Looking for a happy ending? Now that I have your attention, lets talk about massage. IT ROCKS! A few years ago when I was doing physical therapy for my vertigo, the therapist commented on the fact that damage in my shoulder (thanks drum corp and color guard!) was causing muscle tightness to pull on my ear and skull. It was actually making my vertigo worse. She suggested massage.
I looked for a while for a good massage therapist. This is really something you don’t want to shortchange yourself on or go to some chain place. With vertigo, you want to make sure that you are getting someone who has either treated someone with your condition or is willing to learn. Check them out as much as you would any doctor. Ask if you can meet prior to getting a massage to talk about what you are looking to have happen as a result of your massage. If they won’t do this, walk away. A good massage therapist should answer all your questions and talk you through the whole process, especially if you haven’t had a massage before.
What can you expect for relief? Well that depends a lot on what is causing or making your dizziness worse. Anxiety and stress are huge “side effects” if you will of having vertigo or any other chronic illness. Since massage is relaxing, it will definitely help there. If you are like me and have some muscular reason that is effecting your inner ear, neck, shoulder, jaw area – it can help that as well. I have found with a good massage that at some point I can feel and hear my ear pop open, like it has been closed up the whole time. I’m not sure how to explain that but it helps me feel better. I will also say that I am usually dizzier when the massage first finishes, probably from all the tension being gone. I stay on the table extra long before getting up and drink lots and lots of water right away. Once the initial 5 to 10 minutes is gone I feel great! And the benefits from the massage lasts me a whole month until I get back to have another one – sometimes even longer.
Another benefit that I have personally had from massage is an increased ability to travel. Anytime you travel with vertigo, it can be a nightmare waiting to happen. I have found that if I have a massage a few weeks before leaving and then another one within 3 days of traveling- I have been able to fly (as long as there isn’t too much turbulence) and go on a cruise and do alright. I still carry my dizzy bag all the time and use it freely, but massage is just one more tool in my toolbox of things to keep vertigo at bay.
Know that a good massage therapist is not cheap – you will get what you pay for. But since it allows me to do things in life that I couldn’t do without it – it is worth every penny to me. I suggest you find a great person and go for it. At the very least, you will be relaxed and less anxious. At most, you may get that happy ending you are looking for!