Vertigo is a symptom of several different conditions rather than a stand-alone disease. The common denominator is that Vertigo affects the Vestibular System, which is responsible for sensing motion via the inner ear, and for detecting the location of the body in space (proprioception). Disruption of this System may lead to false movement signals to the brain, which could then trigger an episode. The main symptom of Vertigo is an extreme sense that the world is spinning around you. Other symptoms include nausea, double vision, decreased hearing, ringing in the ears and migraines. Depending on the cause, an episode can last for a few minutes, or for hours, days, or even weeks!
I have a few clients that suffer from this terrifying and often debilitating condition. I sought to understand what might pre-dispose these very busy mothers and grandmothers, and more importantly, what I might be able to do to help them. Most of the information I found on the internet was repetitive, analyzing and describing the various types of Vertigo, explaining who is most at risk, identifying possible triggers, and listing treatments/remedies geared towards short-term relief. None of my research touched on possible underlying cause(s). Since It becomes more common with age and affects women two to three times more often than men, this was very hard for me to swallow. How can we 1) simply tell them to gently ride out the storm, 2) perform a few maneuvers/adjustments, 3) suggest dietary restrictions, 4)stress reduction or even 5) anti-depressants and then send them on their merry way?
Unfortunately I had to put it aside, thinking "what do I know?" I am not a doctor or a scientist. My sample size is small and my personal training practice isn't exactly a controlled peer-reviewed study.
Everything changed when I enrolled in Dr. Sarah Ellis Duvall's Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist (PCES) certification course. Pertinent scientific studies are a major part of the curriculum. As I was reading Tempromandibular Disorder and Dysfunctional Breathing, included in the Postural Alignment part of the course, this quote practically lept off the page at me:
"The effects of the forward cephalic position for a long period are: alterations of proprioceptive pulses (with space disorientation, dizzies, nauseas and vertigo) due to sternocleidomastoideus hyperactivity and shortening, which commits nervous structors, cephalic pain, occlusal alteration, more posterior dental contact, more compression of TMJ due to mandibular replacement, with consequent cranium-facial pain. It is concluded that TMD, as well as cephalic pain, dizzyness, vertigo, nistagmo and the swallowing difficulty, can have extrinsic origin in the system stomatognatic."
Translation: poor posture, in this case forward head syndrome and mouth breathing (whichever came first) might be putting you at risk for Vertigo by disrupting the inter-relationship between the nervous and muscular systems - resulting in false movement signals being sent to the brain. So, what does this have to do with my clients? Well, they experienced a triumvirate of life events that would result in such a disruption, namely pregnancy, childbirth and the approach/arrival of menopause.
Throughout my gym-going years and especially now that I am training clients, I've noticed women who simply do not drink. I'm sure its possible some do make sure they get proper hydration before and after exercise. But I have a sneaking suspicion this isn't true in most cases. Sometimes I'll ask a client "where's your water bottle?" or I'll offer them a water break in between exercises to go get a drink. In response I may get a little sheepish grin ("oh, I better not") or a complete brush-off ("no thanks, I'm good" - end of story). Usually I don't press the matter, but when I do the predominant excuse is the anticipation of urinary incontinence (leaks) or the inconvenience of having to stop to use the restroom. Unfortunately, these women are just kicking the can down the road, jeopardizing their health and possibly risking dehydration.
Are you concerned you'll look like the female Arnold if you work out with weights? If you answered yes, here are 2 more questions for you. Do you want to be soft and flabby or lean and strong? Do you want to burn more calories even when you're at rest? Well, that's what resistance (weight) training will do for you (and more!). Read on for the final installment of my series: 7 Reasons Why Women Should Be Building Muscle.
Check out my results from yesterday's Iyengar yoga class taught by Colleen Fontes (@mamafontes2) at the Y in Ridgewood. I know fitness trackers aren't particularly yogic but hear me out folks.
People have some really interesting ideas about yoga.
- Yoga is only for stretching and relaxation. BORING! - Haha yeah, sitting for an hour on a blanket and chanting OHM isn't my idea of a good workout - I can't do yoga because I can't balance/not flexible - No sorry, I won't use a block or the wall because that's cheating (this one is my personal favorite) - Hot Yoga or Powerflow is the only way to really get a good workout
So......how many times have YOU burned 410 calories stretching and chanting? Surely you can balance at a wall, right? Did you know that most of the poses in this class were done by everyone AT A WALL?
Of course, your results may vary. They would depending on a multitude of factors, including your own #effort and #attitude.
Any more excuses? Tell me all about them in the comments.
You don't have to be an Olympic body builder or train like one to get stronger, move better, be healthier, and feel and look great.
Learn 5 exercises that will help you fix your posture and feel more mobile!