What’s The Deal With Dizziness?

Do you suffer from dizziness or vertigo? Up to 30% of adults will experience dizziness in their lifetime. Dizziness is the feeling of being unbalanced or unsteady. Vertigo is the false feeling that your surroundings are moving or spinning. Dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance often result from injury to, or conditions affecting the vestibular system, which provides our spatial orientation and sense of balance. Vestibular physical therapy treatment helps patients manage and overcome vestibular pathologies. A certified vestibular rehabilitation specialist (Cert. VRS) is a physical therapist trained to treat BPPV, post-concussion syndrome, Meniere’s Disease, cervicogenic dizziness, vestibular hypofunction, and other causes of dizziness or imbalance.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of dizziness. BPPV occurs when calcium carbonate crystals move to portions of the inner ear that they do not belong in. Individuals suffering from BPPV often experience dizziness and vertigo with changes in head position, lightheadedness, and nausea. Dizziness usually occurs with activities like laying in bed, rolling over in bed, or looking down. Symptoms typically only last a few seconds to minutes. Common activities that may trigger BPPV include dental work, hair salon visits, or head trauma from falls, sports impact, or motor vehicle accidents. Symptoms of BPPV may arise weeks after the event that triggers them; however, BPPV is completely curable by repositioning techniques that can be performed by a physical therapist!

Concussion and post-concussion syndrome can also cause dizziness or balance problems. Common symptoms after a concussion can include headaches, nausea, neck pain, fatigue, changes in sleep habits, difficulty with concentration, and changes in behavior. Sometimes symptoms from a concussion last for months after the injury. This is called post-concussion syndrome. Vestibular rehabilitation with a physical therapist can improve persistent dizziness and balance problems, neck pain, and headaches after a concussion.

Occasionally dizziness occurs with neck pain. This condition is called cervicogenic dizziness. Symptoms of cervicogenic dizziness may include feelings of imbalance, unsteadiness, disorientation, with neck pain, limited neck range of motion, or headaches. A physical therapist can help improve dizziness, decrease neck pain, and improve mobility through manual therapy and specific exercise. If you suffer from dizziness, vertigo, or imbalance, physical therapy treatment with a certified vestibular rehabilitation specialist can help you!

Written By
Jacqueline Dagostino PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Director of Rehabilitation