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Why Chronic Dizziness Disorders May Have Roots In Childhood

Updated: Sep 25, 2018

In almost 30 years of working with patients suffering from chronic dizziness, vertigo or “woozy,” off-kilter sensations, an curious pattern has emerged: about a quarter of people with adult-onset vestibular disorders reported motion sensitivity as children.

They vomited on roller coasters. They had chronic, painful ear infections. Their parents made frequent trips to the ENT. They felt profoundly uneasy on skis or skates, avoided sports, and definitely did not like sitting (or reading) in the backseat of the car.

From a medical point of view, this probably isn’t causation. But in my experience, I’ve seen a clear connection between the child who learns to avoid the type of activity that makes him feel “woozy,” and the vestibular disorder-suffering adult he becomes.

Weakened Pathways

When children feel uncomfortable flexing their “vestibular muscle,” their balance system doesn’t get the exercise it needs. Many patients reported preferring sedentary activities as kids, like art, reading or music; now, as adults, it’s even more important to retrain those weakened pathways.

And, depending on your childhood history, it could be a grander challenge. If you fall into this category, be aware you’re more likely to have stronger visual sensitivity or intolerance for the WUZI retraining exercises than those who don’t.

You may need to work harder — and train longer — to regain neuroplasticity and to build new pathways (neurogenesis). Though vestibular rehabilitation, you’re working to expand your brain connections and processing capacity, overcoming decades of balance challenges that started in your early years.

Patience, Meet Persistence

The first step is awareness — knowing you’re in for a longer road. The second step is persistence — thousands of my patients with childhood motion sensitivity have overcome their vestibular disorders, and you can, too.

I created WUZI to educate and empower people suffering a variety of vestibular disorders. All patients will face challenges on the road to recovery, but the human brain is a beautiful organ that keeps growing, learning and adapting — from the early years, to the golden years.

Here’s to healing!

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