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Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common type of vertigo. Dr. Michael O'Leary and Dr. Ian Purcell explain ...
that an experimental contraption called the Epley Chair helps vertigo sufferers.
Tags:Epley Vertigo Treatment,Dr. Ian Purcell,Dr. Michael OLeary,epley treatment for vertigo,the doctors,TheDoctors,vertigo treatment,what is vertigo
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Treating Vertigo with an Epley Chair
Dr. Travis Stork: It’s one of the top 10 most misdiagnosed conditions. It starts with shaky eyes, dizziness, light headiness, and suffers often -- it end up actually falling down and injuring themselves without warning. I’m talking about vertigo -- 50% of adults who’ll experience this at some point in their lifetime and 70% of these are women. You know, vertigo symptoms, it can be a dizzy sensation, it’s the environment spinning, you can have nausea and vomiting, you can be a light-headed, you can have loss of balance.
These constellation of symptoms, and they can hit without warning. You know, modern medicine has come up with an incredible treatment for vertigo because it can be debilitating. It’s called the Epley Chair, and there’s only six of them in use in the entire country, like many vertigo suffers, Zee was active wife and mom who had a normal life, until one day, she woke up and her world was literally turned upside down.
Zee: I woke up in the middle of the night, spinning like I was on a ride at a carnival, and I could not get off. I didn’t know what was happening, I thought I might be having a stroke, I felt like my brain is exploding. Driving is my biggest fear. I’m just afraid that once I get behind the wheel, and have dizzy episode, and then it will be disastrous.
I had to go for an MRI, I had to go for a CAT Scan, they are looking for tumors or any abnormalities in my brain. I came clean as a whistle through all of that. In the meantime, I was still spinning. The doctor said that you might have something wrong with your middle ear or inner ear, and recommended for me to come to see Dr. O'Leary who is a specialist in dizziness and vertigo.
Dr. Michael O'Leary: Let’s take a look at ears and see how they look.
Zee: He said that my dizziness is caused by tiny crystals that have dislodged in my inner ear and settled there.
Dr. Michael O'Leary: So, there’s still a little bit of spinning going on, lets take a look and we’ll see if we can see any evidence of the crystal still being present. Turn you head to the left, and you’re going to feel this little vibration like people used for massage, this actually shakes the crystals in that inner ear.
Zee: Oh, it’s happening Dr. O’Leary.
Dr. Michael O'Leary: Okay, when it’s doing that, she knows that world is rock and rolling. They started to maneuver and here it is back. So this is what where doing, there are still some crystals in that canal causing that spinning. So we’re going to roll to the chair which is a little more aggressive way, to actually see if we can clear them out for her.
Dr. Travis Stork: Dr. Michael O'Leary and Dr. Ian Purcell are pioneers in the field of neurology and balance and are having great success with the Epley Chair with patients just like Zee. And you know, vertigo is so common, I see it in neuro all time, people are come in, vomiting, they can’t live a normal life, because these symptoms are so severe. So the Epley Chair, intriguing, how does that’s work?
Dr. Ian Purcell: The Epley Chair is a device that was developed to reposition loosed crystals inside the inner ear. These crystals are supposed to be there. They’re microscopic, little small rocks, they’re supposed to be attached the hair cells and they’ll let you know where gravity is. Sometimes these crystals break loose, migrate through the inner ear, in areas that become irritated when the crystals rub up against them, on the fluids of that area.
So the purpose of the Epley Chair is that, number one, diagnose and identify where the crystals are in either ear or where they are in this labyrinth or maze and then number two, allow us to reposition them back into an area where they don’t cause irritation.
Dr. Travis Stork: So quite simply, the crystals in the inner ear that allow us to have balance and whatnot become misaligned and this procedure can help realign them.
Dr. Ian Purcell: Yes.
Dr. Michael O'Leary: Literally rocks in your head, and now they’re loose, and you’re in trouble.
Dr. Travis Stork: Well, I want you all to take a look because Zee just recently had her first treatment.
Dr. Michael O'Leary: Ready all way down? Good.
Zee: When, I first going to see Dr. O'Leary, he was just doing some maneuvers with me. And he told me if these maneuvers didn’t cure it, then I’d have to go in this Epley Chair. And I thought “What’s this Epley Chair?” He said that it maneuvers your body to help get these crystals out of your ear area, or you feel like you’re in like Frankenstein movie and it’s going to spin you around and I’m going to come out as great woman with no dizziness.
Male: Those are kind of just like baby rollercoaster, it goes nice and slow, not too fast.
Zee: If this works for me, I won’t have to undergo surgery or anything like that, so I’m extremely grateful for it.
Dr. Travis Stork: So Zee, it worked?
Zee: Yes, well it worked. I’ve only spent three days since I have had the chair experience and of course, you have some dizziness right after that because you been spinned all over the place. But today, I’m feeling really good.
Dr. Travis Stork: And the nice thing is, you can do the Epley maneuvers without the chair correct?
Dr. Michael O'Leary: Absolutely
Dr. Travis Stork: So, I want to try these goggles out, and explain to everyone what’s going on with my eyes.
Dr. Michael O'Leary: Yeah, you know, in darkness now Travis, your eyes -- when you move your head, are going to compensate reflexively just like you’re playing on a street, on a skateboard, or skiing, and this feels totally natural. But if you look on what those eyes are doing on this set, absolutely looks wild.
Dr. Travis Stork: Are they going back and forth?
Dr. Michael O'Leary: They sure are and that’s what we called a reflexive saccade. If you have that when your head isn’t moving, your whole brain says some things terribly wrong. It shut everything down, almost like a computer closing down.
Dr. Travis Stork: And the important thing here is, there is treatment, but we’re talking about benign positional vertigo here. There are some very serious causes of vertigo, stroke, etcetera that you’ve got to rule out before we call it benign.
Dr. Michael O'Leary: You know, for you in the ER is really like that roulette wheel, and that the odds are about the same, 50% of all the folks you’ll see in that ER are this. And if it’s this, you don’t have to do any that workup. It saves big money, big injury to patients sometimes, that other 50%, the black side of the roulette wheel are a hundred different things it could be, just like you’ve said. But to catch this one which is so common and hard to catch, but once you know it, you know exactly what’s going on, you’ll know that you’re going to do fine.
Dr. Travis Stork: Well, thank you for sharing me the Epley Chair with this, thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations.