Dani Weber, Doctor of Physical Therapy
“I’m So Dizzy My Head Is Spinning!”
You’ve heard these song lyrics, right?! Maybe I just aged myself, but either way, if you’ve ever dealt with dizziness you may know the feeling. If you google the word “dizzy,” you will see there is an array of ways to describe dizziness. According to Mayo clinic it is an “altered sense of balance and place, possibly described as lightheaded, feeling faint, or as if the head is spinning.” There are many reasons we can experience dizziness, which is why there is not just one, simple “cure-all” treatment. Causes of dizziness can come from the cardiovascular system, stroke or transient ischemic attacks, viral illnesses, visual problems, neurological impairments, or problems with your vestibular system.
You may be wondering, “So how can PT help me with my spinning head?” Well, physical therapists who are trained in the treatment of the vestibular system are able to assess if there is an issue within that vestibular system. The vestibular system is located deep in the inner ear and is essential for equilibrium/balance. There are a variety of disorders which can take place within the vestibular system. One of the more common causes of vertigo (the sensation of spinning) is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).
Common symptoms of BPPV include
- Vertigo (spinning sensation) with or without nausea when bending forward, rolling over, looking up, or with a movement of the head.
- Disequilibrium or an altered sense of balance can then last for a few hours or days
- These symptoms are caused by displaced crystals known as otoconia, which have travelled from the utricle to one of the semicircular canals. The detached otoconia shifts when the head moves, which sends false information to the brain and creates the sensation of movement or spinning.
PT treatment will ultimately depend on the exact underlying cause of your symptoms. If your symptoms are due to BPPV, there are specific maneuvers which will move the displaced crystals back to where they belong. There will also be exercises involved to improve your symptoms, improve your equilibrium or sense of balance, reaction time, and reduce your risk of falling. Therefore, if you are experiencing vertigo, dizziness, or a loss of balance, please do come in to see a physical therapist. We have someone who specializes in vertigo at each of our locations, so please visit our locations page to find the closest and most convenient one for you!
To see a list of physical therapists that offer dizziness/vertigo treatment, check out our “Vertigo” Services page and scroll down to view specialists in the area!