What is vertigo?
If you’ve experienced vertigo, you know it! It can be alarming and come on suddenly. Vertigo is short for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Vertigo is the sensation of movement when there is none, or an incorrect sensation of movement. Patients often describe the sensation of horizonal spinning. It is caused by a mismatch of inputs between the vestibular system, the balance centers in the brain, and the proprioceptive (balance) centers throughout the body.
Symptoms of BPPV
- Sudden eye movements
- Ringing in the ears
Vertigo is one cause of dizziness, and the most frequent reason a physical therapist would treat dizziness. It can cause a spinning sensation, as well as severe nausea. Vertigo, or BPPV, is usually positional and can last short for durations like 10-20 seconds, or can occur much longer. A physical therapist is trained to understand and find the location and severity of the vertigo, ensuring successful treatment. Our therapists use a noninvasive approach of customized exercises and repositioning maneuvers that can aid in recovery.
What is vestibular therapy?
Vestibular physical therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat vertigo. The vestibular system, within the inner ear, is responsible for regulating our balance. It constantly sends information to our balance centers regarding the positioning of our body. Vestibular dysfunction occurs when the fluid housed within this system sends incorrect inputs to the brain, and we get the sudden feeling of movement or spinning.
Vestibular rehabilitation is the answer to this unpleasant problem. Using various movements of the neck, head, eyes, and body, physical therapists help retrain the vestibular system to function properly. An example of vestibular exercise is the epley maneuver, in which a therapist turns your head in various directions. Through repetition and consistency, we can retrain the vestibular system.
Most of the time, people do not think of having a physical therapist examine and treat the problem. However, physical therapists are trained in diagnosing and treating these various disorders that include vertigo. Many times medications can help lower the severity, but they don’t totally address the problem. This is because specific vestibular exercises and head movements need to be performed by a physical therapist.
Seek vestibular therapy for vertigo today
A trained therapist will be able to distinguish the difference between vertigo and other issues that could be causing your dizziness. A therapist will catch any other diagnoses that need to be made, which is very important, since sometimes the issues are more serious and require a referral to a neurological specialist. If you need vertigo therapy, they will be able to assess that as well.
We offer vestibular therapy in all of our 5 Arizona East Valley metro area physical therapy clinics. If you or a loved one is suffering from vertigo or dizziness/balance disorders, call us! We are happy to answer your questions or have you come in for an evaluation to begin to address the problem.