Dr. Donohue’s Simple Cure for Benign Positional Vertigo
Dear Dr. Roach: I am an 84-year-old woman who has followed and appreciated yours and Dr. Donohue’s information and advice for many years. Now I need some help.
I have a chronic vertigo condition, which varies from slight to severe. I can take meclizine, which helps. However, there is an exercise of the head, done over a bed, which used to eliminate the symptoms. I have lost those instructions, and would appreciate it if you would give them to me again. My last set came from Dr. Donohue in 2008! — A.
Answer: I found Dr. Donohue’s instructions. But before I give them to you, let me explain that these are instructions for only one cause of vertigo — benign positional vertigo. Although this probably is the most likely cause, only a visit to your doctor can determine the exact problem.
Dr. Donohue wrote: “Sit in the middle of a bed, far enough to the opposite side of the bed that your head will project over that side when you lie down. If a head turn to the right provokes an attack, quickly turn your head to the right, and keep it turned until the dizziness goes. Then lie down quickly with your head off the side of the bed and still turned to the right. Then, from that position, turn your head to the left. Roll over onto your left side, with your nose pointed down to the floor, for 30 seconds. Then go back to the starting sitting position, with head bent. If dizziness persists, repeat. If this is too complicated, let your doctor lead you through it.”
Let me add that meclizine (Antivert) can improve the dizziness in the short term, but it can prevent your body from getting over it completely. I never prescribe meclizine for more than a few days.
Dear Dr. Roach: I have read that one or two cups of coffee is good for your brain. Which is better: coffee or tea? Is it the caffeine that prevents dementia? — M.E.
Answer: First of all, the data on this subject is preliminary. That being said, there is data that suggests that people who drink two or three cups of coffee a day have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers have speculated, and some studies done on lab rats support that it’s the caffeine, and since regular coffee has much more caffeine than tea, coffee would be easier. However, there have been other studies suggesting that substances in tea besides caffeine may reduce Alzheimer’s risk as well.