Jason Day And Vertigo: The Various Shades Of Dizziness

August 05, 2016

Jason Day’s collapse during the the second round of the 2015 U.S. Open is probably the most public display of vertigo since filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller by the same name in 1958.

Vertigo, a sensation of motion or whirling, is dizziness typically caused by irregularities within the vestibular portion of the inner ear. Day, an Australian who is not playing in this week’s Travelers Championship in Cromwell but has reached No. 1 in the world golf rankings, has suffered from vertigo since surgery for the removal of an unrelated cyst in his sinus cavity in 2010.

Not all episodes of dizziness are vertigo. But dizziness is a common symptom that can include lightheadedness and unsteadiness — The Hartford HealthCare Dizzy Clinic sees more than 900 patients a year, diagnosing and treating numerous causes of dizziness.

“Dizziness accounts for an estimated 5 percent to 6 percent of physician visits and affects about 40 percent of those over 40 at some time,” said Dr. Marc Eisen, the clinic’s director. “Dizziness is typically treatable, but it is important for your doctor to help you determine the cause so that the correct treatment is implemented.”

Causes of dizziness are so varied — from low blood pressure and migraines to inner-ear disorders — that diagnosis and treatment can be a challenge. Vertigo, depending on the patient, can occur rarely or regularly in either mild or intense forms. Among the causes of vertigo are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, vestibular migraine, and Ménière’s disease. Less common causes include multiple sclerosis, acoustic neuromas and exposure to ototoxic medications.

“Patients at the Dizzy Clinic get a special battery of tests using cutting-edge technology to give them a diagnosis and treatment plan in a single visit,” said Eisen. “The good news is that there are treatments, from physical therapy to surgery — that can provide relief from these debilitating disorders.”

Day has continued his golf career, though he says he experienced vertigo at this year’s British Open at St. Andrews. (In “Vertigo,” detective John “Scottie” Ferguson, played by James Stewart, retired because of the condition.) He has also researched his condition and doesn’t hesitate to share his experience.

“I sound like a doctor,” he said jokingly at the RBC Canadian Open. “I mean, if anyone has benign positional vertigo, I can fix you.”

Better yet, consult a professional if you suffer from dizziness: Contact the Dizzy Clinic at 988 Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield at 860.493.1950.

Hartford HealthCare Press Contact

  • Shawn Mawhiney
    Director of Communications