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Comprehensive Physical Therapy Guide to Vertigo & Dizziness: Symptoms, Causes, and Effective Treatment

Introduction

Vertigo and dizziness are common and often debilitating conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. Dizziness is the most common presenting complaint to GPs in those over 75, and vertigo & dizziness affect 15-20% of all adults. Because these conditions increase falls risk, they have a serious bearing on mortality and morbidity.



If you're seeking a natural and effective way to manage vertigo, physical therapy could be the solution you've been looking for.


Physical Therapy for Vertigo

Physical therapy offers a non-invasive, drug-free approach to managing vertigo. 


  1. Assessment 

This process starts with a full examination to identify the cause of the symptoms. Different types of vertigo necessitate different types of treatment. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a common form of vertigo that results from crystals being dislodged in the canals of the inner ear and the vestibular system being over-excited. This is very different from peripheral vestibular dysfunction, caused by damage to the vestibular/inner ear balance system, which causes an under-excitation of the vestibular system. Within peripheral vestibular dysfunction there are a number of different impairments that need to be assessed and treated individually. 


2. Vestibular Rehabilitation

The assessment findings will guide the rehabilitation process. A structured and individualized program aimed at improving the various elements of the vestibular system works to optimize balance and reduce dizziness. Your therapist will guide you through exercises and activities that challenge your vestibular system.


3. Epley Maneuver

A specific technique for treating BPPV, where a series of head movements are performed to reposition dislodged ear crystals. This can be a very effective intervention and may resolve symptoms within one application.


4. Balance Exercises

Tailored exercises to strengthen your core, leg muscles, and enhance your balance. While it is important to directly address disorders in the vestibular system, it is also important to optimize the general conditioning of the rest of the body, to provide additional capacity to the system. 


Managing Vertigo at Home

Your physical therapist will also provide guidance on exercises and self-help strategies you can perform at home. These methods can include head movements and balance exercises, helping you regain your stability over time.


Conclusion

Vertigo can significantly impact your daily life, but with the right approach, it's manageable. Physical therapy is a highly effective option to address the underlying issues and help you regain control over your balance. If you or someone you know suffers from vertigo or dizziness, speak to your physical therapist about the right approach to manage your condition.


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