Vestibular issues can cripple us, especially when they come with migraines.
Luckily, our brain and body are very plastic and when we can remove the cause and lower inflammation, we can relieve many vestibular symptoms and live normal lives again.
In this article, we will cover what vestibular neuritis is and how it can be connected to migraines and headaches from a holistic and functional perspective.
What is vestibular neuritis?
Vestibular neuritis can be broken down by its root words:
Vestibular = our balance and coordination
neur = neurons and nerves
itis = inflammation
So vestibular neuritis = inflammation of the vestibular nerve
Vestibular neuritis usually comes on suddenly and quickly and usually comes with a sense of things being “off.”
Things you are looking at may feel different, the way you move may be altered, you may bump into things and your head may feel “off.”
If you start experiencing vestibular neuritis symptoms it is important to go and get tested to rule out more serious issues immediately and if it is a viral infection that it gets dealt with as soon as possible to prevent further damage to nerves.
See the pin below to understand where vestibular neuritis is:
Symptoms of vestibular neuritis
- Difficulty concentrating
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Difficulty balancing
- A sudden and severe feeling as if you are spinning or swaying commonly know as vertigo
Treatment for Vestibular neuritis
The standard treatments would be to deal with the usually suspected viral infection that caused the nerve to become inflamed first and then do vestibular training to reset how the brain is processing information coming from the vestibular system so that it doesn’t keep interpreting dizziness.
See this video to get an idea of what vestibular neuritis is from a balance specialist.
Causes of Vestibular Neuritis
Vestibular neuritis is generally understood as being caused by a viral infection in the vestibular system or somewhere else in the body that has created inflammation in the vestibular nerve.
Often this will cause deterioration and damage to the nerve leading to loss of function and all of the symptoms that come with a dysfunctional balance and coordination system.
But because inflammation plays a role and because the vestibulocochlear nerve is one of the cranial nerves and they all “hold hands” we need to lower our bodies inflammation levels and take stress off of our brain and other nerves.
Getting ENG and VNG testing is important to assess inner ear functioning.
It is important to have a trained professional assess you and give you the correct exercises for your particular case.
When starting rehabilitation exercises symptoms may worsen at first.
That said if you are looking for online vestibular rehabilitation exercises then visit brainandspine.org
See the video below for the 10 best balance exercises:
Vestibular neuritis recovery time
The recovery time for vestibular neuritis depends on the individual and how much effort they put into going through the very difficult dizziness that is associated with doing the recovery exercises.
By dealing with any infeciton that is causing the symptoms, lowering inflammation and putting in effort every day if not multiple times a day to retrain the brain, quick recovery is completely possible.
See this video to hear a vestibular neuritis recovery story and how she shortened her recovery time drastically:
How can it cause headaches and migraines?
When our body loses its accuracy in perceiving its environment through the vestibular system, it will start compensation for things that aren’t there.
For example, if we are sitting at a desk every day that has poor ergonomics and we have to bring our head forward to see the screen properly, our body will compensate for this.
It will round the back to take stress off of the neck but this may lead to back pain and tightness.
A similar thing happens when our vestibular system is affected, depending on how it is affected.
This very frequently leads to neck tightness and head pain as our body tries to compensate.
But there is also the causal factor that can create issues.
If we have excessive inflammation and oxidation or we have a viral infection running rampant and destroying nerves, our brain and other nerves are highly susceptible.
They can be affected , damaged and create pain sensations as a response to nerve damage or to try to protect you from further damage.
Vestibular neuritis vs vestibular migraine
Even though vestibular neuritis and vestibular migraine have many symptoms in common, we can draw some lines.
Whereas vestibular migraine is largely a problem of the brain and specifically with the cerebellum because that is what processes balance and coordination. Vestibular neuritis is usually a problem of the nerve coming out from the brain that goes into the vestibular system.
They both require that the cause be dealt with first and foremost with viral infection common in neuritis and metabolic breakdown common in migraine.
They both do well with dietary and nutritional support as the brain needs nutrients to rebuild and recover but neuritis may need antiviral nutrients whereas migraine may need vitamins and minerals to fix energy issues in the brain and neurodegeneration.
Both neuritis and migraine require stimulus. Even if we lose neurons in the brain or nerves because of circumstances, we still need to use strong stimuli so that the neurons we do have create new pathways and correct the problem.
Vestibular training is common in both because it is a specific stimulus to the vestibular system, vestibular nerves and cerebellum which makes those parts of our nervous system work harder to compensate.
How do we deal with vestibular neuritis caused headaches?
Ideally we want to deal with the neuritis first and foremost, because if the headaches are caused by our body trying to compensate for our posture from not knowing where we are in the world, then just getting rid of pain doesn’t do much for us.
But there are 3 keys pieces we can try to deal with the pain:
1. We need to lower inflammation and this is where turmeric shines. See our post on turmeric curcumin for headaches here. It is one of the most powerful natural anti inflammatories that can help take away pressure off the nerve and take the burden off of our bodies attempts to lower inflammation.
2. One of the best acute natural remedies for pain that is also an all star for nausea is ginger. Use ginger in capsules, in a powder and make ginger beer or ginger tea.
3. And because of the necks involvement and a huge amount of tension created from vestibular issues we also need to consider menthol and peppermint essential oil. Menthol gel has been shown to work wonders for all kinds of head pain and it is a simple and safe remedy.
By addressing the root cause of the neuritis first, supporting the regeneration of our nerves and giving our body enough stimulus to create new connections between neurons we can recover very quickly and put the incredible pain of vestibular issues behind us.
If you are still struggling with vestibular issues see our article on the 17 Greatest natural treatments for vestibular migraines here.
Join the migraine professional community to get a deeper understanding of how to heal the brain, stop inflammation and get natural and holistic solutions to brain pain and dysfunction by clicking the link here.