Vestibular neuritis is a disorder that affects the vestibular nerve causing an isolated attack of severe vertigo. Learn the symptoms, causes and treatments of this affliction:

Symptoms and causes of vestibular neuritis

This disorder affects the vestibular system and is produced by the nerve inflammation located in the inner ear. It is responsible for sending the brain the signs that control the balance.

It is frequently caused by a virus, an infection that may occur in the respiratory system or in the gastrointestinal system, causing an inflammation of the vestibular nerve. Thus, the transmission of information collected by the nerve is disturbed and is not consistent with the rest of body receptors, such as vision, which leads to an altered sense of balance.

Other causes may be: decreased blood flow of the inner ear, exposure to toxic agents or allergic substances that affect the vestibular nerve.

Symptoms of vestibular neuritis

Symptoms of vestibular neuritis are characterised by an isolated vertigo attack that may last between 24 – 48 hours, spinning sensation and lack of balance, followed by nausea, dizziness and sweating. This disorder disappears gradually after the initial episode and often persists around 7 and 10 days. Vestibular neuritis is different from Ménière’s disease and Labyrinthitis because of the absence of tinnitus and hearing loss concomitant, as it does not affect the audition.

Patients experience during the first few days an ocular movement known as nystagmus, involuntary quick horizontally movement of the eye and slowly return to the initial eye position. The eye movement in vestibular neuritis patients is produced horizontally to the healthy side.

Diagnosis and treatment of vestibular neuritis

Through the patient’s symptoms description and physical exploration, the specialist will diagnose vestibular neuritis. Also, an otologic examination and a complete neurological exam will be conducted. In some cases an audiometry could be carried out in order to verify if there is any hearing affectation and reject other afflictions.

Physiotherapist treatment

For the vestibular neuritis treatment are used: antiemetic, antihistamines or benzodiazepines taking into account that nausea and vomits do not allow the oral administration. It is not advisable long term use of these medicines, as they can delay vestibular compensation.
Later, rehab techniques through physiotherapy will be incorporated, where body movements appropriate for each recovery phase will be performed. Brain will get used to the movements and the symptoms will improve.

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