Medical and Science

A Head Shake a Day Keeps the Ear Rocks Away

Positional Vertigo and Ear Rocks

Photo by [FidlerJan] morgueFile

This is a very interesting subject that I just recently learned of.  There’s a medical condition often referred to as Ear Rocks.

I’m not 100% certain that ear rocks is the exact medical term for these strange vertigo causing deposits.  But they are the cause of a condition known as Positional Vertigo.

What is Positional Vertigo

Positional vertigo is a condition that causes waves of dizziness and sometimes nausea. The sort of feeling you get after spinning around and around, then trying to walk a straight line.  You know…the sort of game we all played as kids.

Positional vertigo is caused by calcium carbonate crystals, also known as ear rocks.  What happens is these ear rocks are dislodged from a sac that’s located within the inner ear.  This usually happens during an injury to the head or a sharp blow that causes them to be released.

Once the ear rocks have been dislodged, a simple tilting of one’s head may cause these ear rocks to rub against the nerve endings that affect your balance.

This condition may also be caused by ear degeneration normally found in people over the age of 50. So I guess I’ve got that to look forward too as well…lol

How do you Treat Ear Rocks

Often times, doctors will prescribe valium or other sedatives to help reduce the symptoms of positional vertigo. But that isn’t always the best solution considering the side effects of such medications.

But there have been some very inventive alternatives created in cases where medication is not the best remedy.

One such alternative has been named the Epley maneuver.  The Epley maneuver involves the patient making sequential side-to-side head movements in hopes of nudging the ear rocks back into place. Strangely, a vibrating device may also be used behind the ear to help the process along.

Amazingly, approximately 75% of patients treated with this exercise were cured after a mere ten minute session.  Of course the next two nights would have to be spent sleeping with their head propped at a 45 degree angle.

Another bizarre treatment, which has been prescribed, was an exercise involving three sets of head twists followed by full-body flops. These exercises would need to be performed each day for around two weeks. But there is a 95% success rate after all.

When all else fails to subdue your positional vertigo, then the ear rocks may need surgical attention.  They can be immobilized through surgery, but this may also cause partial deafness.

Ear Rocks and Positional Vertigo

This was definitely a new one on me, I had never heard of ear rocks.  The treatments sound a bit unorthodox but evidently they work.  Of course you should always consult a doctor before performing any of the treatments we’ve been discussing.

After all, you wouldn’t want to attempt treatment of ear rocks only to end up with a back problem in the process.

Have you, or anyone you know, ever been diagnosed with ear rocks and can contribute any further information on the subject?  Please share with us in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “A Head Shake a Day Keeps the Ear Rocks Away
  1. Ear Rocks? Never heard of them.. After reading this, I’m really paranoid about my vertigo i’ve been experiencing.

    1. Humm, that doesn’t sound good Hugh. Have you checked with a doctor on this? Maybe you can teach them a thing or two about ear rocks!

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