DENVER — You go to bed and feel fine but wake up and the whole room is spinning. The feeling is called vertigo, and more than 50,000 people in Colorado are coping with it.
Kathleen Zaccar said that when vertigo struck her it was terrifying.
“You almost feel like your falling although you can still feel the bed,” Zaccar said.
She’s one of millions of people who have had to call in sick from work, or to get help with the kids because they can’t even begin to function with their world spinning out of control.
Dr. Carol Foster of the University of Colorado School of Medicine said vertigo is caused when gravity particles in your inner ear become misplaced, knocking your sense of space out of whack.
“The spinning that people call ‘spinners’ when they’ve had too much alcohol is a feeling of rotating and revolving,” Foster said. “This is several times faster, so very fast you can’t recognize things in the room.”
Foster designed a simple maneuver to treat vertigo without medication, that involves the patient simply putting their head in an upside-down position.
“We have them bring their head half way up, and then we have them bring their head all the way up and that allows the particles to exit,” Foster said.
Foster said she has even used the method to treat herself when she had a bought with vertigo.
Experts say two to three percent of the population will experience some form of vertigo in their lifetime.
The effect can create a spinning sensation that moves from side to side, or up and down. Other types of vertigo make the patient feel as if they are falling.
Doctors say although the condition is extremely unsettling, it usually does not pose any serious health risk, although you should contact your doctor if you experience symptoms. For more about current vertigo treatments you can visit http://www.uch.edu/conditions/ear-nose-throat/dizziness-vertigo/.