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Treating Vertigo with Physical Therapy

How PT Can Help You Effectively Respond to the Dizziness and Spinning

If you’ve ever experienced vertigo, where the world around you starts spinning uncontrollably, you know that it can often appear seemingly out of nowhere and can bring your life to a virtual standstill. In many instances, the source of the vertigo may be your inner ear. Within your inner ear, you have a series of canal-like structures, part of what is known as your “vestibular system.”  Your vestibular system plays a key role in helping you maintain your balance. When there’s an irregularity within the vestibular system, it can send messages to your brain, leading you to feel as if you are spinning or turning. In addition to the loss of balance, vertigo can lead to extreme nausea.

What Are Some of the Ways that a Vestibular Irregularity Can Cause Vertigo?

Probably the most common vestibular cause of vertigo stems from a condition known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. BPPV, in and of itself, is not life-threatening, though it may put you are risk of serious injury. Paroxysmal means that the effects typically come on suddenly and without warning. The condition is positional because it commonly comes and goes based on the position of your head. Many people suffering from BPPV first experience it when rolling over in bed, getting out of bed or turning their head up or down.

In most instances, BPPV stems from the presence of microscopic crystals of a calcium-based material, which flake off from your inner ear and enter the semicircular canal in your inner ear. The movement of the crystals can then send false signals to your brain, leading it to believe that your entire body is moving, thus creating the false sense of spinning.

Other conditions within the inner ear can also lead to vertigo:

  • An inner ear disorder, known as “Meniere’s disease,” characterized by fluid buildup and increased pressure in the ear
  • Inner ear infections that lead to inflammation in the inner ear

How Can a Physical Therapist Treat Vestibular Conditions that Cause Vertigo?

If you are suffering from BPPV, a physical therapist can guide you through and teach you certain exercises or maneuvers that can reposition the crystals, so that they no longer move within your inner ear. A physical therapist can also help you retrain your body to adjust to and alleviate any potential dizziness or vertigo, and can employ exercises to enhance your balance and strengthen the muscles that help maintain stability.

Contact Sutton Place Physical Therapy For Help with Vestibular Problems

Make an appointment today. Contact us by email or call our offices at 212-317-1600.