Vestibular Neuritis refers to an infection or inflammation of the vestibular nerve. The vestibular nerve is responsible for carrying balance-related signals from the inner ear to the brain, & vice versa. When this nerve gets inflamed or irritated due to an infection, the transmission of balance-related signals gets interrupted. This leads to a condition called vestibular neuritis.
Vestibular Neuritis causes dizziness and nausea among other symptoms. It often occurs following a viral or bacterial infection. The symptoms usually develop within a few hours of the infection taking hold. They are also most severe within the first two days of the beginning of the infection.
Patients might often experience a worsening of their symptoms when they move their heads. Although most symptoms typically go away after a few days, some might last up to a few weeks or months.
Vestibular Neuritis is usually not a serious disorder & its treatment is quite easy. However, you should see a doctor once serious symptoms develop. In this blog, we tell you about vestibular neuritis symptoms, vestibular neuritis treatment,& vestibular neuritis medicines.
Vestibular Neuritis symptoms:
Vestibular Neuritis symptoms may differ basis intensity & duration. The condition usually spans between acute and chronic. If a person experiences acute vestibular neuritis, they may notice that their symptoms tend to come on first thing in the morning. Some people might also experience constant symptoms that tend to get worse when they move their heads.
Some common Vestibular Neuritis symptoms include:
- Problems with balance
- Vomiting spells
- Problems with vision
- Difficulty with concentration
Acute Vestibular Neuritis symptoms may last for some time until the initial infection resolves. However, it might take longer for all the symptoms to completely disappear. Symptoms like headaches & hearing loss, double vision, and dizziness are usually not associated with Vestibular Neuritis. If these symptoms are present, along with other symptoms of Vestibular Neuritis. Then it’s imperative to get evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Vestibular Neuritis causes:
Vestibular Neuritis has many possible causes. Infections and illnesses usually make up most of these, while other conditions are not seen as commonly.
These conditions include:
- Seasonal flu
- Infections like rubella, mumps, measles, chickenpox, shingles, etc.
- Other bacterial infections that involve fever, body aches, & chills
Vestibular Neuritis Diagnosis:
A doctor can generally diagnose Vestibular Neuritis based on your symptoms and by ruling out other possible issues. They will begin by asking you to elaborate on your symptoms, any medications you’re taking, & any illnesses that you might be experiencing. Since Vestibular Neuritis closely resembles other conditions like Labyrinthitis, etc., a detailed list of your symptoms will help your doctor in diagnosis.
Your doctor may also prescribe additional tests to rule out other conditions that might be causing similar symptoms. These conditions include:
- Any medications that might be causing your side effects
- Any head injury
- Neurological disorders
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Overuse of caffeine, alcohol, heavy smoking, & tobacco use
- Overindulgence in some drugs
Vestibular Neuritis Vs BPPV:
Vestibular Neuritis Vs BPPV has been quite a debate. Vestibular Neuritis differs from BPPV in a way that it causes longer-lasting symptoms and those sometimes last upto several months. Patients might experience that their symptoms come on quite suddenly when they move their head, & often last for a longer time duration. BPPV symptoms, on the other hand, usually come when you tilt your head in certain directions. It also causes sudden dizzy spells and nausea that lasts for a shorter time duration.
Vestibular Neuritis symptoms are also quite pronounced, especially in the initial few days. Post that, they might recede or become chronic in nature. Also, once the underlying condition is resolved, BPPV usually goes away for good. However, Vestibular Neuritis symptoms may persist for a longer time period, even after the initial condition has resolved.
Vestibular Neuritis Vs Labyrinthitis:
Vestibular Neuritis differs from labyrinthitis in that people with the latter also experience hearing loss. Vestibular Neuritis often doesn’t cause hearing loss, so its presence usually signifies labyrinthitis or some other condition.
Patients with labyrinthitis also experience tinnitus along with vertigo & other symptoms.
Vestibular Neuritis treatment:
Vestibular Neuritis treatment consists of medications, exercises, & diet modifications. Depending on the exact cause of your infection, your doctor will also recommend you some supportive care.
Vestibular Neuritis medications that help control nausea and dizziness include:
- Antihistamines like diphenhydramine or meclizine
- Antiemetics including promethazine & metoclopramide
- Benzodiazepines like lorazepam & clonazepam
However, ensure that you only take these vestibular neuritis medications for about 3 days at most. Taking these for longer can hinder the brain from naturally adapting to your vertigo. This can lead to chronic vertigo & dizziness.
Vestibular Rehabilitation is another vestibular neuritis treatment method that your doctor might recommend.
Vestibular Rehabilitation consists of a set of specially designed exercises that help your body compensate for the vertigo-causing mechanisms. These exercises eventually help the brain regain control of the body’s balance & relieve vertigo & dizziness symptoms.
To get relief from vestibular neuritis symptoms, perform the exercises mentioned below.
- Begin in a standing position with your legs spread apart larger than shoulder distance.
- Then raise one hand upwards & slightly tilt your head to look at it.
- Bend at the waist level & focus your eyes on the raised hand.
- While in this position, stretch the other hand down and have it touch the opposite ankle.
- Repeat the steps on the other side.
Your doctor may also recommend certain other exercises. Some of these involve swaying back & forth. Here is how you can perform one of these exercises:
- Stand upright with your feet banded together.
- Rock back on the heels slowly. You may extend your arms out to maintain your balance.
- Next, come forward & shift the body’s center of gravity onto the toes.
- While in this position, slightly arch your back & bring your hips forward. Allow your arms to hand freely by the sides.
- Carry on this back & forth transitioning movement several times.
These vestibular neuritis exercises are quite easy to perform at home & help relieve the symptoms in a short time. For people experiencing vertigo & dizziness symptoms due to vestibular neuritis, vertigo exercises can help. These include the Epley Maneuver, the Brandt-Daroff exercises, & the Foster maneuver. However, always make sure to check with your doctor first before you begin any of these vertigo exercises.
Diet modifications for vestibular neuritis treatment:
Your doctor might recommend some diet modifications to you to help relieve your vestibular neuritis symptoms.
Some of these include:
- Avoiding foods & drinks containing excessive salt & sugar
- Avoiding nicotine
- Staying hydrated
- Avoiding alcohol
- Getting good rest and sleep
If you’re excessively nauseous, it’s best to avoid any solid food and taking fluids to remain hydrated.
Some of these fluids that you can safely drink to recover from Vestibular Neuritis are:
- Sports drinks
- Clear broths
- Desserts that are gelatin-based
- Ginger ale
- Coconut water
- Peppermint tea
If you have nausea, you shouldn’t indulge in too much fluid intake. It’s best to limit it to 1-2 ounces per day. Also, it’s good to stay away from caffeine & dairy products for the entire duration of your vestibular neuritis treatment.
When to seek emergency care:
Most cases of Vestibular Neuritis are mild & don’t necessarily need any medical assistance. However, some vestibular neuritis symptoms can occur with signs of stroke. When these symptoms appear, you should immediately seek emergency medical care.
These signs & symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
- Vision problems
- Numbness or tingling in arms or feet
Weakness on one side of the body