Vestibular neuritis refers to swelling and inflammation of the vestibulocochlear nerve, which is located in the inner ear. The nerves primary function is to sends signals related to position and balance of the head to the brain. Vestibular neuritis results in interruption of transmission of this information to the brain. The condition may affect individuals of any age; however it is relatively rare in children.
While there are no identified etiological factors, researchers believe the condition is to be attributed to viral infections. Viral infections occurring anywhere in the body e.g. common cold, measles or hepatitis may lead to secondary infection of the vestibulocochlear nerve leading to the condition.
Symptoms Of Vestibular Neuritis
Vestibular neuritis is characterized by swelling of a single branch of the vestibulocochlear nerve which controls balance. However the condition is most frequently observed with labryinthitis i.e. the other branch of the vestibulocochlear nerve which controls hearing. As a result in most cases symptoms of vestibular neuritis are accompanied with symptoms of labryinthitis which include,
- Severe vertigo characterized by sudden sensation of swaying or spinning.
- Dizziness and lightheadedness.
- Difficulty in maintaining posture and balance.
- Difficulty in concentrating and focusing on the task at hand.
- Nausea which may occasionally be associated with vomiting.
- Tinnitus or constant ringing in the ears with or without hearing loss.
In most cases, the severity of the symptoms persist for a couple of days after which they gradually decline over several weeks. However, during the initial phases, the symptoms can be so severe that they can completely hamper routine activities. While most patients experience partial to complete recovery with a few months, there can be some instances of symptoms persisting for several months.
Diagnosis: The diagnosis of the condition is based on the symptom presentation and certain specific tests including the head thrust test, which examines the extent of difficulty to maintain focus on objects when the head moves rapidly. Additionally, nystagmus i.e. rapid and uncontrollable movement of the eye is a sign for diagnosis of the condition.
Natural Treatment For Vestibular Neuritis
Treatment of vestibular neuritis is typically three pronged. Managing the symptoms, treatment of the underlying cause (in case of viral infection) and undergoing a balance rehabilitation program.
Home remedies for the treatment of the symptoms is subjective and their effectiveness depends upon the severity of the symptoms and consistency of regimen,
- Ginger is very potent in dealing with symptoms of lightheadedness and giddiness A few pieces of crushed ginger should be consumed with raw honey about thrice a day.
- Garlic flakes with honey help in improving symptoms associated with nausea and vomiting. Garlic is known to stabilize gastrointestinal uneasiness and alleviate symptoms of nausea.
- Homeopathic drugs namely Bryonia, Belledona and Lycopodium consumed in low potency and repeated about three to four times a day can help provide symptomatic relief.
- Add a couple of tablespoon of turmeric to a glass of warm milk and consume thrice a day. Turmeric has potent antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties which help to deal with underlying infections, if any.
Balance rehabilitation program is an integral part of treatment for vestibular neuritis. The program comprises of a thorough assessment of impact on body’s sense of balance which is followed by a host of body posture exercises, eye and ear head turn exercises. The success of a rehabilitation program is to repeat these exercises three to four times a day.