Vertigo

Introduction

Vertigo is a condition characterized by a spinning sensation or the feeling of dizziness and loss of balance. It often feels like you or your surroundings are moving or spinning when, in fact, they are not. Vertigo can be caused by various underlying factors, and physiotherapy can be an effective treatment approach for certain types of vertigo. Here, I’ll provide an overview of vertigo, its causes, symptoms, and how physiotherapy can help.

Causes of Vertigo Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) Vestibular Neuritis or Labyrinthitis Meniere’s Disease Migraines Head Injury or Concussion Other Causes

  1. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): This is the most common cause of vertigo and occurs when small calcium particles in the inner ear become dislodged and disrupt the balance signals to the brain.

 

  1. Vestibular Neuritis or Labyrinthitis: Inflammation of the inner ear, often due to a viral infection, can result in vertigo, along with hearing loss and ringing in the ears.

 

  1. Meniere’s Disease: This chronic inner ear condition leads to recurrent episodes of vertigo, accompanied by hearing loss, tinnitus, and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear.

 

  1. Migraines: Some people experience vestibular migraines, which include vertigo as a symptom along with severe headaches.

 

  1. Head Injury or Concussion: Traumatic brain injuries can disrupt the balance system, leading to vertigo.

 

  1. Other Causes: Vertigo can also result from other factors like medication side effects, blood circulation problems, or neurological disorders.

Symptoms of Vertigo Spinning Sensation Nausea and Vomiting Balance Problems Nystagmus Hearing Problems

– Spinning Sensation: The primary symptom is the false sensation of spinning or the environment spinning around you.

– Nausea and Vomiting: The dizziness can be severe enough to cause nausea and vomiting.

– Balance Problems: Difficulty maintaining balance, leading to falls or unsteadiness.

– Nystagmus: Involuntary eye movements, often characterized by rapid, jerking motions of the eyes.

– Hearing Problems: In some cases, hearing loss or ringing in the ears (tinnitus) may accompany vertigo.

Effective Treatments for Vertigo Diagnosis Epley Maneuver Brandt-Daroff Exercises Vestibular Rehabilitation Home Exercises

Diagnosis

A physiotherapist will perform a thorough evaluation to determine the specific type and cause of vertigo.

Diagnosis
Epley Maneuver

If BPPV is diagnosed, the Epley maneuver is often performed. It involves a series of head movements that aim to reposition the dislodged calcium particles in the inner ear, alleviating vertigo symptoms.

Epley Maneuver
Brandt-Daroff Exercises

These exercises are sometimes recommended to help habituate the inner ear to certain movements and reduce vertigo symptoms.

Brandt-Daroff Exercises
Vestibular Rehabilitation

For other causes of vertigo, such as vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis, vestibular rehabilitation exercises may be prescribed. These exercises help improve balance and reduce dizziness.

Vestibular Rehabilitation
Home Exercises

Patients are often taught specific exercises to perform at home to complement their in-clinic therapy.

Home Exercises

Vertigo Physiotherapy Treatment

It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional, preferably an ear, nose, and throat specialist or a physiotherapist, for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. While physiotherapy can be highly effective for some forms of vertigo, the treatment approach will vary depending on the underlying cause. Additionally, some cases of vertigo may require medication or other medical interventions.

Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for certain types of vertigo, particularly BPPV. The most common physiotherapy technique used for BPPV is the Epley maneuver.

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