASAP!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a very rare hereditary disorder called episodic ataxia which gives me episodes similar to your description. This is so very rare that it would be unlikely to be the source of your vertigo, but if you have not found solid answers and a diagnosis I wanted to submit it as a possibility. Some of the types are associated with migraine and nystagamus of eyes as well. My type of episodic ataxia has not been gentically determined yet. I am awaiting a study at UCLA to get enough subjects to even begin, so they can do the needed expensive gentic testings as part of the study. I want to promore more awareness of this rare disorder thinking perhaps it is not as rare as now thought.. Good luck with resolution of your vertigo.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Everyone, Here's my story.  My husband is an 45 year old strong, healthy, and very much into the outdoors, eg. backcountry skiing, hiking to Everest Base camp last year etc.  I used to be an RN so I know a little on how to get the ball rolling when it comes to being sick.  Here's my problem that's been ongoing for 3 weeks.  My husband owns and runs a very demanding and successful company, and sometimes the stress involed in this would make most people snap literally.  He handles stress well, or so I thought.  3 weeks ago he a sudden pressure change in the head, and went into a extreme attack of vertigo, with nausea and headaches.  These attacks were happening every 1 to 2 days.  Very debilitating, he has stayed at home and usually sleeps for a day after each attack.  I have never seen such a strong, passionate man become so weakened so suddenly.  The attacks stopped after 2 weeks, and he is left just "not feeling great" Chronic headaches, and low energy.  We were attack free for 1 week until tonight.  It happened again, me and my 3 girls are very sad and feel very helpless.  We had a LP. MRI. tons of bloodwork, and testing of the various arteries and veins.  Everything came back normal except for degenerative disc disease, stenosis, and a compressed disc. He gets instant neck pain during the onset of such attacks too.  The ENT thinks its a virus...... I'm not surprised by this diagnoses, since the symptons have only presented themselves for 3 weeks, and the neurologist thinks maybe migraines.  I don't think they have it quite yet.  I was thinking more Meniere's disease. After Mt. Everest he developed constant ringing in the left ear, and now has 30 percent hearing loss.  WE were supposed to go skiing tomorrow with our girls, but now I know we will not.  please if anyone knows or has any adivce, please let me know.  We live in a great little town in BC but we do not have a lot of professionals that can figure this out.
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Avatar_n_tn
May I suggest looking into the possibility of Babesiosis?  Keep in mind the tests can be negative and a person can still have the disease due to a variety of strains, some which are not able to be tested for commercially.

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