by Melissa Hansen, PT, DPT
Have you ever rolled over in bed and suddenly felt as though the room started spinning? Then you roll back to your starting position only to have the spinning feeling worsen? You may be experiencing vertigo. If you are experiencing mild to intense dizziness when moving or changing positions, know that you are not alone. While typically not serious, the symptoms can be unpleasant and interfere with your daily routine. The good news is that in most cases vertigo can easily be treated with the help of an experienced physical therapist.
What is Vertigo?
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of dizziness or the sensation that the inside of your head is spinning, but what does that mouthful of a diagnosis mean? Benign means that thankfully the condition is NOT life threatening. Paroxysmal means that it comes on suddenly. It is referred to as positional because it is triggered by certain head positions or movements. Most people just call it vertigo, which simply means that the condition causes a false sense of rotational or spinning movement.
BPPV is a mechanical problem in your inner ear. Crystals within the semicircular canals of the inner ear become dislodged and migrate throughout the inner ear. When your head and body move, the loose crystals move around and mechanically stimulate fibers that send signals to the brain. The brain translates that input as false movement, and you perceive the feeling that the world is spinning.
BPPV doesn’t cause constant dizziness. Rather, dizziness with vertigo will fluctuate with changes in position like rolling over in bed, bending over, looking up, or turning your head quickly. In addition to feeling as though your surroundings are spinning, vertigo can also cause you to experience nausea, vomiting, and a loss of balance. While it’s common for vertigo symptoms to last less than one minute unless you continue to change positions, vertigo can vary person to person. For those with recurrent, severe, or prolonged symptoms, treating vertigo with physical therapy can provide a tremendous sense of relief.
What Can I Do About My Vertigo Problem?
While it can certainly be a scary and disconcerting problem, in most cases treating vertigo is simple. Correction through physical therapy is typically quick and easy. Many physical therapists are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of BPPV and treat it effectively.
At Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy, we understand that people who experience vertigo are highly motivated to relieve their symptoms. Our caring team strives to remind our clients that the problem is also benign. Serving clients throughout Des Moines, IA and the nearby communities, when you visit one of our physical therapy clinics for help treating your vertigo symptoms, the PT will do some movement testing to determine where the crystals are in your inner ear and which ear is affected. Then the PT will guide you through a corrective maneuver that utilizes gravity to move the crystals back to where they belong. When the crystals are cleared from the problematic area, the symptoms resolve! Most of our clients find that their BPPV issues resolve within one to three treatment sessions.
If you are experiencing dizziness with changes in position, don’t just live with it. Request a free injury screen today or call us at 866-588-0230!