Do you have a Vestibular Disorder?
- Do you get dizzy or lightheaded when getting into or out of bed?
- Does the room ever spin when you are rolling over in bed?
- Do you ever feel unsteady when walking, especially if you look up/down or turn your head side to side?
- Have you ever felt nauseated along with dizziness?
- Do you ever have trouble concentrating when experiencing dizziness or being light headed?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you might have vertigo or a vestibular disorder that could be treated by physical therapy.
What is a Vestibular Disorder?
What is Vertigo?
Vestibular, or inner ear disorders, can cause a person to have issues with their balance. Vertigo is the sensation of spinning and is a common symptom of vestibular disorders. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is caused by crystals in the inner ear that become dislodged and move into the semi-curricular canal of the ear. With head movement, these floating crystals send false signals to the brain causing a spinning sensation and a feeling of dizziness. Vestibular Hypofunction (decreased function of the vestibular system) can also cause balance issues and a loss of function.
Symptoms Associated with Vertigo/Vestibular Disorders:
- Room-spinning sensation with certain activities
- Feeling off-balance when moving around
- Feeling nauseated
- Problems concentrating
- Head feels “swimmy”
- Feeling fatigued
Any of these symptoms can significantly impact a person’s life, activity level, and well-being. Balance issues can cause a person to reduce their activity level due to fear of falling or a possible injury due to a fall. Reduction in activity levels can lead to decreased strength, loss of range of motion, increased muscle tension in neck and shoulders, fatigue, anxiety and possible depression. Early intervention can help to reduce the likelihood of secondary problems associated with balance issues / vestibular disorders.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Physical therapy can help in many ways. First, we perform a comprehensive evaluation that includes:
- Complete Medical History: Used to address you current overall state of health and past illnesses.
- Eye Movement/Vision Assessment: Used to assess certain automatic reflexes of the eyes. If there are changes in these reflexes, it may suggest vestibular dysfunction.
- Vertigo/BPPV Assessment: Does the position of your head cause dizziness?
- Balance/Gait Assessment: Do you lose your balance when you walk or move your head?
- Musculoskeletal Assessment: Is there any weakness in muscles or tightness in joints that might affect balance and gait?
What You Should Do?
If you think you may have a vestibular disorder or vertigo you should:
- Contact your doctor about your symptoms and schedule a check-up
- Make sure you tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking because a side effect of some medications is dizziness
- Talk to your doctor about physical therapy treatment