Physical Therapy for Dizziness and Vertigo
Dizziness and vertigo are common complaints that become more common and likely as one ages. By some estimates it is the most common complaint for individuals over the age of 70. Dizziness and vertigo can lead to falls and more difficulty participating in activities of daily living. While there are many causes of dizziness and vertigo some of the most common are successfully treated with physical therapy.
BPPV: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
This condition is one of the most common reasons people complain of dizziness or experience vertigo. It is caused by debris moving through the canals of your inner ear during position changes or head movements. This often results in the sensation of spinning and can result in nausea and even vomiting when severe. This condition can be quickly identified and treated by a physical therapist trained in vestibular rehabilitation. Treatment typically involves identifying the involved ear and then going through a series of positions to move the debris out of the canals some that your body may reabsorb it. BPPV is quick to resolve with proper treatment and often is completely resolved within 3 treatment sessions.
There are many different causes of vestibular dysfunction including infection of the inner ear, shingles, after surgery to the inner ear, head injury, and exposure to certain chemicals. For many of these conditions additional testing for diagnosis is needed. Therapy for these conditions may include exercises to help improve head and eye coordination and decrease the sensation of dizziness, exercises to improve muscle control and strength, and activities to make it easier to walk and move around. A home exercise program is also typically prescribed. Treatment for these conditions takes longer than for BPPV and patients typically need to be seen weekly.
Dr. Andrew Osowski, PT, DPT, Cert. DN
American Institute of Balance Vestibular Rehabilitation Certified