Physical Therapy for Vertigo
Vertigo is a common ailment that affects a large number of people every year. Although it isn’t life threatening, it can substantially affect quality of life. Vertigo is a sensation of spinning, rocking, or moving even if sitting still. Symptoms are worse with moving the head or body, such as rolling over in bed or bending over to pick something up. If aggravated, vertigo can also be associated with lightheadedness, nausea, or even vomiting.
Common Causes of Vertigo
- Inner-ear infection
- Vestibular neuritis
- Meniere’s disease
- Vascular impairment
- Neck (Cervical Spine) issues
Benign Paroxsymal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Benign Paroxsymal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of vertigo and is due to a mechanical change in the inner ear. “Crystals,” or particles in the inner ear can be dislodged and can travel into one of the semicircular canals and can create a false sense of movement. This is why alterations in head position can produce symptoms. A physical therapist can determine if BPPV is causing an individual’s symptoms using balance testing and specific movement tests. The most common test is called a Dix-Hallpike test which uses simple head movements to provoke symptoms. The physical therapist looks for nystagmus- involuntary movement of the eyes, that can help determine which canal the problem is in.
Treatment for BPPV typically includes canalith re-positioning procedures, which move the particles out of the way, most commonly known as the Epley Manuever. This treatment typically resolves symptoms in 1-2 visits, but a small percentage of patients will have persistent symptoms that require additional treatment that may include a different re-positioning procedure known as the Semont Manuever or habituation exercises to correct symptoms. Even after symptoms have resolved, your physical therapist may provide additional balance training tailored for inner ear problems.
Not all vertigo comes from BPPV. A specially trained physical therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your vertigo and tailor an individualized program to meet your needs.
How We Treat Vertigo
A physical therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your vertigo and will create a customized program to address your needs. Treatment for vertigo may include:
- Eye tracking exercises
- Balance exercises on various surfaces
- Walking exercises with various head movements
- Habituation (Brandt Daroff) exercises
- Canalith re-positioning procedures
*Services are not available at all locations. Call or click the location page near you for that center’s services.
What to Expect
Every patient has a unique health history, diagnosis and personal goals. When you come for your first appointment, we will create a personalized treatment plan for you.
We work with most major insurance providers and do our best to help keep the paperwork pain-free. If you’d like to confirm your insurance coverage, please let us know and we can verify when you schedule. If your insurance provider requires a co-pay, we will ask for this payment at each visit. We accept payments by cash, check or credit card.
When to Arrive
On average, a patient’s first visit lasts about an hour. We typically ask patients to arrive 15 minutes early to sign-in, complete paperwork and/or change clothes.
What to Bring
On your first visit, you’ll need to bring your physician referral or prescription (if needed), your insurance card, your primary registration forms, your ID or driver’s license and your co-payment (as applicable). If desired, you may bring a change of clothing.
How it Works
During your first visit, your physical therapist will do an initial evaluation and discuss your plan of care. The therapist uses this information to set goals for your continued treatment. Physical therapy goals may include improved movement, strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as decreased pain. Your subsequent visits will focus on treatment that is based on your diagnosis and individualized goals.