The first time I heard of this disorder, I was confused. The doctor kept saying, "You know, dis-embarkment, like getting off of a boat!". Ok, now it made sense. Some people feel like they are on a boat when they are sitting, standing and/or walking. I examined a man with disembarkment syndrome the first time about 20 years ago, but I didn't know what to call his condition. I recently saw a different man with this syndrome. He said he was looking at his device while on an airplane for about 45 minutes. When he turned it off, he felt terribly sick and nauseated. When he got off the plane, he said he felt like he was walking on 6 foot waves. He said it had been this way for years! In the examination, I found a severe one sided cerebellar deficit, which we started to change right away. Unfortunately, this man did not continue with the treatment plan. However, he was about 50% improved after approximately 2 months of treatment. I also gave him homework so the neurological changes we made would continue to be stable.
Vertigo? Did you know that vertigo, dizziness, BPPV, nausea, disembarkment syndrome and other abnormal 'tipsy' feelings are based in the same 3 areas of the brain? The 3 areas are the visual system, the cerebellum and the vestibular system. These 3 systems need to work together for a person to have balance and be able to resist gravity (walk) without feeling strange. In most cases, these disorders have to do with the cerebellum firing at different frequencies on one side compared to the other. This is not difficult to determine during an examination. If the cerebellum is the cause, usually the symptoms improve within 3 weeks and can oftentimes be cured within several months. This can be done by creating neuroplastic changes in the part of the brain that is weak. If the problem is in the vestibular system in the inner ear, the cause could be varied. For example, it could be due to an ear infection or injury to the head or ears. Some good news is that the other 2 systems, the cerebellum and visual systems, can adapt to many physical problems in the inner ear so people can have good function even if there is a vestibular problem.
I am happy to announce that I recently received my certification specialty in Childhood Developmental Disorders. This umbrella includes many childhood challenges including, ADHD, autism, OCD, sensory deprivation disorder, violence, anxiety and dyslexia. If you know anyone who can be helped with these challenges, please refer them to my office. I will be able to determine if the child has a deficiency in a specific brain area. If so, my area of passion is to create neuroplastic changes in these problem areas. I also give homework so that the child and parent have more control as well an ability to support and stabilize the treatment in the office. I believe I am the only person in the state of Washington that has this certification. Thank you!
I began treating a woman with multiple sclerosis. Her balance was terrible and she had multiple bruises on her legs and arms from falling. She also had trouble with small motor control. Buttoning a blouse was difficult. She started to notice better balance after 3 weeks and is now in remission. Did she have multiple sclerosis? Yes, she has it. However, just because she has this debilitating disorder does not mean that her function cannot improve. Making neuroplastic change in the brain is always possible! Dr. Merry