Can physiotherapists treat dizziness?
General dizziness and/or feeling light headed can have many causes – dietary imbalances, low blood pressure, migraines etc. Physiotherapists can treat general dizziness when it is has cervicogenic causes (ie. if the cause is the neck or base of skull), which can be relatively common. Vertigo is considered more severe in nature.
What is vertigo?
Vertigo is a type of dizziness that feels like you are spinning, or that the room is spinning around you. Other symptoms may also present including nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, hearing loss or unsteadiness on your feet.
What causes vertigo?
Vertigo has many causes. One common cause, is a disturbance in normal inner ear function. This dysfunction can be related to BPPV (the most common), meniere’s, neuronitis, labrynitis, neuroma or a fistula.
What is BPPV?
BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) causes short periods of vertigo when your head is moved into certain positions, e.g. every time you look up or roll in bed. BPPV occurs when small calcium carbonate crystals in our inner ear are dislodged and move into another area within the semicircular canals. This can be spontaneous, due to trauma or from ageing.
How can physiotherapy help?
Treatment for vertigo depends on what is causing it. Physiotherapists can ask you various questions and perform an examination to rule in or out certain conditions.
If you have BPPV, physiotherapy can help relieve the symptoms through a combination of specific neck positions designed to move the crystals back into place (some nausea or dizziness can be expected for several hours after). Symptom relief is usually achieved within 2-5 physiotherapy sessions. A single session is enough to experience a large reduction in symptoms if diagnosis is correct.