Dizziness is a common problem experienced, especially among older adults. It is the most common reason for doctors’ visits and hospitalizations in people over the age of 65. Dizziness can be described as feeling lightheaded, unsteady, or a spinning sensation (vertigo) which occurs with a change in head position. Causes of dizziness include an inner ear, or vestibular disorder such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV); a head injury that results in injury to the inner ear; diseases such as arthritis or diabetes; neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or stroke; certain medications; cervical spine issues; and low blood pressure. Dizziness may be accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty walking, nausea, anxiety, tiredness, decreased concentration, and depression. A main concern for those suffering with dizziness, especially in the older population, is the increased risk for falls resulting in more serious issues.
Physical therapy is a common treatment for dizziness. A physical therapist can perform tests to determine causes and assess the risk for falls. Some individuals may require further testing or recommendations to their physician. Based on findings, our physical therapist can prescribe exercises to improve balance, strength/flexibility, and to improve the ability to focus eyes and vision. When the inner ear is involved, a test to assess the alignment of tiny crystals in the inner ear can be performed to determine involvement by reproducing patient symptoms. If there is involvement, a procedure (Epley maneuver) can be performed to realign the crystals resulting in decreased dizziness. Our physical therapist can also show modification strategies if episodes of dizziness should reoccur. Should you, family, or friend suffer from dizziness or vertigo, please give our office a call to set up an appointment.
-Written by Danna Carver, PT