Vertigo and Balance Disorders
Vertigo is described as a sensation of spinning while stationary of either the person (subjective vertigo) or their surrounding environment (objective vertigo). Vertigo and its associated symptoms are due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. The most common causes are Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) and Vestibular Migraines while less common causes include Meniere’s disease, Vestibular Neuritis, head trauma or complications from Diabetes. Moving the head, changing position and turning while lying down often worsen vertigo. Although vertigo is a type of dizziness, not all dizziness can be classified as vertigo.
Physiotherapy can be very beneficial for the management of vertigo. Depending on the cause of the vertigo several different treatment approaches can be used. In simple BPPV a manoeuvre is performed to “re-position” crystals in your inner ear that are thought to cause the problem and this treatment is often extremely effective and immediate. Vestibular rehabilitation helps to retrain the brain to recognise and coordinate the information provided by our sensory system with the vestibular system.
Physiotherapists can provide education about activities that can trigger vertigo and how to modify them in everyday life. Also, people with vertigo can often have a degree of balance dysfunction which needs to be assessed and treated as needed. Desensitising exercises and repositioning manoeuvres are used to manage the symptoms of vertigo while the underlying cause is being addressed.
Marga Ruiz has done advanced training in the assessment and treatment of BPPV and other vestibular disorders. She is the person to see at Regenerate.