Sue H

Have your eyes checked and invest in vestibular therapy!

Age: 57

Diagnosis: Vertigo, Vertical Heterophoria, and Vestibular Therapy

My vertigo journey began around Christmas 2020 where I couldn’t roll out of bed without a whirlwind of dizziness.

Thinking it was an inner ear virus as I’ve had vertigo before, my primary doctor who I adore is Dr. Tiffany Diaz and they prescribed an antibiotic and when that didn’t work, prescribed a round of oral steroids. I also wondered if I had eaten something that caused an allergic reaction because years ago as I had severe room spinning vertigo within hours of eating shellfish (crab legs) which I have not eaten since.

When the steroids didn’t do anything to make the vertigo subside, decided to rule out anything more serious and had a CT scan, neck X-ray (since I have herniated discs in my neck), MRI of brain, MRI of cervical spine.

Followed up with my Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Gregory Drake and he didn’t think my vertigo was a result of the herniated discs and then a new Neurologist Dr. Alkesh Patel (found a slight Chiari 1 Malformation I probably had from birth but he didn’t think my vertigo was caused by this because my spinal column had enough room). My primary doc, ortho, and neurologist all recommended vestibular therapy.

I went to Doctors of Physical Therapy in Schaumburg, IL and saw Denise Schneider and Rebecca Jainos who specialize in vestibular rehabilitation therapy. Their care and understanding of what goes on in the brain, ears, and eyes as well as the overall balance system of our bodies was incredible. They helped me progress and each time I attended and did the exercises I got a little more confident and balanced and the vertigo was subsiding. I also worked on the exercises at home. They did say that the vertigo could return after I performed my vestibular exercises and to not be alarmed since the body is adapting. I went 12 times and found it very helpful in reducing my symptoms. It’s like having a personal trainer for anyone who hasn’t experienced PT and I’d highly recommend Doctors of Physical Therapy.

During this time, I also realized that I had been doing way too much computer work due to my e-commerce business and thought it be best to go to my optometrist as it had been a few years (simply using reading glasses).

Unfortunately my eye doctor retired and so I saw Dr. Marsha Sorenson who happened to be in the practice. It was a truly what I call a “God thing” as she specializes in vestibular conditions of the eye. And also works part time with the famous “dizzy doctor” Dr. Timothy Hain, neurologist, downtown Chicago. Based on her testing, she noticed that I have a slight deviation with my eyes called “vertical heterophoria” which can cause vertigo. And so I ordered new glasses that have an invisible prism to align the two eyes, and also ordered a slight blue/green tint to the lenses which helps cut the sensitivity to light on the computer, Iphone, and TV. I am just new to the glasses and so technically the verdict is still out but I have found these glasses already helpful in treating my dizziness.

Overall I feel better and I’m still trying to figure out what “triggers” my vertigo, and have felt good about the process I engaged to get care. Appreciate this forum to share our stories.