Many people suffer from dizziness and vertigo due to various reasons. Dizziness can include feeling faint, light-headed, unsteady, or woozy. Whereas vertigo is a type of dizziness that can make you feel like everything around you is spinning.
Dizziness is caused due to various reasons like inner ear illnesses such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV, inflammation of the inner ear balance apparatus and migraine. Other reasons include low blood pressure, heart conditions, anxiety disorders and low blood sugar.
Physiotherapy can help reduce vertigo symptoms. In this article, we will look at how physiotherapy can help with vertigo and dizziness.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a type of dizziness in which a person experiences the perception of motion due to dysfunction of the vestibular system. Vestibular system is the sensory system that provides the brain with information about motion, spatial orientation and head position. It involves motor functions that help keep our balance, maintain stability and posture.
Symptoms of Vertigo
Here are some symptoms that you may experience if you have vertigo:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Hearing loss
- Motion sickness
- Blurred vision
- Feeling faint or woozy
- Frequent falls
- Brain fog
What are the Causes of Vertigo?
Depending on the location of the dysfunction of the vestibular system, vertigo can be classified into peripheral or central.
Vertigo that is caused due to problems in the inner ear or vestibular system that includes semicircular canals, the vestibule and vestibular nerve. The most common causes are BPPV, bacterial infection in the ear or trauma to the skull.
This vertigo is caused by an injury to the balance centers of the central nervous system. Many conditions associated with the central nervous system can cause vertigo such as:
- Cerebral tumors
- Cervical spine disorder
- Migraine headaches
How Physiotherapy Can Help with Vertigo and Dizziness
Physiotherapy can help manage vertigo. If you are experiencing symptoms of vertigo the first step is to see a healthcare professional who can examine you and diagnose your condition. If you are diagnosed with any vestibular disorder, then vestibular rehabilitation therapy can help.
What is Vestibular Rehabilitation?
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is a form of physiotherapy that is prescribed to manage and improve the symptoms caused by vestibular disorder. It involves the use of manual head movements and other exercises that can help reduce vertigo, dizziness, visual issues, and imbalance.
Vertigo can be caused due to many reasons. Your physiotherapist will determine if vestibular rehabilitation is the right treatment for you. If you suffer from any type of vestibular disorder and experience typical symptoms, then your physiotherapist may recommend this treatment for you. Remember to get a proper diagnosis from your healthcare provider before you seek physiotherapy.
How Does Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy Work?
A physiotherapist may use different rehabilitation exercise programs for different patients depending on their condition. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is made up of three main exercises which are habituation, gaze stabilization and balance exercises.
Habituation exercises are used to treat patients who experience dizziness because of head motion. These patients may have increased dizziness as they move their head quickly or change position like looking upward. They may also experience this dizziness if they are looking at screens. Habituation exercises involve repeated exposure to these movements that trigger dizziness and help reduce it. These exercises will trigger mild symptoms to allow the central nervous system to gradually get used to it.
These symptoms are only temporary. The exercises can effectively reduce dizziness as the brain learns to avoid abnormal signals coming from the inner ear system.
Gaze stabilization exercises
Gaze stabilization exercises focus on improving steadiness and vision during head movements. These exercises are recommended for patients who report their vision shift or move when they read, walk, change position, or try to identify any objects in their surroundings. A common exercise is working on the vestibular-ocular reflex by focusing on an object while moving the head back-and-forth or up and down multiple times.
Balance Training Exercises
Balance training exercises focus on improving steadiness so that patients can perform daily physical activities without any issues. Physiotherapist will help you perform these exercises that can ultimately help you walk on uneven ground or navigate through your surroundings in the dark. This program helps you sit, stand, bend, and perform various activities without losing your balance.
Other exercises in the vestibular rehabilitation program include:
- Neck stretching exercises
- Core strengthening
- Postural training
- Visual targeting and tracking exercises
- Mobility exercises
- Education on ergonomics
If you are diagnosed with any type of vestibular disorder, then physiotherapy can help you manage and reduce your symptoms. As mentioned before, your physiotherapist will recommend the treatment program and which exercises will be right for your condition. Vertigo and dizziness may not seem like serious illnesses, but they can make normal activities difficult for you.
It is important to get yourself checked as they may point to a bigger problem. Moreover, vertigo symptoms like feeling faint or losing balance can cause accidents or falls that can seriously injure you. If you experience these symptoms, then it is best to seek immediate help.
You can book a physiotherapy appointment with us here.