Vertigo

Common Causes of Vertigo:

In general, the reflexes responsible for maintaining balance are regulated through the inner ear, eye muscles, and cervical spine (neck). Disturbances in any one of these regions can cause symptoms.

Specific Causes of Vertigo:

  • Infections
  • BPPV (Most Common)
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Migraines
  • Medication
  • Seizures
  • Tumors/Cancers
  • Stroke
  • Surgery

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

  • BPPV is the most common type of vertigo, caused by free floating calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ear.
  • You will experience a spinning sensation lasting short periods of time.
  • BPPV may be diagnosed by using a simple test and can often be treated successfully using simple repositioning techniques, such as The Epley Maneuver.
  • The repositioning techniques have shown to be very effective, with many studies showing as high as 90% success rates.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

  • They will conduct a thorough evaluation of your symptoms.
  • After confirming a diagnosis of BPPV, most people recover from a simple, but very specific head and neck maneuver performed by the physical therapist. The maneuver is designed to move ear crystals from the semicircular canal back into the appropriate area of the inner ear.
  • The most common treatment is called the Epley Maneuver. The physical therapist will move your head through a series of 4 positions, with your head staying in each position for 30-60 seconds.
  • Your balance and walking may still be impaired after your vertigo has stopped, and your physical therapist can develop a treatment plan to improve your dizziness and balance.

In addition to the above, treatment may include:

  • Exercises to improve balance
  • Exercises to help the brain “correct” differences between your inner ears
  • Exercises to improve your ability to focus your eyes and vision.

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