Dizziness is one of the most common concerns of patients seeking care from their primary care providers ~20%. However, it is often one of the least understood conditions. Statistically, patients will see an average of 4 providers before their “dizziness” is accurately diagnoses. There are many different causes of “dizziness” some are benign while others are life threatening. One very common culprit is “vertigo.” Vertigo is described as a spinning sensation, whereas dizziness is described as "lightheadedness." Often, they have different causes and different treatments.
If you have vertigo accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, immediately call 911: double vision, difficulty speaking, a change in alertness, arm or leg weakness, or an inability to walk.
What Is Vertigo?
Vertigo is the sensation of spinning—even when you're perfectly still, you might feel like you're moving or that the room is moving around you. Most causes of vertigo involve the inner ear or the “vestibular system.
One of the most common forms of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, an inner-ear problem that causes a brief spinning sensation when you move your head or body.
Your physical therapist will perform tests to determine the causes of your vertigo and also to assess your risk of falling. Depending on the results of the tests, your therapist may recommend further testing or consultation with a specialist.
How Can a Physical Therapist Help?
Physical therapists can perform an in-depth evaluation to assess the cause of your symptoms. Based on your physical therapist's evaluation and your goals for recovery, the therapist will customize a treatment plan for you.
Physical therapy treatments for dizziness can take many forms. The type of exercise that your therapist designs for you will depend on your unique problems and might include:
What Kind of Physical Therapist Do I Need?
All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat people with dizziness. However, at Functional Performance Physical Therapy Center our therapists have undergone extensive post- doctoral education, to receive their certificates as Certified Vestibular Specialists.
General tips when you're looking for a physical therapist to help with you “vertigo:”