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Worse than MS?

Can it be worse than MS? Yup. And I had the unfortunate experience to contract a severe case of vestibular neuritis on top of my MS. Think about the worst case of seasickness or dizziness you ever had and multiply it by 10. Vertigo, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and double vision.

After an ambulance ride to the local hospital, where triage assured me it was not a stroke, I was informed I had a severe case of labyrinthitis. Apparently mild cases are fairly common as a result of a head cold or a sinus infection. A lot of people get the mild form (still awful) which clears up in 7-10 days. Then there is the relatively rare severe form, which I had, which can last for a month or more. Up to a year, sometimes, with dizziness and balance issues that can persist afterwards. Layer that on top of MS balance and weakness and it’s a disaster.

Thankfully our local VNA has a physical therapist trained in vestibular rehab. It’s six weeks later and she still is coming weekly to help me retrain my eyes to focus and help my balance. I’m unable to drive, which I could do before this hit. Even a trip around the block on my mobility scooter resulted in unfocused vision (too many signals to the brain, she explained to me) which calmed down, but freaked me out. The therapist assures me I can get back to where I was before the labyrinthitis, but it’s taking forever.

In the interim, my poor husband is now my driver in addition to doing all the housework, shopping, cooking, pet care, etc. I do what little I can, but it’s a poor substitute. I’m actually looking forward to getting back to my old MS symptoms, as annoying as they were.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • cpcatchik author
    1 year ago

    And, drumroll here, it turned out to be a severe MS exocerbation, mis diagnosed by the hospital. Lesson I learned here was to contact my neurologist first when weird symptoms arise.

  • Meagan Heidelberg moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi cpcatchik,
    Thank you so much for sharing! That sounds so awful! Being that dizzy has to be miserable. So glad that it was not a stroke – as those symptoms can certainly be similar. Although this has been going on for so long, we are glad that you are getting the help you need! And hearing that your husband is SO helpful, is amazing. We hope you get over this as soon as possible!
    Meagan, Team Member

  • cpcatchik author
    3 years ago

    Thank you! It is improving gradually. The strengthening exercises are even improving some of my MS balance issues.

  • Harleydog1
    3 years ago

    Does anyone live in Melbourne Florida

  • Cane For NOW
    3 years ago

    Although I have not had this problem yet and Hope you can get back where you we’re before.
    But I relate to some extent I have PPMS And my symptoms of dizziness and vertigo a long with ears always ringing and balance issue’s and top this Cocktail off Swollen Feet and Ankles Spasity and of course major Fatigue just make Life a Little Harder.
    If it wasn’t for my Cane I would be in the Hospital at this moment.
    Many Hope’s and Prayers on a Good Recovery ! 😉

  • cpcatchik author
    3 years ago

    Thank you. Sorry to hear about your symptoms. MS hits us all differently. My balance wasnt great before, but this was so much worse. But it is improving, very slowly

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