Hans, 49, was sitting on the sofa when she suddenly started spinning in his head. The dizziness lasted for months. Even after a long search, he found a specialized physical therapist: “I was amazed by the simplicity of the treatment.”
“I had a hard time swinging like I was drunk.” Hans Venerius still couldn’t believe how his body had suddenly failed, and now that a year had passed “My whole stability is gone and that’s frightening. As if something had gone through your head, as if something had broken.”
He thinks about the worst for a moment, a brain tumor for example, but his doctor quickly reassures him on the phone. It would be vertigo, possibly the result of the corona.
Two weeks later, Hans still feels just as bad. He goes to his doctor. She tilts and rotates exercises with him, which confirms them in the diagnosis. Then the physiotherapist helps him with exercises against vertigo, but unfortunately: Hans will not feel better.
When he visited an otolaryngologist three months later, it was found that he had inflammation of the vestibular apparatus. “The otolaryngologist immediately thought of a virus and inflammation and tested it. It turned out I had an acute 100 percent left-sided failure.”
The ENT doctor told Hans that he had to move a lot, otherwise there was little that could be done. “Meanwhile, it was already another month. I was back at work, but it took a lot of effort to walk straight. If I didn’t fix myself at a point with my eye, I veered to the left. It took so much energy that I was weary in the evening And I didn’t have a little fun anymore. I became so gloomy.”
80 percent got my life back
Through a colleague of his wife, Hans hears of a treatment at Hengelo by two physiotherapists who have started a vertigo center. “Actually, I didn’t believe in this much, but I made an appointment anyway.”
And it seems to help: “First, I was given very simple exercises to stabilize my gaze, which means you can train your eyes to stay in better balance. I was amazed by their simplicity. After coming four or five times, I have regained 80 percent of my life.”
10% suffer from dizziness
Last May, physical therapists Mike Hilferinck and Jeroen Weselkamp began treating Twenty Dizziness. They work with ENT doctors from the ZGT Hospital in Almelo. The Vertigo Center appears to be needed, as they have already treated over 200 vertigo patients.
This number does not surprise Mike Hilferinck. “About 10 percent of the population suffers from vertigo. We think there is currently not enough knowledge of treatment options. And that’s what we want to make sure is on the map for this area. To stand up.”
Watch Hans’ story report and his treatment of vertigo
Long waiting times
According to Hilferrink, we shouldn’t underestimate the effect that dizziness can have. “The longer it lasts, the more fear takes hold. People can even develop anxiety disorders.” That’s why it’s also important for patients to be treated quickly.
And this is not always possible, there are rotary centers with long waiting times. “It can’t be that someone has to wait a year to get a decent diagnosis. We think it’s important that people end up in intermediate stage at an early stage or at least have their complaints heard. Then we can really start treatment.”
Tjasse Bruintjes is Professor by Special Designation in Otolaryngology at the University of Leiden and also works as an ENT physician at the Apeldoorns Dizziness Centre, the national center of expertise in the field of vertigo. He also finds that waiting times are often long. “We see about 1,000 new patients with us annually in Apeldoorn and the waiting time is one year.”
Bruintjes believes there will be more healers. “25 years ago, it wasn’t really hot. Now you see a proliferation of outpatients and care streets. I don’t mean it in a negative way, that’s great for a dizzy patient. It’s been a neglected group for a long time.” But he warns: “People can make an appointment with a therapist. It is normal without a referral, and I wouldn’t do it in case of dizziness. It is advised first to see a specialist to clarify exactly what is going on.”
Hans is still not completely out of his vertigo symptoms. If he walks with his eyes closed, he has a significant deviation to the left, while he himself believes that he is walking straight ahead. But the stabilization exercises help him greatly and this is a relief. “There was a sense of shame as well. I had a lot of trouble swinging like I was drunk. It’s not good to walk in a zigzag. This has a sweaty effect, I don’t feel good.”
Now he walks better when focused well. This seems like a world of difference. “My self-confidence, enjoyment of life and really quality of life have become a lot better because of the very simple handles I have been given.”
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