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Is persistent dizziness a sign of brain tumor?

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Posted on Wed, 1 Aug 2018
Question: For the past 3 weeks, I get dizzy sometimes when I lay down in bed or roll over to change positions. Not every time I lay down, but quite a bit. It's not a room spinning dizziness, but more like I'm on a boat. It also kind of feels like a jolt goes through my head when it happens. It only lasts a few seconds and only when I lay down. I'm scared it's a brain tumor. I have no other symptoms though. No weakness, no headaches, balance is fine. The only thing I have going on is major sinus drainage and nose stuffiness. Is my dizziness likely from a brain tumor or ear issue?
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Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi (17 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Symptoms consistent with BENIGN PAROXYSMAL POSITIONAL VERTIGO

Detailed Answer:
Good afternoon and thanks for the question. I've read your explanation of symptoms and what others have commented.

I believe your symptoms are most consistent with a condition known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). As the term states the condition is considered BENIGN...though that doesn't mean it's not uncomfortable.....these are not symptoms of a tumor or anything similar that would be so sinister as to cause you to unduly worry. It is PAROXYSMAL....which means it occurs spontaneously, usually without warning....and in this case consistently whenever you lie down or roll over to change positions. In fact, I believe if you were sit and think a little bit more as to when these episodes occur you'd even say they occur to some extent WHENEVER YOUR HEAD POSITION CHANGES IN SPACE....so things like bending over, doing exercise maneuvers where the head is rotated or tilted, getting UP from sleep. All those are potential RISKY POSITIONS for your head to trigger one of these episodes.

Finally, POSITIONAL VERTIGO describes your sense of spinning which we define as VERTIGO occurring due to positional considerations as I explained above.

A neurologist or neuro-OTOLOGIST would be fully capable of examining to make sure these symptoms in fact, correspond to the ONLY neurological phenonmenon going on and then, recommend treatment.

I almost always go with initial conservative therapy which is to teach the patient about the condition then, teach them how to do a maneuver called the BRANDT-DAROFF exercise which when done correctly and diligently will reduce symptoms at least 50% of the intensity if not completely in a matter of under 1 week. Some people don't respond to this initial maneuver and may need other approaches such as an EPLEY maneuver and in extremely refractory cases, medication may be required.

I would not use medication in this situation to start with since it does not nothing to treat the actual CAUSE and can give you more side effects than benefit. If this is the diagnosis then, I would highly recommend the BRANDT-DAROFF exercises.

I do not believe this be any type of ear infection or inflammation since either of those 2 conditions would tend to cause CONSTANT VERTIGINOUS sensations mixed with other problems such as actual earache, fevers, nausea/vomiting, changes in hearing and the symptoms would not settle down as I'm sure they do in your case once you assume a new position and maintain it for more than say 10-30 seconds. So, I would also advise you to question the utility of antibiotics or steroids, or other anti-inflammatories because based upon your story I doubt they will be of much use.

If I've provided useful and helpful information to your questions could you do me a huge favor by CLOSING THE QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback along with a 5 STAR rating? Again, many thanks for submitting your inquiry and please let me know how things turn out.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 15 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Dariush Saghafi

Neurologist

Practicing since :1988

Answered : 2473 Questions

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Is persistent dizziness a sign of brain tumor?

Brief Answer: Symptoms consistent with BENIGN PAROXYSMAL POSITIONAL VERTIGO Detailed Answer: Good afternoon and thanks for the question. I've read your explanation of symptoms and what others have commented. I believe your symptoms are most consistent with a condition known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). As the term states the condition is considered BENIGN...though that doesn't mean it's not uncomfortable.....these are not symptoms of a tumor or anything similar that would be so sinister as to cause you to unduly worry. It is PAROXYSMAL....which means it occurs spontaneously, usually without warning....and in this case consistently whenever you lie down or roll over to change positions. In fact, I believe if you were sit and think a little bit more as to when these episodes occur you'd even say they occur to some extent WHENEVER YOUR HEAD POSITION CHANGES IN SPACE....so things like bending over, doing exercise maneuvers where the head is rotated or tilted, getting UP from sleep. All those are potential RISKY POSITIONS for your head to trigger one of these episodes. Finally, POSITIONAL VERTIGO describes your sense of spinning which we define as VERTIGO occurring due to positional considerations as I explained above. A neurologist or neuro-OTOLOGIST would be fully capable of examining to make sure these symptoms in fact, correspond to the ONLY neurological phenonmenon going on and then, recommend treatment. I almost always go with initial conservative therapy which is to teach the patient about the condition then, teach them how to do a maneuver called the BRANDT-DAROFF exercise which when done correctly and diligently will reduce symptoms at least 50% of the intensity if not completely in a matter of under 1 week. Some people don't respond to this initial maneuver and may need other approaches such as an EPLEY maneuver and in extremely refractory cases, medication may be required. I would not use medication in this situation to start with since it does not nothing to treat the actual CAUSE and can give you more side effects than benefit. If this is the diagnosis then, I would highly recommend the BRANDT-DAROFF exercises. I do not believe this be any type of ear infection or inflammation since either of those 2 conditions would tend to cause CONSTANT VERTIGINOUS sensations mixed with other problems such as actual earache, fevers, nausea/vomiting, changes in hearing and the symptoms would not settle down as I'm sure they do in your case once you assume a new position and maintain it for more than say 10-30 seconds. So, I would also advise you to question the utility of antibiotics or steroids, or other anti-inflammatories because based upon your story I doubt they will be of much use. If I've provided useful and helpful information to your questions could you do me a huge favor by CLOSING THE QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback along with a 5 STAR rating? Again, many thanks for submitting your inquiry and please let me know how things turn out. Do not forget to contact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others. This query has utilized a total of 15 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.