Yes, Physical Therapy Can Help With Dizziness.
Many people are surprised to find out that physical therapy is often recommended by medical doctors to control and correct the feeling of dizziness. This two-part blog post will explain what causes dizziness and what can be done to correct it. When you’re ready to schedule your appointment at MPLS Health & Wellness NE, simply call us at 612-750-7168 or visit our online appointment page.
By Alison Alexander, DPT,
About Your Vestibular System
Your vestibular system is most commonly referred to as your “inner ear.” It helps to control your balance, eye gaze, and tells you your body’s orientation in space. When a part of your vestibular system begins to malfunction, the results can be debilitating. People experience dizziness with simple daily activities such as turning their heads, unsteadiness as they walk, and even complaints of feeling like the world is spinning or bouncing around them.
These symptoms are NOT NORMAL! You don’t have to live with them, and a physical therapist can help! A physical therapist will take you through a series of tests to specifically determine the impairments in your vestibular system. Then, they will teach take you through a series of adaptive exercises that progressively challenge your vestibular system. This will train your brain to stabilize your gaze and eliminate the dizziness.
Medical Conditions That Cause Dizziness
Dizziness can have several different causes. Some require you to see a medical doctor before seeking physical therapy treatment. Some of these include:
This is a non-cancerous tumor that develops on the vestibular nerve, which connects your inner ear to your brain.
- Ringing in your ear (tinnitus)
- Loss of hearing
- Balance issues
- Physical Therapy can only help once the tumor has been removed by a medical doctor. Then, your therapist will be able to take you through a series of exercises to help you develop compensatory mechanisms to stabilize gaze and improve balance.
Superior Canal Dehiscence
This is a condition where there is an erosion of the bony canal of the inner ear, which results in an opening in the bone
- Feeling dizzy or unsteady if you cough, sneeze, lift heavy objects, or have a bowel movement
- Sensitivity to everyday sounds, such as your heartbeat, your voice, or when your foot first hits the ground when walking
- Physical Therapy is unable to help with this disorder. Instead, you should see a medical doctor specializing in the ear, an otologist. Physical therapy may be needed after medical treatment to improve balance.
This is a disorder in which the membranous labyrinth of the inner ear overfills and becomes distended with excess endolymph fluid.
- Sudden attacks of vertigo/dizziness
- These episodes may last for several minutes to one day
- Roaring or ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
- Fullness/pressure in the ear
- Muffled hearing or hearing loss
- Sudden attacks of vertigo/dizziness
- Treatment often begins with seeing your medical doctor to have medications prescribed that will help reduce the fluid retention of your body. They may also prescribe anti-nausea medication to help during vertigo attacks. If you continue to have dizziness/vertigo and balance difficulties between attacks, physical therapy may help to reduce these symptoms.
Stroke/Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
This is a disorder in which there is a small blockage that stops the blood flow and oxygen to a part of the brain. If a stroke/TIA occurs in the vestibular centers of your brain, you may be left with dizziness/vertigo and balance difficulties.
- Symptoms (Think F.A.S.T)
- F = Face
- Someone may experience facial numbness or drooping
- A = Arms
- Sudden paralysis or weakness of one or both arms/legs
- S = Speech
- Sudden slurring of speech or difficulty understanding speech
- T = Time
- getting someone you believe is having a stroke help as fast as possible will help to improve their chances of survival and minimize the after-effects
- Immediately call 911 or emergency medical services
- F = Face
- If you believe that you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 911 or emergency medical services immediately. Doing so will increase their chances of survival and help to minimize the after-effects. First, someone having a stroke will need to be stabilized by the healthcare team at the hospital. Then, the medical doctor will administer medication to help prevent another stroke. Following medical stabilization, the person may begin physical therapy. Depending on the part of the brain that was injured, your deficits will vary. If the damage to your brain occurred in the vestibular center, you may be right for vestibular rehabilitation.
However, once your condition has been stabilized, physical therapy can help you develop compensatory mechanisms that will allow you to function normally. Next, we’ll talk about dizziness that can often be treated by physical therapy alone.
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About the Author
Alison Alexander, DPT, earned her doctoral degree in Physical Therapy in 2018 from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. Over the past year, she has pursued advanced training in the treatment of vestibular conditions such as vertigo (BPPV) and dizziness. In addition to her exceptional knowledge and training with vestibular conditions, Alison is well-versed in treating chronic pain and musculoskeletal conditions such as neck and back pain.
Still Curious About Chiropractic and Physical Therapy? We’d Love to Educate You.
Chiropractic medicine has countless benefits. To schedule a consultation or learn more about what this amazing branch of medicine can do for you, give Minneapolis Health and Wellness a call today at 612-750-7168.