Janice Brown, 52, has suffered from recurring labrynthitis and vertigo, off and on, for around 30 years. After just two sessions with a physiotherapist at Spire Hartswood Hospital, however, her condition is now under control. Here she tells her story…
“It’s been absolutely brilliant. It’s amazing that it’s all been done without drugs!”
Janice brown, 52
“It started in my early 30s. I’d get this constant noise in my ears and I’d feel dizzy and nauseous. It was awful. Even just to walk into my front room, to walk in a straight line, was impossible; I’d feel myself veering off, because it’s all to do with balance. My doctor would give me tablets, I’d take them for a while and, once it was under control, I’d stop. Every now and then it would reoccur and I’d have the tablets again.
“Last April, some of my family who live in New Zealand came home for a wedding, but unfortunately they all came down with a virus when they got here. I was the last one to get it, and I caught it really badly – I was being treated for cancer, so I had a weakened immune system because of the chemotherapy – and I had this virus for about six weeks. It went to my ears and it sounded like the ocean was in my ears constantly. It was awful. My GP told me he couldn’t prescribe the tablets I used to have, though, as there were concerns about them being linked to Alzheimer’s.
“Then to top it all, I inadvertently ate some goats’ cheese – I’m allergic to it – so I got a stomach upset and I went back to the doctor. The dizziness was back: even if I just turned over in bed, the world would go round. This time, I was finally given a diagnosis for it: I had labrynthitis plus benign positional vertigo. The GP said it would go off on its own, which it did, after about a week. But it kept coming back.
“Fortunately, I don’t drive, or that would have been difficult. And if I went out shopping, I’d go with my husband and hold onto his arm so that way, I walked straight! It’s quite debilitating, really. It makes you feel very nauseous and unsteady. I didn’t have it every day… but when you are affected by it, it’s awful.
“Finally, in December last year, I had a follow-up appointment with the oncologist followed by a session with the physio. I’d been seeing a physio at the Hartswood for a while, as I had to be able to lift my arms up for radiotherapy and I had a very stiff shoulder after surgery. After the session, as I sat up to get off the bed, the room just went round completely. It was awful. It was worse than before. The physio said to me, why don’t you try Fiona – she’s a vestibular specialist physiotherapist – and get her to do your ears? So I did, virtually straightaway.
“It’s funny because my husband had mentioned this sort of treatment to me previously. He was listening to a doctor on the radio while he was driving home one night, and the doctor was talking about this treatment for dizziness… he came home and told me about it but we didn’t follow it up.
“Fiona held onto my head and then turned me to one side, then right over. Then she turns you onto your other side, onto your back… she’s very gentle. It’s brilliant how she manoeuvres you. She manipulates you carefully; there’s nothing rough about it. It was painless.
“I must admit I felt odd after the first session – I sat in a chair all afternoon and I didn’t move. But after that, it was a lot better. And then I had a second session and it’s been under control since then; it’s been absolutely brilliant. It’s amazing that it’s all been done without drugs!
“There are little things I can do now. Bending down to pick something up – I used to get down on my knees rather than just bend over. Turning over quickly or sitting up quickly are possible again now.
“A couple of days and it made all the difference. I’d recommend it to anyone.”