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Dizziness and Vertigo

What is Dizziness and Vertigo?

Dizziness is a term used to describe sensations that crease the false sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving, this is a very common a common issue. Treatments for dizziness include medications, physiotherapy and psychological intervention. Approximately 5% of people deal with a dizziness condition in their lifetime. Vertigo is when you believe the room is spinning and usually include inner ear disorders, psychological problems, mild traumatic brain injury, neck issues, and reduced blood flow to the brain. Sometimes vertigo and dizziness are associated with different feelings such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration

How do I know if what I’m experiencing is dizziness or vertigo?

Vertigo is more easy to describe than dizziness as Vertigo is the sensation of the room or environment spinning whilst dizziness may be hard to describe. Vertigo may be trigger by something you do like lying down. Tests may be done to diagnose your condition.

Should I be worried?

Commonly dizziness or vertigo are caused by issues that are not serious although the symptoms that are caused by this condition can affect people day to day activities. People with vertigo or dizziness may have to adjust what they do as they may not be able to function properly and may avoid certain activities. Work may also be affected by this condition e.g. using a computer or exposure to bright lights may cause dizziness.

How can physiotherapy help with dizziness and vertigo?

Your Physiotherapist will ask you to complete a variety of test to see what the cause of your symptoms are, if they are unable to find the cause, they will refer you to a medical specialist. Vestibular physiotherapy is a good option to help with treating symptoms dizziness and vertigo. It has been proven that Vestibular physiotherapy has been effective for treating:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Vestibular migraine
  • Viral infection of the inner ear

Vestibular physiotherapy involves the following treatments:

  • Balance and gait exercises: Exercises that involve challenging the vestibular balance system to strengthen it. Therefore improving balance and confidence when walking.
  • Eye—head coordination exercises: Exercises designed to reduce dizziness and improve focus.
  • Habituation exercises – Exercises designed desensitise the vestibular system to particular movements.
  • Re-positioning techniques: Techniques are used for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

How effective is physiotherapy for dizziness and vertigo?

It has been proven through studies that physiotherapy has allowed patients to successfully treat dizziness and vertigo. These studies have showed:

  • Improved function
  • Increased balance
  • Reduce risk of falling

Home exercises or supervised class may be used to reduce dizziness and balance measures. Vestibular physiotherapy usually takes 4-6 weeks to take effect. Although there are many factors that affect how long this type of physiotherapy will take which include:

  • How long you have been dizzy
  • How many other medical problems you have
  • How much emotional or psychological issues you may have
  • How regularly you complete vestibular exercises
  • How significant the symptoms of nausea are

What can I do at home?

You must ensure you follow the instruction of your physiotherapist to ensure you can recover.

Vestibular physiotherapy will consist of you completing exercises 3 times a days. Theses exercises are personalised to your individual needs.  It is important that people with this condition stay as active as possible. Although follow the simple guidelines of if the dizziness takes more than 30 minutes to settle, then the activity was too challenging OR should be modified to shorten the recovery time. If you have BPPV than it is recommended that you speak to your physiotherapist for correct treatment techniques.

If you would like to find out more please call us or book an appointment here.

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Reference: Australian Physiotherapy Association 2019, Your Body, viewed 19 November 2019, < https://australian.physio/>.