Have you ever experienced dizziness when changing positions? Does it feel like the world is spinning around you, even though you're not moving? If so, you may be suffering from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Luckily, a physical therapist can help and can help quickly!
What causes vertigo?
Positional vertigo (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV) is caused by small calcium crystals in your inner ear becoming dislodged and floating into the wrong part of your ear canal. This can cause your brain to receive altered signals about your body's position, leading to the sensation of spinning or dizziness.
How do I treat vertigo?
Physical therapy treatment for positional vertigo involves an intervention or treatment called Canalith Repositioning Maneuver. This treatment aims to move the calcium crystals back to their correct position, where they will no longer cause dizziness.
During the Canalith Repositioning Maneuver, your physical therapist will guide you through a series of head movements designed to move the calcium crystals. These movements are safe and painless, and you may even experience immediate relief from your symptoms. It's not uncommon, though, for you to initially experience some of that familiar spinning-type dizziness in the early stages of the treatment – in fact, this response often is indicative that we're on the right path.
After the treatment, your physical therapist may recommend additional exercises to help reduce issues with dizziness and unsteadiness in the future. These may include balance and vision coordination exercises. Your physical therapist will also likely discuss some short-term modifications to your routine for a day or two to try to mitigate a potential return or recurrence of symptoms.
Diagnosis of vertigo (or BPPV)
Appropriate diagnosis requires a thorough exam
It's important to note that while a physical therapist can be highly effective in treating positional vertigo, it's important to undergo a thorough exam first. Your physical therapist will first go through a thorough history to try to rule out any risk factors or concurrent symptoms that may suggest a more significant underlying condition. Additionally, treatment from a physical therapist may ultimately not be the best option for everyone, as each individual's treatment plan should be tailored to their specific needs and should take into account their medical history. While not common, there are some more significant medical conditions that should be ruled out by your provider. Likewise, there are other non-sinister conditions that can also generate feelings of dizziness or unsteadiness that require different forms of treatment than BPPV (positional vertigo)
If you're experiencing dizziness or vertigo, don't hesitate to reach out to your local physical therapist at Smithfield Physical Therapy Specialists! They can help determine the best course of action for your specific situation. With the right treatment plan, you can get back to feeling like yourself again in no time!