Not being in control is maybe one of the scariest and most uncomfortable things we can experience. This is just what you experience when you suffer from vertigo.
HELP! The Room Is Spinning
Imagine waking up from a nap and as you attempt to stand up, the room just starts spinning? You have to sit down immediately. After a while, it calms down a bit but when trying to look over your shoulder all the symptoms come roaring back.
Vertigo, dizziness, nausea will cause anyone to worry and probably send you to your primary doctor or the closest urgent care. Is it a tumor? Am I having a stroke? Serious situations do need to be ruled out but these symptoms very likely could be vertigo. Vertigo, or a sensation of motion in which the individual or the individual’s surroundings seem to whirl dizzily, is actually very common in Adults and has many causes.
What Causes Vertigo?
The most common of which is BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. BPPV occurs when tiny crystals located in our inner ears which help regulate balance migrate out of their normal position. It’s difficult to say what causes this to occur but these misplaced microscopic crystals can cause a HUGE amount of discomfort.
Relieving The Symptoms
The good news is a simple crystal repositioning technique will decrease these symptoms and get rid of them all together in 80-90 percent of true BPPV cases. The most difficult part is diagnosing exactly what is going on.
Unfortunately, some people get caught in what seems to be a never-ending saga of tests, MRI’s, CT scans, MD appointments, and medicines that won’t diagnose the issue and make it only minimally better. Good primary MD’s and most ENT’s can catch these tell-tale symptoms and more often than not will send these folks to outpatient Physical Therapy for the repositioning.
The signs involve increased vertigo with neck/head movement; actual “spinning” of the room vs. general feeling of unbalance; and nystagmus of the eyes which is when the eye pupils will actually look to be “twitching” in your head from side to side.
Physical Therapists Can Help
A good physical therapist who is trained in Vestibular Rehabilitation will be able to diagnose this positional vertigo and differentiate from other types of vertigo such as orthostatic hypotension which is when people feel lightheaded upon arising from a sitting or lying down position.
Other balance issues can also increase as we age. The physical therapist can work with you to improve your balance or other vertigo symptoms with exercise, balance activities, and home programs. The good news is in most cases you will get better with fewer balance issues. If it’s BPPV, just one to three visits are all that is usually necessary and the change will feel like a “miracle!”
Ron Herbst, MPT, MTC has been treating positional vertigo for over 10 years. He has been involved with vestibular rehabilitation programs for companies such as Physiotherapy Associates, John Hopkins Hospital as their Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation, as well as his own practice. He was able to educate many primary MDs in the area of Baltimore and Towson, MD how to look for positional vertigo signs and get their patients to Physical Therapy as soon as possible.
Always check with your MD as soon as possible if you experience Vertigo of any type!