Vertigo. Dizziness. Disconnect. Disorientation. Out of body experience(s).
These are all terms associated with the type of presentation someone may experience when dealing with symptoms of nystagmus, which is a term used to describe involuntary movement(s) of the eyes that can be mediated via a number of factors. The word nystagmus may not mean much to the average person, but for those who work with patients who experience this phenomenon, it can be a complete game changer with regards to understanding the need for utilizing diagnostic testing and creating subsequent treatment programs to alleviate a patient’s symptoms.
In it’s own category, nystagmus can be defined as a type of involuntary eye movement that involves a slow phase and a fast phase, both of which are important to note and compute, as they can provide a plethora of information about which areas of the brain and/or brainstem are being compensated as a result of the patient’s presentation.
Most of the patients who are seen at The FNC have secondarily acquired nystagmus, which may have manifested following a series of concussions, brain injuries, and/or stroke. With these types of nystagmus, it is essential for a provider to be aware of various areas of the brain that may become damaged during a traumatic event, specifically as it relates to the vestibular and visual system(s), both of which can become compromised during these traumatic events.
Although it is nearly impossible to state exactly when an individual acquired their nystagmus, it is important to note that nystagmus can be changed and eliminated (in some situations) with appropriate therapies and treatment modalities. We have seen tremendous changes in the visuo-vestibular system(s) of a multitude of patients who have performed rehabilitative exercises in our office via the use of our Gyrostim chair.
If you know of someone or are someone who suffers from any form of the symptoms previously listed, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for an evaluation!
Abadi RV. Mechanisms underlying nystagmus. J R Soc Med. 2002;95(5):231–234. doi:10.1258/jrsm.95.5.231