Stop Enduring Your Dizziness

 Stop Enduring Your Dizziness

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How long will you put up with feeling like the room is spinning? How many years will you walk around not turning your head? How much more sleep will you lose because if you lie flat on the bed you become dizzy? More than 42% of the US population complains at least once in their lifetime of dizziness. An estimated 85% of complaints of dizziness are related to the structures of the inner ear called the Vestibular System. It is important to understand that you do not have to live like this for the rest of your life without some help.

The Vestibular System operates to stabilize the eyes while the head is in motion, control posture, coordinate the movement of the head and body, and keep the head oriented with respect to gravity. When the organs of the Vestibular System are dysfunctional, you can experience dizziness, instability of your eye gaze, instability of your posture, nausea, and changes in or loss of hearing. In addition, some people experience tension in their neck and other posture muscles, headaches, fatigue, and experience frequent falls.

After reporting your symptoms to your primary physician, you may undergo a few tests to determine from where your symptoms are deriving. For example, some conditions of dizziness and imbalance are related to the brain, the spinal cord, and optic nerves also called the Central Nervous System (CNS). Dizziness pertaining to the CNS does not respond as well to physical therapy, but dizziness originating from the Peripheral Nervous System which are the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord that include the organs of the Vestibular System respond better to physical therapy intervention.

The most common and prevalent peripheral Vestibular condition is one known as Vertigo or also Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Despite how a person may feel during the brief episodes, it is not life-threatening. It is triggered by different head position or movements and gives a false sense of rotational movement causing one to feel dizzy, nauseous, and unsteady. This is all occurring because false information is being sent to the brain due to a mechanical problem in the inner ear. What should be understood with this information is that one does not have to endure this condition without help. For many, these episodes come and go and some can have years between the episodes while hoping it will go away.

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) can be effective in treating and improving the symptoms that are associated with vestibular conditions. Physical therapists will perform a full assessment to determine what impairments and functional deficits exist as it relates to the symptoms described. You will answer questions from the Dizziness Handicap Inventory to help determine the difficulties that one may be experiencing due to their dizziness. Your physical therapist will then administer various tests of the vestibular system, the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, and balance and coordination systems to determine the best course of treatment.

Finally, one can be on the road to recovery. Studies have indicated that there is a 90% effective treatment success after realizing which ear should be treated. In addition, you can be treated for other secondary conditions that accompany dizziness at times such as neck pain, imbalance, and unsteady walking. Please don’t suffer for months or years with these symptoms when help is a physical therapy clinic away.

By Jamila Rawlings Logan MSPT

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McDonnell MN, Hillier SL. Vestibular rehabilitation for unilateral peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD005397. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005397.pub4


Herdman SJ. Vestibular rehabilitation. Curr Opin Neurol; 2013:26:96-101.

Herdman, S., Clendaniel, R. (2014) Vestibular Rehabilitation, 4th edition. FA Davies

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