What I am doing to fighting dizziness and my foggy feeling
As a CFS sufferer, there is a number of symptoms that I need to struggle with. Since January, dizziness has been the worst of them all. Between 2014 and 2016 I only remember a quick episode of dizziness. Since January 2017, I have been having recurrent episodes of dizziness/lightheadedness/feeling foggy.
Dizziness can come randomly, although I feel that there is a connection to my stress levels. As for stress, I don’t put myself into much stress anymore, but my “stress handling system” is basically fried out. This means that even a very small stressful event can do a lot of damage to me (check out my post on adrenal fatigue).
When I suffer from stressful events, I can notice the harm any time after that. It could be on the same day, the following day, on the following week. There is no real pattern – neither regarding when I notice the damage nor how long it can last, or how it will affect me. Most of the times, it comes in the form of exhaustion and, more noticeably, pain neck and stiffness.
And I believe that stress and neck pain affects my dizziness – in one way or another.
Let us break it down. I have an illness, called CFS. I am using a specific diet and lifestyle to address it. This condition has a few consequences, one of which is the lack of tolerance to stress. I then have a lot of symptoms because I cannot handle stress, including neck pain. I am not sure whether dizziness is a symptom at the level of neck pain, something caused by CFS directly or by neck pain itself. Pain neck (and stiffness) can cause dizziness too.
How do I handle stress
Handling stress can be quite difficult, especially for people who suffer from anxiety as I do. Although I feel stressed out all the time, there is not much I do that positively impacts the stress levels I have to deal with. There are a few things that I came up with that do improve my stress.
Exercises for stiff neck
The most exuberant symptom that I have, with regards to stress, is aggressive pain neck and pain stiffness. Several sources on the internet suggest that there is a connection between neck stiffness and dizziness. Sadly, there seems to be a number of people suffering from this problem. Here are a few exercises to diminish neck pain and stiffness:
How do I handle dizziness
Because I don’t know exactly at what level dizziness is (meaning whether it is a symptom caused by stiff neck or directly by CFS), I cannot treat it by treating the cause of it. For instance, if it was caused by a stiff neck, I would definitely focus on my neck.
Therefore, I only do things that I’ve used before to make it better and avoid things that make it worse. In fact, I have started a very strict routine since August 1st. Here it is:
Improve blood circulation
Dizziness is often caused by low blood pressure. Blood circulation is highly affected by some substances, such as caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and specific drugs.
I will try to keep blood circulation by: (1) having cold showers, (2) taking supplements and (3) exercise regularly.
Ginkgo biloba (I take this one) is a known supplement for boosting circulation of blood within the inner ear, thus correcting some problems. Feverfew is also used against dizziness, migraines, and inflammation in the inner ear while improving blood circulation altogether.
A crucial tool to improve blood circulation in the brain is ginger. Since August 1st, I’ve been taking ginger supplements (about 1g a day) and drinking ginger tea every single day, while taking ginkgo bibola (in a liquid form). Next, I will start feverfew supplementation on a daily basis.
Although it is not 100% certain, coffee can worsen my dizziness. In fact, I think it depends on how bad I’ve been feeling the previous days. I’ve drunk coffee many times and noticed that my dizziness became worse. On the other hand, I’ve drunk coffee many times without consequence, even in the middle of a dizziness crisis. When it comes, tt can take between 5 minutes and one hour, but once it comes, it won’t go away until the end of the day (i.e. I have 8 hours of sleep).
The biggest problem of this is that I simply love coffee. I cannot even drink decaf as I’ve bad reactions with it too. This is really the only thing that I like that worsens my dizziness.
Either way, I avoid coffee as much as I can, if I am experiencing recurrent dizziness. Between June 1st and June 31st, I did not drink coffee and I only drank 1 decaf expresso per day. Since August, I laid off coffee altogether.
I found this one recently. I found out that adopting a posture (especially in front of the computer) helps a lot with my dizziness. I guess this is connected with a better blood circulation. This is actually the first thing that I started to do in order to improve blood circulation.
Staring at the monitor
Reading and staring at the monitor for more than 20 minutes in a row can be painful, especially if I look down. Looking up doesn’t result in dizziness as often, but can also make it worse. What I’ve been trying (not exactly doing it yet) is to stop starting at the monitor every 20 minutes.
Going for a walk
This is such a great tool against stress, favoring blood circulation and giving your body a break. I love to go out on a Summer night on a Spring day. Going for a walk for as little as 10 minutes can do wonders. At least it does for me.
For some people, sitting down will do the trick, but not for me (sometimes I get dizzy while I am sitting). However, in my case, I have to lie down. This doesn’t always work, but it did before.
Getting dehydrated can lead to dizziness, so drinking water more often can be a great tool against dizziness. I will try to drink about a gallon of water day in June.
Incline my head backward
For some reason, inclining my head backward seems to provide instant relief, as long as I keep it inclined for more than 20 seconds. Probably it helps to oxygenate the brain, but I am not sure.
Improve resilience to stress
CFS suffers tend to suffer a lot from stress. I am no exception. There are a few things that one can do to fight stress, including:
- Meditation, which I already do.
- Breathing deeply.
- Be present and forcing ourselves to relax.
If my condition doesn’t improve until the end of August, I will experiment some over-the-counter motion sickness medication. I don’t recommend people to take any medication without talking to a doctor. I will test the effect of Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), Meclizine (Bonine) and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), by this order.
Check for other diseases
- Labyrinthitis, BPPV and Meniere’s disease.
- Anxiety disorders, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Heart problems.
- Circulatory issues.