I seem to have got myself a little dose of ‘benign paroxysmal positional vertigo’ (BPPV), which is an inflammation of the inner ear that can cause brief but intense vertigo, or so I have been told. I haven’t been ill and apart from possibly needing to buy a new set of earplugs, the only likely causation for this pesky dizziness is muscular tension brought on by lack of sleep. 

I am now going through the beginning of the menopause and, as a result, I have not been sleeping well for 3-6 months, and for a bed bunny like me that’s a big problem.  This summer’s warm evenings – made warmer by hot flushes and having to keep our windows closed thanks to a neighbour’s barking dog – meant that I tossed and turned and woke up every morning feeling very tense. So tense, that the tops of my shoulders appeared to have been glued to my earlobes all night. What followed was a spate of headaches but, even worse, occasional bouts of the above said brief (3-5 seconds) but intense dizziness. They were gradual at first but then really started happening when I laid down, got up or turned my head in any fashion.  So I went to my chiropractor, who did some lovely neck and hip adjustments and suggested that I may have BPPV, which is easily treatable via a visit to one’s GP.

But the alternative therapist in me wasn’t completely convinced. So I continued my usual exercise regime but extended my stretching session by adding lots of neck and shoulder moves, I worked with my massage tool, the Kneader, daily by self-massing my neck, shoulders, arms and pectorals and I did a bit of meditation in bed each evening to wind-down.  I also cut down my caffeine intake and gave up fizzy drinks for good.  And it has worked very well so far. 

The frequency of my hot flushes have recently inceased a bit, so my sleeping patterns have gone to the wall and the dizziness has returned, but this time only a fraction of what it was.  Could this be because I have kept up the healthy, regular lifestyle changes that I implemented in my initial offence on BBPV?

What’s interesting is that with lack of sleep resulted in not shoulder and neck tension but a very slight case of tinnitus, which is something my husband has suffered very badly from for many years.  I have always suspected that his tinnitus is partially due to snoring and his sleeping position (his position of choice is jamming his neck up against a pillow to form a right angle – it takes all kinds).

So my question is this: is there more to conditions like BPPV and tinnitus than just the inner ear?  Does neck and shoulder tension play a bigger part in such conditions than previously thought or are my current symptoms just another added bonus of the menopause – or maybe all of the above?  Some articles suggest that this very well may be the case.  Regardless, it’s just another reason to massage those shoulders regularly, methinks, but it’s worth researching massage moves and alternative therapy strategies to combat such complaints – I will keep you posted!

The Kneader