Posted by: seattledizzygroup | March 31, 2020

Strategies for Calming Anxiety Amidst Uncertainty

Ways to Manage Anxiety in Uncertain Times

Uncertainty can be very stressful and challenging for those living with chronic illness. The unpredictability of symptoms and loss of control and stability often lead to feelings of anxiety which can be overwhelming. 

These articles discuss the emotional impacts upon the chronically ill and offer strategies for calming anxiety amidst uncertainty.

Anxiety & Vestibular Disorders:

Emotional Aspects of Vestibular Disorders

Anxiety, Vertigo, and the Path to Inner Calm

Why Anxiety Often Accompanies Balance Disorders & What To Do About It

Vestibular Migraine Linked to Increased Anxiety

Overcoming Anticipatory Anxiety from Vestibular Migraine

Uncertainty & Chronic Illness:

Chronic Illness & Uncertainty

How Chronic Illness Fans the Flame of Uncertainty

How to Cope with Uncertainty

Learning to Live Gracefully with Change & Uncertainty

Living with Uncertainty

Coping with Anxiety & Uncertainty During the Coronavirus Pandemic:

Living with Worry & Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty

Living with Uncertainty During Covid-19

7 Tips to Manage Coronavirus Anxiety

See Also:

Finding the Balance Within the Mind Body Connection

Staying Grounded in an Unstable World


© Copyright 2020, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | February 29, 2020

Rare Diseases Are Not So Rare

February 29th, 2020–the rarest day of the year–is Rare Disease Day!

An estimated 300 million people worldwide or about 5% of the world’s population are living with a rare disease.

The number impacted globally shows Rare Diseases are not so rare!

If you don’t have a rare disease, you might know someone who does.

Uncommon vestibular disorders such as MdDS are considered rare diseases.

What is Rare Disease Day?

Rare Disease Day is an international event that takes place on the last day of February each year. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives.

Building awareness of rare diseases is so important because about 1 in 20 people will live with a rare disease at some point in their life.

Despite this, there is no cure for the majority of rare diseases and many go undiagnosed. Rare Disease Day improves knowledge amongst the general public of rare diseases while encouraging researchers and decision makers to address the needs of those living with rare diseases.

The message for Rare Disease Day 2020 is:
Rare is many worldwide.
Rare is strong every day.
Rare is proud everywhere.

Article: What Is a Rare Disease?

Video: 10 Things You May Not Know About Rare Diseases

To learn more about rare diseases or find out how you can get involved and help raise awareness, visit:

Misconceptions about Living with a Rare Disease

It’s sometimes hard for others to grasp what it really means to live with a rare condition, or care for someone who’s rare.

The Mighty teamed up with the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), a non-profit organization supporting individuals and families facing rare conditions through education, patient advocacy and research, and asked their communities, “What’s one misconception about living with a rare condition?” Their answers show that indeed, there are many who think it’s a much easier path than it is. The struggle to receive access to treatment and care, as well as a knowledgeable medical team is very real.

Article:  25 Misconceptions about Living with a Rare Disease


See also:

Be A Chronic Illness Ally


© Copyright 2020, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | January 31, 2020

Take A Step Towards Balance In 2020

Take A Step Towards Balance In 2020!

“Every Journey Begins With A Single Step” – Maya Angelou

Seattle Dizzy Group is a respected leader in the vestibular and balance disorders patient support community with increasing national and global reach. (Read about our 2019 Highlights below). We hope you will join us in 2020 and help us continue to grow, provide community, and offer support to people living with chronic dizziness and imbalance–in Seattle and beyond.  With your help, we can continue to expand community outreach and involvement (including hosting professional speakers on various vestibular/balance topics and connecting with local health providers/resources) and also increase our advocacy efforts to raise awareness about vestibular and balance disorders (including participating in Balance Awareness Week with our annual Walk for Balance Event, see Making a Difference for Balance Awareness).

Get Involved!

Seattle Dizzy Group is organized entirely by volunteers (the majority who are personally impacted by chronic dizziness and imbalance). We invite you to take a step towards balance with us in 2020! We would love for you to get involved and contribute to our group however you are able. Spread the word about Seattle Dizzy Group and invite others to join us. Share Seattle Dizzy Group information and resources with others. Participate in online discussions. Help with hosting in-person meetings and activities (be a greeter, assist with room set-up and take-down, bring snacks, provide transportation, etc.). For more info, email:

We are an independent, self-supporting not-for-profit group funded solely through donations. As we continue to grow and expand our outreach efforts, we are naturally incurring more expenses. Our goal is to continue to offer at no charge support and resources to those in need in the vestibular community–in Seattle and beyond. Please consider supporting Seattle Dizzy Group with a financial gift to help us keep growing and thriving in 2020!  (Any donation amount is greatly appreciated!).

Ways your financial gift helps Seattle Dizzy Group:

  • Provides materials, supplies, and hosting for monthly support group meetings.  (Each meeting costs about $25, or about $300 annually).
  • Provides thank you gifts for guest speakers. (As funds allow, we strive to honor speakers with about $25 value gift, or about $100 annually).
  • Provides administrative support, online services/resources, and website hosting, etc.  (Administrative costs are about $500 annually).
  • Provides funding for Balance Awareness Week event(s) and other group activities.  (Costs may be about $50-$100 or more per activity).
To give Seattle Dizzy Group a donation of any amount by credit card or PayPal, click the “Donate” button below.

PayPal Donate

(Gifts to Seattle Dizzy Group are not tax deductible at this time)

THANK YOU for your support!

2019 Highlights

  • In September, we hosted our Ninth Annual Walk for Balance Event in celebration of Balance Awareness Week and Falls Prevention Awareness Day/Week with a goal of raising awareness for vestibular and balance disorders and showing our support for people living with chronic dizziness and imbalance. We started the event with a yoga warm-up activity and then invited others to “Walk a Mile in Dizzy Shoes” with us at Green Lake.  We increased our impact during our walk by wearing blue, Seattle Dizzy Group gear, balance awareness t-shirts, and Walk for Balance badge stickers as well as carrying balloons, flamingos (balance “mascots”) and balance awareness signs. After walking together, we honored event participants with our fifth annual Dizzy Spirit Awards. As a part of the celebration, we enjoyed food and giveaways. We also had a balance awareness Information Fair throughout the event. It was a fun day that hopefully helped lift spirits and build momentum for the cause. We received wonderfully positive feedback from participants, and we are excited to continue to grow the event in 2020!
  • In October, we celebrated 13 years together as a support group!

  • In 2019, we continued to expand the Seattle Dizzy Group website/blog and online services/resources and reached thousands of people around the globe. (For example, our website/blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2019 by visitors from over 100 different countries worldwide!). Additionally, we gained followers on Facebook and  Twitter, and increased membership of our MeetUp Group.  We appreciate everyone who connected online with Seattle Dizzy Group in 2019 and are especially grateful for all those who helped get the word out about our group and shared our posts/resources with others.

See also: Past Annual Highlights

© Copyright 2020, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | December 31, 2019

Communicating with Hearing Loss

Communication Tips for Hearing Impairment

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions, affecting about 1 in 6 people. Most of us know someone with some degree of hearing impairment. The ability to speak, hear, and understand language and conversation are central to almost every aspect of daily life. Hearing loss hinders communication and impacts relationships. Hearing aids can help, but they do not “cure” hearing loss or return hearing to “normal.” Even with hearing aids, communication can be difficult. 

These tips can help improve communication despite hearing challenges: 


© Copyright 2019, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | November 30, 2019

Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)

Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)

by Morgan Kriz, DPT

Vestibular Physical Therapist

 (Presented to Seattle Dizzy Group on 11/16/19)

This presentation gives an overview of Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD) which is a newly defined diagnostic syndrome described as a common chronic dysfunction of the vestibular system and brain that produces persistent dizziness, non-spinning vertigo and/or unsteadiness.

Visual distracting environments (such as supermarkets, large crowds, or watching TV) can be overwhelming and cause significant distress for people with a Vestibular Disorder. Once recognized, PPPD can be managed.


Persistent: symptoms present > 50% of the time for more than 3 months; but wax and wane. Can get better with distractions, progress later in the day.

Postural: exacerbated with upright posture (standing/walking); sudden movements

Perceptual: active (self generated movement) or passive movement (elevator, car) with exposure to moving (traffic) or complex visual stimuli (wallpaper, phone)

Dizziness: false or distorted sensations of swaying, rocking, bobbing, or bouncing of oneself (internal non‐spinning vertigo) or the surroundings (external non‐spinning vertigo)

RD-D2 & C3PO

Not a “New” Diagnosis

  • Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD, 3PD) – Dietrich and Staab 2014
  • Chronic Subjective Dizziness (CSD) – Staab and Ruckenstein2004
  • Visual Vertigo/Visual dependence/Space Motion discomfort (SMD) – Staab 2003
  • Phobic Postural Vertigo (PPV) – Brandt and Dieterich 1986
  • Mimic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Prevalence of PPPD

  • About 5% of the population develops “vestibular” dizziness per year (Hain):
    • 0.05% = Mal Debarquement (0.5/1000 persons)
    • 50% = land sickness “LDS”
    • 1% = Vestibular Migraine
    • 0.2% = Meniere’s Disease
    • 10% = PPPD

How It Starts

Frequently at the beginning, there is an organic vestibular illness:

Medical Examination

  • Normal eye exam
    • Visual strain may contribute
  • MRI/imaging = negative
    • * May start with an initial insult of inner ear years prior

“Normal” Vestibular System

Impaired Vestibular System

Poor Recovery from Vestibular Illness


  • PPPD is in fact a series of normal misunderstandings between the ears, spinal chord, eyes and brain. The signals have been mislead and misfired.
  • It is all reversible!

Research Shows

  • Emerging research suggests that it may arise from functional changes in postural control mechanisms, multi-sensory information processing, or cortical integration of spatial orientation and assessment
  • Thus, PPPD is classified as a chronic functional vestibular disorder
  • It is not a structural or psychiatric condition

Fight or Flight Initiated

  • For this condition there is a strong link with anxiety and a subconscious underlying fear of the dizziness itself
  • The body sensations are perceived with a ‘fright’
Fight or Flight Video


Anxiety and Fear

    • It is not a psychiatric condition
    • Neuro-otologic (vestibular-brain connection) condition with behavioral elements = not moving pattern
    • Co-morbidities would make a person more “aware” of symptoms
  • If the pattern continues = problem


  • If left unmanaged, emotions can delay the natural recovery process as chronic anxiety inhibits neuroplasticity
  • Over time this can lead to increased anxiety and avoidance behaviors that perpetuate the PPPD condition
  • Not using body or inner ear, and instead only visual = PPPD

Treatment Options

  • Vestibular Physical Therapy Protocol
    • Education on condition -> improve control -> reduce anxiety
    • Evaluate for non-compensated vestibular hypofunction
    • TRIGGERS (start journal)
    • Reduce stress/GET SLEEP!
    • Cervical spine contributions
    • VOR adaptation
    • Reduce visual dominance
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies
  • Serotonergic Medications (serotonin = happiness, wellness, neurotransmitter) for sustained remission when applied systematically
  • Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Stimulate Vagus Nerve in Breath

Breathing Exercise


Take Home Message

  • Not a “new’ diagnosis, but has changed over time
  • Tell your brain “good job” and “you are safe”
  • Increased visual dependency = less somatosensory reweighting
  • Has central (brain) rewiring component
  • Intervention: Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medication


Brandt T. Vertigo. Its multisensory syndromes. Springer Verlag, New York, 1991.

Brandt T, Dieterich M, and Strupp M. Chapter 5: Psychogenic forms of vertigo and dizziness in “Vertigo And Dizziness: Common complaints: Springer, 1995

Breslau, N., L. R. Schultz, et al. (2000). “Headache and major depression: is the association specific to migraine?” Neurology 54(2): 308-313.

Clark DB, Hirsch BE, Smith MG, Furman JMR, Jacob RG. Panic in otolaryngology patients presenting with dizziness or hearing loss. Am J Psychiatry 1994; 151:1223 1225.

Clark, M. R. and K. L. Swartz (2001). “A conceptual structure and methodology for the systematic approach to the evaluation and treatment of patients with chronic dizziness.” J Anxiety Disord 15(1-2): 95-106.

More Information about PPPD

PPPD Explained article by The Dizzy Cook
PPPD Information from Vestibular Disorders Association (VeDA)


Morgan Kriz, DPT

Vestibular Physical Therapist

Morgan has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy that specializes in Balance and Vestibular Rehabilitation. Morgan does have a strong background in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and this provides a foundation for general musculoskeletal conditions that may contribute to balance limitations.

Her focus as a provider is for patients to feel empowered with management of their condition and learn strategies to live a functional life so they can participate in the things they love. The human body is a magnificent. Each body system has a distinguished function however all systems are interdependent with one another. Morgan tries her best to educate patients so they may be proactive in their healthcare and strives to communicate well with other providers to give efficient and quality care through a multidisciplinary approach.

Vestibular Rehabilitation is an exercise based therapy program used to treat balance and dizziness disorders. It is based on the body’s natural ability to compensate for balance problems through optimizing the brain’s connection from your inner ear; eyes and body. Morgan uses evidence based guidelines when creating a patient’s individualized plan of care for Vestibular Rehabilitation. Morgan believes getting the most out of life is to make it fun/play games and tries to incorporate this into her rehabilitation programs so the brain retains the information for long-term management.

Contact Morgan:

Puget Sound ENT in Edmonds, WA:

Vestibular Therapy Specialists, telehealth services:


Presentation information is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Presentations posted online may include discussion notes, links, images, and other information added by Seattle Dizzy Group.


© Copyright 2019, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.


Posted by: seattledizzygroup | October 31, 2019

Weather and Dizziness

How Weather Impacts Vestibular Disorders

The change of seasons from the warmer, dryer weather of summer to the colder, wetter weather of fall and winter commonly triggers or worsens vestibular symptoms (dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, headache, etc.). 

Changes in barometric pressure especially affect those who are living with conditions such as Meniere’s Disease and/or Vestibular Migraine.  

These articles discuss how weather changes impact vestibular disorders and offer helpful coping strategies:

Environmental Influences on Vestibular Disorders

Seasonal Vertigo Sufferers Can Predict Weather Changes

Feel It? 4 Ways Barometric Pressure Affects Your Health

Under Pressure: Are You a Human Barometer?

See also:

Winter Survival Strategies


© Copyright 2019, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | September 30, 2019

Falls Prevention at Any Age


All Can Fall – Not Just Seniors!

Seniors are at a higher risk of falls, but anyone at any age can fall–especially, those living with chronic vestibular (inner ear/balance system) dysfunction.

Dizziness and imbalance are common symptoms for older adults and about 1/3 of people over age 65 fall annually.  However, falls are NOT a normal part of aging and are preventable!

The first week of Fall each year is Falls Prevention Awareness Week with the goal of raising awareness about how to prevent falls among older adults:

As a part of Balance Awareness Week (September 15-21, 2019), the Vestibular Disorders Association (VeDA) launched an “All Can Fall” online campaign to help raise awareness about falls. 

Being aware of yourself and your surroundings can help prevent falls.  (Remember, the acronym I DO NOT FALL). 

It is also important to be prepared to land as safely as possible when a fall happens.  (Try to stay bent, protect your head, fall on your buttocks or thighs, and roll with the fall rather than bracing yourself). 

If you are feeling unsteady, Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy can help you regain balance and decrease your risk of a fall!

More information:

Falls Prevention Resources:

Balance and Aging VeDA Article

Balance and Falls in the Older Adult VeDA Article

Falls Prevention & Home Safety for Those with Vestibular Disorders VeDA Article

Falls Prevention Fact Sheet

NCOA List of Falls Prevention Articles

See Also:

Take Steps to Prevent Falls

Balance Awareness Week Did You Know Facts about Vestibular Disorders


© Copyright 2019, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.


Posted by: seattledizzygroup | August 31, 2019

Be a Chronic Illness Ally

Ways to Better Support the Chronically Ill

About half of people currently have a chronic condition of some sort.  So, the likelihood is that if you are not personally chronically ill, someone you love is living with a chronic illness (which may not be obvious to others).

Even if the symptoms and impacts of chronic illness sometimes seem “invisible”, one of the very best things that friends and family can do to support a chronically ill loved is to tell them “I believe you.”

These articles share great suggestions for how to be a better chronic illness ally as well as ways to offer help and support to chronically ill loved ones:

8 Ways to Be an Ally to Someone with an Invisible Illness

Choose to Be a Better Ally to the Chronically Ill & Disabled 

How to Be an Ally to Sick People

100 Ways to Show Up for People with a Chronic Illness 

How to Help a Loved One with Chronic Illness

7 Ways to Be a Better Friend to Someone with Chronic Illness (and 3 Things You Should Never Do)

How to Be There for a Friend Who is Going Through an Incurable Medical Condition

Key Ways to Offer Support to a Friend with Chronic Illness

5 Things to Know about Supporting Your Chronically Ill Friend 

5 Things the Chronically Ill Want “Healthy People” to Know

5 Things to Say to Your Friend with Chronic Illness

5 Important Things to Know if You Have a Chronically Ill Spouse

“But You Don’t Look Sick” Understanding Invisible Illness Infographic

Learn to See Invisible Illness

Understanding Invisible Illness

Chronic Illness Facts

Ways to Maintain Healthy Relationships & Social Activity Despite the Challenges of Living with Chronic Illness


Show Your Support for People Living with Vestibular & Balance Disorders!

September 15-21, 2019 is Balance Awareness Week! This is a great opportunity to help raise awareness for vestibular and balance disorders and show your support as a chronic illness ally!

Find out how you can get involved at

Help Raise Awareness with Seattle Dizzy Group!


In celebration of Balance Awareness Week, Seattle Dizzy Group will host our Annual Walk for Balance Event on Saturday, September 21, 2019 (12-2:30 pm at Green Lake).  Join us for this fun community event where we will “Walk a Mile in Dizzy Shoes” together to help create greater awareness for vestibular and balance disorders and show our support for people living with chronic dizziness and imbalance–in Seattle and beyond.

Event details:

(Also, find out how Seattle Dizzy Group is Making a Difference for Balance Awareness)


Walk for Balance TM



© Copyright 2019, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | July 31, 2019

Overcoming Summertime Vestibular Challenges

Summer Tips for Vestibular Disorders

The hot weather, outdoor activities, and travel adventures of summer can be challenging for those living with a chronic vestibular or balance disorder. 

These articles offer helpful tips for managing dizziness and imbalance during summer:

Summer Challenges for Vestibular Patients

Managing Summer Activities and Vestibular Disorders

Summer Heat and Migraine Dizziness

Summer Survival Strategies

Ways to Combat Motion Sickness

Traveling with Dizziness (Adventures in “Dizzyland”)


Ways to Stay Cool with a Vestibular Disorder

By Julie Grove MPT of Cascade Dizziness & Balance PT

    • Heat and warmth can increase sensations of nausea.
    • When dizziness, vertigo, anxiety, or nausea/vomiting occur quickly apply cold towels to neck/head.
    • Move to a cool space, if safe, or feel the tactile (touch) receptors against a building wall.
    • Use cool/cold sensations to distract you (your brain) from the strong feelings of nausea.
    • Use natural anti-nausea foods: ginger and peppermint.
    • Reduce your body’s autonomic nervous system reactionary fight/flight to nausea/dizziness.

(Info from Calm Cool and Compensated blog post)


© Copyright 2019, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | June 30, 2019

Ways to Explain the Energy Limitations of Chronic Illness

Helpful Analogies to Explain the Energy Impacts of Activity when Living with a Chronic Illness

It can be challenging to explain to healthy friends and family about the energy limitations of living with a chronic illness and how fatigue impacts daily activity choices.  Those who are chronically ill have a very limited amount of energy each day as compared to those who are healthy.  It can be difficult to accomplish much when every activity costs energy and too quickly brings on fatigue.

These infographics illustrate The Spoon Theory and The Battery Analogy to explain the energy impacts of activity when living with a chronic illness:



These articles offer various ways to explain to others how symptoms and fatigue impact the activity level of the chronically ill:

The Spoon Theory

Warning: Low Battery (what living with chronic fatigue is really like)

Are You an Unchargeable or a Spoonie?

How I Talk to my Friends about my Chronic Illness: The Watering Can Analogy

16 Metaphors for Chronic Illness

Balancing Activity and Rest



© Copyright 2019, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

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Seattle Dizzy Group

Providing support & community for people living with chronic dizziness & imbalance -- in Seattle & beyond

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