Vertigo is the sensation of spinning, rotating, tilting or even moving when an individual is perfectly still. Approximately 35 percent of American adults over the age of 40 have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction – that is, a failure of their sensory system to provide proper balance and spatial orientation when coordinating movement. In older populations who are beginning to experience unsteadiness, these common vertigo sensations are often misdiagnosed and chalked up as age related, and appropriate vertigo treatment is delayed.
One of the most common causes of vertigo is due to benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). To break this name down further, BPPV means Benign (not life threatening) Paroxysmal (sudden, brief spells), Positional (triggered by head movements) Vertigo (false sense of rotational movement). Simply rolling over in bed or turning your head can trigger or worsen your symptoms which can last from minutes to hours to days.
Small crystals connected to nerves in your inner ear move during head movements and help your brain make sense of your position. When those crystals become dislodged they give your brain a false sense of movement.
Symptoms may include:
- Rapid involuntary eye movement
Unfortunately, the cause of BPPV is unknown. The good news is 85% of people recover quickly from BPPV with a simple treatment called the Epley maneuver. The technique involves a series of movements directed by your physical therapist which help move the crystals back to where they belong.
Proper diagnosis of vertigo is important as many other health problems may cause bouts of imbalance and dizziness. A thorough evaluation including history and medications will help guide your physical therapist or doctor to a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Depending on the positioning of the dislodged crystals, relief from vertigo symptoms may be found during your initial visit and therapy is typically concluded after two to three sessions.
SportsCare Physical Therapy is prepared to assist you with vertigo or other balance treatments. Contact us today to schedule and examination and allow us to help you stop your world from spinning.