Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Finally went to a Ear, Nose and Throat specialist regarding my occasional vertigo and occular migraines etc. the last five years. Couldn't help much but pulled crud out of both ears this time, felt like my ear drum was coming out with the wax. Should be easier to wash my ears now without them getting plugged up after a shower. He wants me to do neck exercises, the chiropractor doesn't help much with my neck staying adjusted. Seems a little better being able to hear. That or old age is catching up a little more.
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
They couldn't test me there, I seem ok, never worried about it as I only ask now and then, What? About 10 years ago maybe, I had issues and the Nurse Practioner took a big pea sized bit of wax out of one ear, the other was fine. I was getting water in that ear and had limited hearing for a week at a time until it dried out. I use ear protection most of the time cutting firewood with my chainsaw. Some stoves in my stove colletion are loud.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
When you say "Ocular Migraines" do you mean you experience something like zig-zaggy, flashing patterns in your vision that last some 10 to 30 minutes or more?
If so, I get those too. They suck.
Here's a few things I've learned that are triggers for me:
Too much coffee. I can't drink more than one cup in the morning. If I do, I increase the odds of getting one a lot.
Waiting too long to eat. If I get too hungry it will trigger one.
Stress. This is always a trigger.
Constipation. This too is a sure trigger.
Dehydration. While this may not be a trigger by itself, I've noticed it as a consistent enough factor to include it.
Too many hours staring at a computer monitor. This too is always a trigger, although, it may not occur until the day after I've done that.
A bright glare flashing into my eyes, like a flash of the sun off a windshield of a car will set one off, but only if I can point back to one of the above triggers.
Any combo of the above greatly increases the odds I'll get one. If I'm stressed, constipated or hungry, drink two cups of coffee in the morning, and don't take my vitamins, then sit down and stare at a computer monitor, I will most certainly get one.
As for prevention, aside from avoiding the above, I've found that taking two packets of "Emergen-C" vitamins every morning after I have my coffee, and before I eat anything, does more to help prevent them than anything else I've done. It instantly takes the "Edge" off the caffeine buzz and I can feel them working before I even finish drinking them. I mix both packets with just a couple ounces of water, stir until it quits fizzing, and drink it slowly, letting the vitamins absorb into my system while still in my mouth and on my tongue.
While this may not help you, I've also found that taking a small bit of codeine will dramatically reduce both the severity and duration of an event, but only if I take it as soon as I feel one coming on. For me, I know I'm getting one if I get a blurry spot, or tiny "Spark", in my vision. When I do take codeine, I take a small bit of a pill (1/4 or less) and let it dissolve on my tongue.
Codeine also helps a lot with the crappy feeling I get sometimes after I have an event, but does little to cut one short if taken when one is going on full blown.
I hope some of this will help you. I imagine that triggers and preventative measures and treatments may differ with individuals. It took me years to realize the few I mention that affect me.
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Thanks Bill. Some of the reasons could be likely for me. The last 6 years, on a computer all day and the last couple years at home for a few more hours. I have also gotten migraines at high elevations, at work, driving. Getting used to them, not so bothered anymore. I need to get a diary and log when I went to a Chiropractor, when and how ofter I get vertigo/sick and when I get an ocular migraine. I only have a medium cup of coffee on my AM break at work. I've been surprised how many people get what I get in the last few years in conversations with bpers and others. I believe most of my issues are nervousness, if my neck is bothering me, I work it, tightening the muscles in it etc. When it really aches, I can expect a migraine in 24 hours or less.
Loc: San Diego CA
So...it doesn't sound like anybody has told you why you are getting these symptoms? Stress is one of my key factors for headaches, but the vertigo and the inner ear related stuff sounds like something that could affect that too.
On a side note, the over the counter Madam Pearls Cough Syrup used to have codeine until about 5 years ago. It's imported from Hong Kong; doesn't work as well now that they changed the formulation .
I too get vertigo from time to time, seems to be associated with allergies in some way. When my allergies get band and my ears itch inside, I tend to dig at them a little with a q-tip, and either that or the itching itself (and whatever swelling might be going on inside) seems to trigger a period of time with vertigo - a week to several months.
I don't get the big hunks of wax like you, but I wonder if those might also in some way bruise the inner ear a little or press on something that results in vertigo.
Have you tried DeBrox ear drops? They're supposed to clear out wax, and maybe if you used it regularly you wouldn't get the buildup, which might help the vertigo. Maybe. Just a thought...
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
No, have not tried anything except see the ENT specialist. I have some other earwax stuff at home, never used it. I could lay on my side I guess, as I hate to tilt my head to one side to do that, results in issues. Since snowcamping last weekend, I've had two ocular migraines and one last week on Thursday I think before the trip. I blame it all on my neck. I'll see if the cleaner ears helps with vertigo this next year or two. I suspect too that hard manual labor or even a bp trip do something to my neck as I get a little bit of a weird feeling and worry about getting sick out there with others, then they worry about you.
I'm just getting started with backpacking and I'm almost over the hill. I'm still going to give it my all until I can't do any more. I just love being out in the wild so much! I especially enjoy solo hiking on challenging trails. I love the Columbia Gorge because the climb to the top offers such beautiful, breathtaking scenery. I know I have so many adventures in store for me. And, I'm learning so much from these on line resources. I appreciate all the input I receive from you veterans.
Do you have a squeese bottle of "Swim Ear"? Its an alcohol based ear drying agent but it also of course softens ear wax. You can essentially flush your own ears with it, and of course it removes water after swimming or showering. I think some eye washing solution and swim ear and insect reppelant are three small bottles worth keeping with you camping. Oh I guess "After bite" an ammonia based product is also worth its weight when a need ariises to use it. I was bit by a spider in the garden yesterday and put After Bite on it - no mark or swelling today. It should sting, that means the ammonia has gotten into the wound and is neutralising toxins by reacting with them. Jim
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.