I have a theory about the vertigo, shoulder pain and piroformis pain I’ve been enduring for the last half a year.
When I experienced the last awful round of vertigo (awful being characterized by not being able to stand up and also puking my guts out, no exaggeration, for several hours), I did a lot of online research. Yes, there’s a ton of misinformed advice out there, but I stuck to the more reputable sites like the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkin and other places like that. I learned that our ears have these crystals or rocks that can get all out of whack—although the first time I read about ear crystals, I thought it was utter bunk, I’ll be honest. Apparently these crystals get displaced and that’s what may cause the vertigo.
In addition to some drug treatments (which I am not really interested in, the side effects are not great plus I’d rather not be on drugs for the rest of my life), there’s a maneuver you can do which sort of treats your head as a snow globe and helps get those crystals back where they belong. As I read all this and looked at the maneuver, I realized that the increase in debilitating vertigo also coincided with some changes I’d made in my workout routines.
For the last 18 months, I’d shifted my focus from yoga and Pilates for strength to weight workout. I like being stronger and thought the weight workouts probably gave me more bang for my workout bucks. But this change meant that I neglected flexibility and also didn’t really get into any twisty, head down positions (hard to lift weights downward, right?). That meant I wasn’t doing poses that mimic the Epley maneuver, a possible treatment for vertigo. It also meant my hamstrings, piroformis and shoulder muscles weren’t getting stretched and strengthened in ways that mimic normal physical activities.
The week after Christmas, I went ahead and did the Epley maneuver at home and haven’t felt any worse (figured it was a low risk chance to take—doing that might help me and certainly wouldn’t hurt me). At the same time, I ordered a couple of new workout DVDs that are more about flexibility with strength rather than just strength.
So I'm incorporating the flexbility workouts while continuing with physical therapy. I’m hopeful these changes will help me with all three issues. It almost certainly won't hurt.
Here's a video of the Epley maneuver: