Vertigo or BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) is a degenerative condition that can affect the elderly. Crystals in the inner ear migrate in the canals giving a false reading of movement and position, contributing to dizziness with certain movements and activities. It is common to experience these symptoms after a visit to the dentist or hairdresser where the neck has been in an extended position.

In younger people, a blow to the head can dislodge the crystals in the inner ear causing dizziness with head movement.

  • Do you suffer from Vertigo or Dizziness when rolling over in bed?
  • Do you have problems with riding in a car?
  • Do you get dizzy walking down the aisles of a grocery store?

These conditions can lead to loss of balance and falling.

Good news, there is help for dizziness or feeling wobbly on your feet!

You can do a simple self check to tell if your balance is what it should be.

  • Can you stand from a dining chair without using your hands?
  • If you close your eyes do you remain still without excessive sway?
  • Can you stand on one foot for 10 seconds without swaying?
  • Can you turn your head side to side while continuing to walk forward?

If you answered no to any of theses questions your balance may be compromised.

Dizziness can be caused by viral infections, head trauma, motor vehicle accidents, stroke, aging, migraines, increased muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, inner ear dysfunction, drug interactions, low blood pressure and anxiety. A sea cruise or turbulent flight can also affect the inner ear with resulting dizziness, if it continues after a few days it needs to be attended to.

Physical Therapy for balance or dizziness can include:

  • Positioning such as the Halpike or Epley Maneuver to allow crystals in the inner ear to reposition in the correct canal.
  • Head and eye exercises to improve information coordination.
  • Habituation exercises to improve the reflex circuits from your inner ear to your brain.
  • Muscle strengthening of the legs and trunk.
  • Manual therapy techniques to decrease neck tension.

Don’t just “live with it”, get help.  Do not let a sudden dizziness end your lifestyle as you know it.  Do not assume that as you age you need to accept that you must move slower and participate in fewer activities.  Activities may need to be adapted, but you do not have to “give up” your lifestyle because you do not feel safe to stand and move.  Investigate your options and keep moving!

Advanced Spine Physical Therapy can help you determine the cause of your dizziness or loss of balance. We can help improve your quality of life and take away the fear of falling.