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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 32659
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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Ongoing ear and balance issues since March 2012. It all

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Ongoing ear and balance issues since March 2012. It all started with a three week long respiratory infection with lots of deep green phlegm. I developed a headache behind the eyes/top of my head towards the end week 3 then I woke up one day with a very strong headache and slight dizziness. I tried to tough it out with Advil but later that day while at work, I noticed my ears starting to ring/hiss and feel heavy, objects appeared to oscillate/jump vertically, and I began to sweat a lot with a sick feeling of nausea which was anxiety I guess. The Urgentcare doctor suspected a viral Labyrinthitis infection and not much can be done other than an oral steroid for inflammation and Xanax for anxiety. I also had diarrhea for about a full 10 days.
Current symptoms:
- Both ears pop violently. They feel sticky/itchy all day. The only minor relief I get is when I lie flat. A doctor theorizes that I have patulous eustachian tube dysfunction given either the original viral scarring or the numerous use of oral and nasal steroids.
- Both ears have loud tinnitus and sensitive to normal noises. The tone is that of a tea kettle boiling…. its maddening! Touching any part of my head makes the tinnitus increase as does when ears pop or I take a deep breath. My own voice echos in my head.
-My sinus (bridge of nose) pops/crackles regularly but I don’t feel stuffy nor do I have green plegm. Most ENTs simply state that I have some “white drainage” but nothing suspicious.
-Intermittent dull headache behind eyes.
-Off balance all day. I feel as though I’m walking on a trampoline.
-My eyes feel tired and unable to focus well.
To date lab tests:
- Blood, allergy, MRI, VNG, Colaric, and VEMP tests are normal. The only abnormality was a 1mm dehiscence hole over my left ear caught via a CT scan of the temporal bone; thus, the superior canal dehiscence syndrome diagnosis but later ruled out given normal VEMP test results.
-Most recent CT scan was taken of my sinus area with below observations:
- Sphenoid: Diminutive right sphenoid air cell with large right suprasphenoidal ethmoid cell. Unremarkable without significant mucosal thickening or fluid. Sphenoethmoidal recesses are patent.
1. Clear paranasal sinuses. Note of diminutive right sphenoid air cell with large right suprasphenoidal ethmoid cell.
2. Septal deviation to the right 4 mm posterior and inferior and slight septal deviation to left 2mm superior and anterior. Bilateral inferior turbinate hypertrophy. Narrow caliber right and left nasal fossa.
All my symptoms above worsen with exercising and with meds that cause “drying” like diuretics, steroids, antihistamine, decongestants, and alcohol.
Does my condition appear to be a Sphenoid infection (bacterial or fungi)? Not one ENT or otoneurologist has ever indicated that it might be a possibility. I have not been given any long term antibiotics to date. Also, don't know if there is a connection but ever since the beginning of this "infection", I've had a red rash on my right and left upper arms. I had it on my feet too but that has itches like mad.
Its been such a struggle to manage through all this. +16 months feeling poorly has really impacted my quality of life:(
Hi--have you seen either an osteopath or a physiatrist--a physical medicine and rehabilitation MD specialist--about this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have not seen a osteopath. Can you recommend one in San Diego CA? Regarding physical rehabilitation, I have tried Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy for 6 months but no improvement with ear issues. I see the value of VRT when its a "nerve damage balance" issue but I content that my balance issue is a result of my ears popping/itching, not functioning normally.

OK. You're right about VRT not being what you need for this particular problem. You need a physician skilled in cranial osteopathy and I think with proper therapy you can resolve all your symptoms. Here's a link to those specialists in your area
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Based on your link, I have already seen a "DO" doctor specifically the first one on the list Dr Cyr. She was kind enough but didn't offer any relief. She theorized that I suffered a damaging viral attack to my vestibular nerve; however, subsequent neuro tests show otherwise.

What is the difference between cranial osteopathy vs cranio sacral therapy? I see a craniosacral therapist next week but I'm not certain it will lead to anything.

Again, as per my original question, can this be an ongoing spheniod sinus infection? I have intermittent headaches behind the eyes and top of my head. No thick green mucus but rahter clear white drainage only. Is it worth trying a round of antibiotics?

she only suggested VRT?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The VRT therapy was not her suggestion and was post her consult from a neuro doctor at UCSD medical clinic. She, however, suggested things to help heal my eustachian tubes like nasal salin rinses and certain nerve healing supplements etc. Can't say it help anything.

Then you need to look at other physicians listed on that site. Cranial osteopaths do cervicocranial therapy as well as other manipulations and in my experience a well trained specialist in that area does wonders for your problem. No, this isn't a problem with your sphenoid sinus.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK. I'll give it another go.

Thank you

My pleasure but let me know how it goes and please remember to rate my service to you
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