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Vertigo on the Piano Bench? #2412145 04/20/15 01:48 PM
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ClsscLib Offline OP

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I've never had vertigo issues before, but I had an attack while practicing piano Saturday night that was so bad I thought I was having a stroke. Went to local Emergency Room, they ran a full battery of tests: Not a stroke, not a heart attack -- but possibly an inner ear disorder likely to recur.

It did recur, late last evening -- again while I was practicing piano. Not quite as severe, but much longer. The world was spinning around me nearly uncontrollably for an hour, causing nausea and other bad stuff. Walking was impossible. Crawling was hard.

Today I've been trying without much luck to get in to see a specialist. I want to put a stake in this STAT.

Has anyone else here ever encountered vertigo issues while playing the piano? That both attacks hit me while practicing may be sheer coincidence. On the other hand, I've been trying to explain to my better half that the risk factors would be reduced if I got a larger, more substantial piano...

Last edited by ClsscLib; 04/20/15 01:49 PM.

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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412152 04/20/15 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
On the other hand, I've been trying to explain to my better half that the risk factors would be reduced if I got a larger, more substantial piano...

At the risk of negating a perfect rationalization to get a new Jansen artist bench, you might want to read this .


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412163 04/20/15 02:43 PM
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Thanks, Tom -- that's very helpful.


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412179 04/20/15 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
I've never had vertigo issues before, but I had an attack while practicing piano Saturday night that was so bad I thought I was having a stroke. Went to local Emergency Room, they ran a full battery of tests: Not a stroke, not a heart attack -- but possibly an inner ear disorder likely to recur.

It did recur, late last evening -- again while I was practicing piano. Not quite as severe, but much longer. The world was spinning around me nearly uncontrollably for an hour, causing nausea and other bad stuff. Walking was impossible. Crawling was hard.

Today I've been trying without much luck to get in to see a specialist. I want to put a stake in this STAT.

Has anyone else here ever encountered vertigo issues while playing the piano? That both attacks hit me while practicing may be sheer coincidence. On the other hand, I've been trying to explain to my better half that the risk factors would be reduced if I got a larger, more substantial piano...


Sounds like the onset of panic/anxiety attack. Additional symptoms- sweaty palms, heart racing, narrowing vision, feeling of 'tightness' around the head. If you Google 'anxiety attack' you'll see a more complete list.


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: jimb100] #2412180 04/20/15 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jimb100
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
I've never had vertigo issues before, but I had an attack while practicing piano Saturday night that was so bad I thought I was having a stroke. Went to local Emergency Room, they ran a full battery of tests: Not a stroke, not a heart attack -- but possibly an inner ear disorder likely to recur.

It did recur, late last evening -- again while I was practicing piano. Not quite as severe, but much longer. The world was spinning around me nearly uncontrollably for an hour, causing nausea and other bad stuff. Walking was impossible. Crawling was hard.

Today I've been trying without much luck to get in to see a specialist. I want to put a stake in this STAT.

Has anyone else here ever encountered vertigo issues while playing the piano? That both attacks hit me while practicing may be sheer coincidence. On the other hand, I've been trying to explain to my better half that the risk factors would be reduced if I got a larger, more substantial piano...


Sounds like the onset of panic/anxiety attack. Additional symptoms- sweaty palms, heart racing, narrowing vision, feeling of 'tightness' around the head. If you Google 'anxiety attack' you'll see a more complete list.


With respect, Jimb, I think Tom is closer to the mark. There just weren't any circumstances to trigger a panic/anxiety attack. These were ordinary practice sessions, with no one else in the room.

OTOH, what happened lines up squarely with the sort of inner-ear vertigo issues described in the link Tom provided.

Last edited by ClsscLib; 04/20/15 07:13 PM.

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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412223 04/20/15 06:39 PM
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I've had a couple episodes at the piano, but I've had them elsewhere as well, so I knew what was happening. Still, quite surprising!

And certainly, a nice stable bench is a better perch! I imagine I'd have flown sideways from one of those 3-legged spinning topped piano stools!


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: malkin] #2412232 04/20/15 07:12 PM
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ClsscLib Offline OP

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Originally Posted by malkin
I've had a couple episodes at the piano, but I've had them elsewhere as well, so I knew what was happening. Still, quite surprising!

And certainly, a nice stable bench is a better perch! I imagine I'd have flown sideways from one of those 3-legged spinning topped piano stools!


Malkin, did you receive medical attention for this issue? If so, what general course of action was pursued? (I see the doc tomorrow.)


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412246 04/20/15 07:30 PM
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I had a sinus infection at the time and it resolved so I didn't see the doc for it. (I bug my doc about too many other health issues so I wanted to give this one a chance.) Both of my events followed rapid head movement from left to right.

If you're having vertigo with no other symptoms just describe the event to your doctor by saying what you were doing, what it felt like, how long it lasted, etc.


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412248 04/20/15 07:37 PM
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So I shall do. I'm hoping the doctor doesn't say something silly like, "It's simple and obvious -- all you have to do is stop playing the piano!"

I think she already knows, though, that the success of such a regimen is contraindicated...


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412267 04/20/15 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
On the other hand, I've been trying to explain to my better half that the risk factors would be reduced if I got a larger, more substantial piano...


You are absolutely correct. It can be scientifically proven that increasing the mass of the piano will have a calming effect on the fluid in your inner ear. If you need help with this, I can send you some equations.


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412283 04/20/15 10:41 PM
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It can be something quite harmless, a slight infection or simply stiff neck issues, which sometimes cause such symptoms for me at work. The symptoms often get worse when you start worrying about them, people can actually develope panic attacks from something harmless when they do not know what's going on.

A better piano is definitely the best cure for any health issue!

Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: outo] #2412366 04/21/15 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by outo
It can be something quite harmless, a slight infection or simply stiff neck issues, which sometimes cause such symptoms for me at work. The symptoms often get worse when you start worrying about them, people can actually develope panic attacks from something harmless when they do not know what's going on.

A better piano is definitely the best cure for any health issue!


I suspect you're absolutely right that worrying about the symptoms may make them worse.


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412379 04/21/15 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
So I shall do. I'm hoping the doctor doesn't say something silly like, "It's simple and obvious -- all you have to do is stop playing the piano!"


If that happens you can tell her that it might not be simple, but it is obvious for you to find another doctor!


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412512 04/21/15 01:36 PM
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You have some sort of inner ear thing going on. It might just be a virus, that went through my building at work a few years ago. Everyone was getting vertigo, then it burned out. If your hearing is not affected and you haven't noticed anything different going on with your hearing, I wouldn't worry too much. I had a form of Meniere's disease after a car accident in which I broke my neck. A couple years after the accident, I started getting vertigo and losing some hearing. It was really bad for a while, but ended up going away and I'm perfectly fine now, but with some hearing loss. But this was due to the accident and damage that occurred therein, and my hearing was affected before the vertigo started. So I would think that you probably have a virus, and since the inner ear is very sensitive, the resonating sound from the piano might be inducing the vertigo. Try wearing light ear plugs and see if it helps. It helped me a good deal until my issue resolved. Hopefully yours goes away shortly.

Last edited by ebonykawai; 04/21/15 01:40 PM.

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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412557 04/21/15 04:06 PM
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Thanks, Malkin and EbonyKawai.

If it was a virus, it was one that produced no notable symptoms other than the vertigo itself. I suppose that's possible.

Another possibility is motion-induced benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which occurs in people of a certain age -- and I'm getting to be one. I have a suspicion that the incidents have been provoked by practicing heavily a couple of pieces that have me making sharp, quick looks down and to the left -- away from the music stand and towards the lower bass keys -- in order to help secure big jumps in the left hand. My hypothesis is that those movements dislodge calcium crystals in the inner ear, leading to what I refer to technically as balance fubarage.

The good news is that, if it is indeed BPPV, the disorder is usually quite treatable without surgery or medications.

I can't get an appointment with a specialist earlier than late next week, but I will figure this out. I hope...

Last edited by ClsscLib; 04/21/15 05:18 PM.

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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2412600 04/21/15 06:49 PM
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I hope so too!


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2414947 04/28/15 10:21 AM
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I had vertigo symptoms, went to my dr who explained the entire vertigo cause and effect, and recommended treatment. Vertigo is not caused by a virus - vertigo is damage to a part of the inner ear, and is brought on by many possible things. A virus can trigger a vertigo event, but can't be the cause. In my case, I have a vertigo condition in my right inner, and it was triggered by movement from standing to lying down to exercise or getting up quickly from the floor or from a sitting position. Sitting on a bench could be causing an imbalance, which could also trigger a vertigo event, if you have the vertigo condition in your inner ear - but you have to have the vertigo condition to begin with. Your case may be similar or different - and only an exam by a dr can tell.

Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: irvington922] #2414960 04/28/15 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by irvington922
Vertigo is not caused by a virus - vertigo is damage to a part of the inner ear, and is brought on by many possible things. A virus can trigger a vertigo event, but can't be the cause.

The most common cause of acute, short-lived, severe vertigo in younger people is viral labyrinthitis (more strictly, vestibular neuritis). Yes, it is viral, and is often preceded by viral URTI.

I had it once when in my early twenties. I felt like I was attached to a spinning wheel, and couldn't even sit up in bed without toppling over, and kept throwing up. The only slight relief I had was when I lay perfectly still, without twitching a muscle.

It lasted about three days. And I've not had it again since.

BTW, this kind of vertigo is different from BPPV.

Incidentally, the sensation of feeling faint (as if about to pass out) when getting up suddenly from sitting, or from lying down, is often mistaken for 'vertigo'. It isn't vertigo - it's due to postural (or orthostatic) hypotension. You don't get the spinning/losing balance/motion sickness sensation with this.

Similarly, fear of heights isn't vertigo (despite what Alfred Hitchcock would have you believe....... wink ).


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2414963 04/28/15 11:17 AM
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I'll just pop in there, that vomiting and debilitating dizziness can also be caused by food poisoning. Happened to me.


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Re: Vertigo on the Piano Bench? [Re: ClsscLib] #2443777 07/22/15 06:41 PM
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Hi,
I have to chime in. I had vertigo three times in my life and the feeling is so bad one would prefer to die. I always was driving.
What I know about vertigo is that a little crystal in you inner ear got loose and was 'swimming' around causing all the bad effects. It's possible it come from certain head movements, but definitely not from playing your piano. So, no worries there.

If it happens again, you can do certain movements with your head, if your condition allows it. I couldn't do it because it made it worse. The movements are very easy and it would be best to have a partner who can move your head as you have to lay down, what you've done anyway I gues.

You can also find good tutorial on youtube. It's called EPLEY maneuver.

It comes out of the blue and for me the only thing that helps is to lay down for hours and not move. Hope you'll never get it again.

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