Vertigo? Physio can help!

Anyone who has suffered from vertigo will know that it can be extremely debilitating.  Often, sufferers don’t know that physiotherapy can help.  So what is vertigo…..

Vertigo refers to the sensation of movement, or spinning that occurs due to an issue with your vestibular system (balance system). Vertigo may be used to describe feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, faintness, and unsteadiness. When your head moves, signals are transmitted to an apparatus in the inner ear called the Labyrinth that is made up of three semicircular canals surrounded by fluid. The labyrinth then communicates this information via the vestibular nerve to areas of the brain that control balance, posture and movement coordination.

The most common cause of dizziness is BPPV (Benign paroxysmal, positional vertigo). Others include: Inflammation in the inner ear, Meniere’s disease, neck joint dysfunction, vestibular migraine and acoustic neuroma. Rarely, vertigo can be a symptom of a more serious neurological problem such as a stroke or brain haemorrhage.

What is BPPV?

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a condition characterised by episodes of sudden and severe vertigo (dizziness) associated with head movement. Common triggers include rolling over in bed, looking down and lifting your head to look up.

BPPV tends to come and go, with sufferers experiencing days or weeks of symptoms, then a period of no dizziness.

What Causes BPPV?

Inside your inner ear, semicircular canals set at different angles are filled with fluid. When your head is moved, the movement of the fluid inside these canals tells the brain exactly how far, how fast and in what direction your head is moving.

BPPV is caused by small crystals within the canals (calcium carbonate crystals).  These crystals are usually contained within a certain area of the inner ear, but sometimes become dislodged and disrupt the functioning of the balance system.  These crystals can become dislodged for various reasons including injury or degeneration, but in almost half of cases, the cause is unknown.

How can Physiotherapy Help?

Physiotherapists can perform an assessment to determine what side the problem is located on and can then perform a special technique to re-locate the problematic crystals.  A home exercise program is given as well to re-inforce the treatment.  Physiotherapists will also assess your neck to ensure that it is not contributing to dizziness.

It is important to see your GP if you are suffering from vertigo or contact a physiotherapist if you have been diagnosed with BPPV to reduce these symtpoms quickly.

On January 14th, 2016, posted in: Uncategorized by
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