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Dizziness after stroke

My mother is 88.  She had a stroke over a year ago, which initially paralyzed her left side, but she is recovering mobility nicely.  She is on medication for blood pressure and high cholesterol and uses medication to help her sleep.  She is complaining of almost continuous dizziness (not vertigo!), which starts shortly after she gets up in the morning and continues throughout the day.  It is only relieved by lying down. She had seen an ENT doctor that confirmed that her innner ears are O.K.  She saw an eye doctor who said that her glasses are good.  She also saw a neurologist who prescribed some medication for dizziness which made her feel worse.  She also had four CT scans done on her head after the stroke, up to about 5 months later which did not show anything that could explain her complaints.  She completed a course of physical therapy which did not alleviate the symptoms.  She is getting desperate.  She is using a hearing aid and wears glasses.  Is there any exercise, test or medication that you could suggest?  She says that she would gladly undergo an operation if that was needed. I can provide additional information if needed, but since she lives abroad, her medications may have different names.  She is also taking a medication against depression, something like Prozac, but different.  Thank you, Julie
11 Responses
Avatar universal
Did the "ear doctor" do any tests?  There are many reasons that your mother may be experiencing dizziness....I have central dizziness...not the room spinning or anthing like that, but a fullness in my head, ears, loss of balance....I was diagnosed with a hypersensitive vestibular response following a CVA.  There are neuro/otol specialists who can test for a wide variety of causes...clonopin is often prescribed (not for me though, can slow speech and I already have a hard enough time speaking!) with very good results.  Good luck to you both!
Avatar universal
Did you ever get an answer? My father is going through the very same thing.
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Since she is on medications to help her sleep, she could be expriencing side effects from these.A sedative-hypnotic is a substance that depresses the central nervous system (CNS, resulting in calmness, relaxation, reduction of anxiety, sleepiness, and slowed breathing, and possibly - at higher doses - slurred speech, staggering gait, poor judgment, and slow, uncertain reflexes.
After taking sedatives if the sleep has been inadequate the the person can experience dizzy spells.
Fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac, Ladose) is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class.
Discontinuation of this drug can cause dizziness which can last for 4-6 weeks at times.
These are the possibilities that can be considered since most of the obvious causes have been ruled out.
Avatar universal

I just found what you wrote about your mother, and it was like reading a description of myself! I had a stroke just over a year ago due to a dissected artery in my neck. I was 41. This dizziness problem is something I suffer from too and my symptoms are EXACTLY as you describe for your mother. I was given the Cawthorne Cooksey (link below) exercises to do each day by my physiotherapist and they do gradually help. I was told that if they made you slightly worse at first then they are working. They are very hierarchal so the later exercise should only be attempted once the firs do not cause any dizziness.I was also told that I would probably have to do the exercise for at least a year before it was cured, although I would feel some benefits part way through the process.

The other thing is that I've been trying to work out if stress makes my symptoms worse. I have been having counselling once per week which does seem to help alleviate (although does not remove) my symptoms a bit.

I'm seeing my stroke specialist next week to talk to him in more detail. If I have anything else that may be useful I'll post it.

Cawthorne Cooksey Exercises:

Avatar universal
I had a stroke in April of 2010. I experienced dizzines and cloudy thinking, inability to make decisions. Short walks cause more dizziness. After 5 months its not any better. Would you please explain why.
Avatar universal
My mother had a stroke just before turning 62 in June and is experiencing the same symptoms as Julika's mother. The dizziness and nausea are almost constant along with fatigue. She has lost about 15 lbs. in the past 6 months as she is unable to eat due to the nausea. Unfortunately, she does not have health insurance and has paid out of pocket for an MRI scan of her brain and several other tests that show no blockage to her brain and that it is getting a good supply of blood. Her family doctor has prescribed a couple of medications for dizziness but they have not worked and she continues to get weaker and more frustrated. I hope someone, somewhere can find an answer for one of us.........
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