Vestibular migraine or migrainous vertigo is a type of migraine which may or may not cause a headache. It causes a number of debilitating symptoms including vertigo, nausea, pressure in the head and ears, balance disorders which include fall risk, ocular aura and other symptoms. When an episode happens I am completely incapacitated.
Medications are given as a prophylactic (preventative measure), but once an episode begins medications cannot relieve all the symptoms. Anti-nausea medications help with the vomiting, if taken in time. Other symptoms must run their course throughout the episode. As a result, I have found four ways to help with symptoms to get me through an episode.
The Stare. Along with vertigo comes nystagmus which is involuntary eye movement. Your tendency when experiencing vertigo is to close your eyes and ride it out, but this actually prolongs the episode. The best thing to do is keep your eyes open and stare at a fixed object. This reduces the nystagmus and shortens the vertigo episode.
Other Focused Prayer. It is very natural and easy to feel sorry for yourself and even angry during an episode. This just increases your stress level prolonging your suffering. I have found that if I pray for others, it takes my mind off myself and focuses it on the need of others. My prayer list includes people with much greater issues than my own, as well as people who are dealing with everyday life stressors. I am not alone in suffering.
Create A Mantra. A mantra is something that you tell yourself repeatedly and it includes a truism. I have two different mantras that I repeat. One is a simple statement, "This too shall pass." The second mantra is a song written by Ze Frank. It is a song that goes "Hey! You're OK. You'll be fine. Just breathe." The story of how the song was written is a fascinating story you can read about here (http://www.zefrank.com/chillout/)
Social Network. A social network is a vital tool. Network sounds like a large group, but in reality it can be just a handful of friends or family members. I am ill and I need help. My network are people with whom I have the freedom to be my authentic self. With them, I can take off the mask of wellness and reveal how I am truly feeling. They are there for me at all hours and are just a phone call away when I am feeling in crisis.
Coping with symptoms without medications is essential. Medications are not magic potions and simply cannot help with all symptoms related to migrainous vertigo. These four things have become a sustainable, indispensable requirement for my well being.
My book Well contains other methods for coping with chronic illnesses of all types. It is available on Amazon here.