2021-04-18

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How is vestibular neuritis diagnosed?

vestibular neuritis

Vestibular Neuritis is as vestibular disorders causing a similar range of symptoms, chronic vestibular neuritis treatment often takes leaves out of vertigo treatment.

Vestibular Neuritis is a disorder that leads to Vertigo & Dizziness in patients. It is caused by inflammation of your vestibular nerve, a nerve that sends information about balance to your brain.  When this nerve gets inflamed, it causes disruptions in the actual information flow between the brain & the vestibular system. When information isn’t properly relayed to the brain via the vestibular system, it leads to the patient feeling dizzy & disoriented.

Vestibular Neuritis usually improves after a few days, although the symptoms can take about three days to go away on their own. Patients may also feel recurring periods of dizziness & vertigo for several months after a vestibular neuritis episode.

Vestibular Neuritis Symptoms:

Vestibular Neuritis symptoms usually appear quite quickly, & are generally more intense when they first appear.

These Vestibular Neuritis symptoms include:

  • Sudden onset of vertigo,
  • Issues with balance,
  • Nausea & vomiting,
  • Dizziness,
  • Trouble with focus & concentration

Vestibular Neuritis causes:

Most of the cases of Vestibular Neuritis in patients are caused by a viral infection or a bacterial one. The infection can either occur inside the inner ear or any other part of your body. Some of the most common viral & bacterial infections that can cause Vestibular Neuritis are:

  • Measles,
  • The flu,
  • Chickenpox,
  • Mononucleosis,
  • Rubella,
  • Mumps,
  • Shingles,
  • Chicken pox

Although certain bacterial infections can sometimes cause Vestibular Neuritis, the cause is most likely to be viral infections. Bacterial infections are most commonly seen in cases of labyrinthitis.

Vestibular Neuritis Vs Labyrinthitis:

Vestibular Neuritis & Labyrinthitis are often confused with one another. They have similar symptoms, are both caused by bacteria or viruses, & both cause vestibular symptoms in patients. Although there are many similarities, there are slight differences. Labyrinthitis causes inflammation in both the vestibular & the cochlear nerve, which in turn, also causes problems with hearing & ringing sound in the ears, also known as tinnitus. This, in addition to the vertigo symptoms labyrinthitis causes in patients. Vestibular Neuritis, on the other hand, only causes vertigo symptoms in patients.

Vestibular Neuritis Diagnosis:

Vestibular Neuritis diagnosis can be difficult to reach, most in part because its symptoms can resemble those of other vestibular disorders as well. Before making a proper vestibular neuritis diagnosis, your doctor will attempt to rule out any other possible causes of your dizziness.

These causes include stroke, any other neurological conditions, & other possible causes of Vertigo. These causes can be determined & isolated by performing MRI scans or by asking you to perform certain specific movements to test your vestibular reflexes. Your doctor will also give you some hearing tests to accurately determine exactly which nerves are affected by the condition you’re presenting with.

Alongside, your doctor will also likely give you nystagmus tests that help diagnose the exact cause of your Vertigo symptoms. Depending on the results of these various vestibular neuritis tests, your doctor will draw up a strategy for vestibular neuritis treatment.

Vestibular Neuritis treatment:

Depending on the various vestibular neuritis tests given by your doctor, they will determine an exact treatment strategy for your particular condition. If your vestibular neuritis symptoms occur due to a viral or a bacterial infection, then your treatment plan will include medications to treat that particular infection so that you feel better. It’s important here to note that there is no standard treatment or medication for Vestibular Neuritis, so your doctor will focus on medicines & therapies to relieve the symptoms one at a time.

Your doctor will likely give you certain medications for Vestibular Neuritis induced dizziness & nausea. These include:

  • Diphenhydramine, also known as Benadryl,
  • Meclizine, also known as Antivert,
  • Lorazepam, also known as Ativan,
  • Diazepam, also known as Valium

Most of these medications for vestibular neuritis are also Vertigo medicines used in Vertigo treatment. Since the presentation of both Vertigo & Vestibular Neuritis is as vestibular disorders causing a similar range of symptoms, chronic vestibular neuritis treatment often takes leaves out of vertigo treatment.

If your symptoms don’t get better even after using the above mentioned medications for vestibular neuritis, then your doctor will recommend that you try vestibular rehabilitation therapy. Vestibular Rehabilitation therapy involves certain exercises that help reinstate your body’s natural balance & train the body to compensate for the lack of the natural vestibular system.

Examples of the exercises that come under the umbrella of vestibular rehabilitation therapy are Brandt-Daroff exercises & the Epley Maneuver to reposition displaced calcium crystals inside the ears, among others.

It’s important to note that when you first begin to perform the recommended vestibular rehabilitation therapy exercise(s), you might feel like your symptoms are getting worse. However, the feeling is natural & will quite likely go away in a few days or weeks.

Overtime, you’ll feel considerably better & more in control of your body & vestibular functions after a period of regularly performing vestibular rehabilitation exercises.

How long does it take to recover from Vestibular Neuritis?

Based on your exact diagnosis, you might take anywhere from a few days to about three weeks to fully recover from your Vestibular Neuritis symptoms.  Although, keep in mind that even if you do make a full recovery, you might still experience occasional dizziness & other symptoms for some time after.

Vestibular Neuritis patients often make it hard for patients to do a lot of physical activities like walking, standing for long, & running. However, when you’re in the process of recovering from Vestibular Neuritis symptoms, you should definitely indulge in physical activities as much as you possibly can. This will help ensure that your body feels as much in balance as possible, & also help in the process of regaining your balance.

It’s also important to note that there are very few cases of Chronic Vestibular Neuritis seen among patients, & most people tend to get better in a few days or weeks at most. Vestibular Neuritis symptoms can interfere with your life on a daily basis however, & the best course of action is to give it time to go away on its own.

In case that doesn’t happen & the Vestibular Neuritis symptoms persist, you might need to revisit your doctor so that they can give you a proper checkup again & determine another way of treating you.