Still Working On Team OT…

For the past few months, I’ve worked diligently on VRT, but using  Occupational Therapy philosophy this go around. There’s no ‘miracle’ to report, but what has changed is my activity level and that can’t be ‘bad’. I’m also, using a mindfulness approach, which simply put I am forcing myself into really thinking how I go about my day. I’m working on my posture. I’ve talked a bit about how OT looks at every area of our lives and how we do it. I’ve made simple modifications at home. Also important is energy conservation, considering how much energy it takes for say, showering or running errands. Do you really have enough energy on this particular day, to do both tasks? Showering and washing my hair are very exhausting tasks for me, I know, it seems so simple, right?  I’ve done all these things. I consider these things now, throughout my day.

Yet, I still can’t invert my head without dizziness. Think through your day. How many times do you bend over without a thought? “What IS that under my bed”? “Do I really want to know”? Bend over to wrap a towel around your wet hair? Bend down to dry your lower half? Doing a somersault? Okay, I’m joking with that last one, but the list goes on. Just take a count of how many times you bend over in your daily life? It’s probably many more times than you think. How might you handle it?  One reason I’m working on my posture is due to an accommodation I’ve picked up from the beginning of my Vertigo. Accommodation is something we do without consciously thinking about it. We do it in order to complete the task. An example of accommodation: In a seated position, you need to reach for something above your head, just out of reach. As you reach, your hip (on the same side) raises off the seat.Try it yourself, you’ll see. Besides, I kinda like my 5′ 10′ self!

Since I’m unable to hang my head down when bending over, I began hyperextending my neck, which is not good for us. It pinches Cranial Nerves causing numbness, tingling and more in my arm. I recently discovered I have two Cervical Vertebrae that are so offset, the Neuro-Surgeon thinks I likely ‘broke my neck as a child and don’t remember it’. Really? Yes, I still live in the same place as my misdiagnosis of a Vestibular Disorder. No, I’m not having anything done at this time for my neck as he wanted to use surgery to repair my ‘broken neck that I don’t remember’. What happens when I hyperextend my neck is distressing. My left arm goes completely numb. I can still move it, use it, but without feeling what I’m holding, accidents can/will happen. I began using neck exercises from an early round of PT, no improvement. I’ve seen my MRI pictures and there are two vertebrae that, at some point, will likely require surgery. It won’t be done here, though!

Some of the modifications I’ve made to my home:

  • a shower chair is essential! I use it in the shower and when my husband colors my hair (don’t be a hater!)
  • my furniture is arranged for both tactile cues and a place to plop should I become dizzy
  • food prep: I sit at my kitchen table
  • laundry: I sort clothes with my feet. Then, in kind of a football stance (bending at my waist with neck extended, which is not good for us! I load/unload washer/dryer.  I’m working to get my husband to build platforms for the washer/dryer set, then hardly any bending would be required
  • I’ve recently begun using a cane (VERY reluctantly!), after a recent situation I couldn’t get out of, my husband’s medical testing. I had to maneuver some very difficult solid white hallways. White ceiling, floor, and walls. I had to take 2 breaks and had non-medical employees ask if needed help, very nice! I am using one from our daughter’s accident. It’s functional, which translates to ugly. If I’m going to start doing this regularly, I want a ‘pimp cane’!

These are just of few of the modifications I put into place, making my home safer, as I do believe seven broken bones is enough for me.


10 thoughts on “Still Working On Team OT…

  1. Thanks for this article today. I started vestibular therapy and was feeling so good the past few days. I started a load of laundry this morning and I cant remember feeling so bad for a long time. I was unable to even turn my head. I got to my bed on all four a position the therapist gave me on monday. Its been four hours and I am still trying to bounce back. Stomach burn, blurred vision and face ache. This is just getting to be too much.


    1. You’re so welcome Denise! I’m sorry, I kind of fell off the earth for awhile…Yes, therapy in those early weeks will certainly take a lot out of you. As you also said, laundry is difficult. Try my ‘stance’ as I described, see if that helps you. Thank you for reading!


  2. Mine is neck related but NUCCA chiropractic really helps. I’ve seen the x-rays and it didn’t look good. Neck is much straighter now. I”m still working on the muscles which also have to be worked on to over come most of it. Plus a have another factor weaker left inner ear but getting my neck fixed eliminates 95 percent of the problem. Things can be almost normal and then dental work over auto accident will start the whole darn thing over. I get the numbness and tingling down the arms as wells the vertigo, drunken walk, dizzy bending over or looking up to high (which hyerpextends the neck). I’ve given up mini golf and now use a rodeo riders neck brace to avoid hyper extending my neck if my horse should spook. The one I have now is almost spook proof though.


    1. Hi, Ellen! I have read about the NUCCA therapy and it sounds interesting, but scary…anything dealing with the neck is scary. You’re able to ride a horse??? Big wow to that! I loved riding, but the height of it makes me whoozy…the hypertension does bring on numbness and tingling. I Googled pictures of a similar C5-C6 offset…found some that looked like mine…they were for a subluxation of the neck!!! Maybe I did break it :-P! Who knows! Thanks for sharing!


  3. Hi I also suffer from a vestibular disorder and Vestibular neuronitis. I can relate to your head positional challenges. My vestibular therapist recently retested me for motion sensitivity as I was having the same issues that you are. She is now given me a routine to desensitize those positional changes, which includes exercises that have those very positional changes of the head so that I can desensitize and re-wire wire my brain. So far, it is working. I have been repeatedly told that you have to work through the very things that cause or invoke symptoms in order for the symptoms to be ameliorated. I know it seems counterintuitive, and who in gods name would want to invoke a symptom but I am finding that the more I allow Myself to work through them and face them head on with the guidance of my therapist, the more they are starting to diminish. Thank you for sharing, I definitely can relate – instead of the accommodating, I’m wondering if desensitizing is the way to go? Good luck on your Travels – we all need to keep sharing your experiences and learning from one another!


    1. Oh, thanks so much Theresa! I really appreciate your comment! Yes, I do agree, the desensitization is a great idea. I do probably need to actually get re-evaluated and treated hands on. I have a real issue with actual falls, that of course, start a fear cycle. Very similar to the pain cycle. I have a fantastic support system with my husband, but it does limit then ‘when’s’ of doing things. I appreciate your comment so much!


  4. Are you an OT?
    I am an OT and have had vestibular disorder for 3 years which significantly limits my ability to work. My OT knowledge has been helpful to adapt/compensate with everyday life.


    1. Hi, Leslie! I am a OTA (COTA/Retired in Good Standing). I say am, because I am still licensed, but will likely let that go this year. I was a Pediatric OTA, specializing in Sensory Integration and Feeding Disorders…I miss it unbelievably! I knew I had to leave after a scare working with a child. I knew that I could no longer say, ‘I will never harm a patient’ any longer. I had countless falls with 7 broken bones. I ‘retired’ in 2007, and still grieve the loss…of me…thanks for reading! What do you have Leslie?


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