Getting Dizzy? Don’t Fall For it!

Are you feeling dizzy, nauseous, lightheaded, weak, sweating, having difficulty walking, or seeing double? Do you make certain movements and feel like the room starts spinning?  These may all be symptoms of a disorder called vertigo or more specifically Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.  Vertigo is the feeling of the room spinning around you.  This disorder stems from a malfunction of your body’s vestibular system, which involves an organ inside of your ear called your otoliths.  It contains different components called semicircular canals, saccules, and utricles.  In these components there is endolymph fluid which passes through moving hair cells along the walls, sending sensation signals to the brain telling it which direction the head is moving.  The reason for the dizziness is that there are little crystals that are passing through this fluid.  The crystals are being attached to the hair cells in the tubes and as long as these stay attached to the hair cells the dizziness continues.    These symptoms may occur when running, standing, sitting up from bed, rolling over, or driving.

A physical therapist is an expert in neurological disorders that affect their normal daily lives.  A PT evaluation and treatment may be just what you need in order to be relieved of these terrible feelings.   These symptoms are resolvable and curable.  PTs need to evaluate when the symptoms occur, which symptoms are experienced, what is done in response to the symptoms, and are the symptoms consistent with a normal diagnosis of vertigo or can it be a problem that is stemming from another portion of the body.  These answers are important and direct the PT evaluation.  A physical therapist will then perform a series of body and head movements in order to test for the specific symptom recurrence.  The treatment will be based around removal of these crystals from the hair cells through rapid and precise head movements.  Once these have been removed and normal flow of the crystals and endolymph occurs, the symptoms will cease allowing for normal daily functioning, continuation of recreational activities, and prevention of further episodes.  Risk of falling and balance deficits may also be apparent when these symptoms of dizziness occur.  This needs to be addressed to prevent further injury and potential hazards from occurring.

Luckily, this disorder is not like your normal physical therapy treatment.  If your case is a normal vertigo treatment, without other comorbidities, the effects may be felt within minutes and you can be cured during that treatment session and re-examined a few days later for symptom recurrence questioning and exam.  Even if you are not feeling dizzy during the day of treatment and your symptoms do not occur during examination, preventative treatment can occur and a home exercise program will be developed.

If these symptoms apply to the situation that you are currently or have suffered from, call Dr. Heather Moore at Total Performance Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment.

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