A bump on the head from a kitchen cabinet sent Jaclyn Irizarry into a tailspin.
"It's sort of like if you're on a boat and the boat is going from side to side," she explained.
Irizarry is suffering from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, where tiny crystals in the inner ear become dislodged, causing a person to feel like they're spinning or the room feels like it's spinning.
"Sometimes I do feel a knot in my stomach, nausea," Irizarry said.
Now, the American Academy of Otolaryngology has new guidelines to help diagnose and treat this very common problem.
"This a diagnosis that can be made by history. The patient will give you the history if you ask them the right questions," said Dr. Sujana Chandrasekhar an ear, nose and throat specialist at New York Otology. "You should not do X-rays or CAT scans or MRIs on these patients, even though they're very afraid."
Chandrasekhar says doctors should also not prescribe motion sickness drugs like Meclizine or Dramamine for patients because they are unnecessary.
Vertigo can be disabling, but doctors say once patients get the right diagnosis, almost all cases can be treated and resolved.
Chandrasekhar does a few proven maneuvers on Irizarry.
"The goal is to take the stones away from the active portion of the inner ear, put them in an inactive portion of the inner ear, and let them sit there," Chandrasekhar explained.
"I'm hoping to not have that feeling," Irizarry said. "I'm hoping to be able to function."
And the treatment worked for Irizarry. She's back to her normal activities.
Doctors say some patients may need repeated treatments to relieve their vertigo, so vestibular rehabilitation therapy may be helpful.
PO Box 4508