Navigating Vertigo How Physiotherapy Offers Balance and Relief

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Vertigo is an umbrella term that is used to describe a feeling of dizziness. The source of this could be a variety of things, ranging from neuritis to inner ear disease.

Though most cases of vertigo are benign in nature and subside by themselves, physiotherapy helps people feel better and more secure during the peak of the disease.

Common Causes of Vertigo

Listed below are a few culprits that make people suffer from these dizzy spells that can sometimes, completely take over their lives:

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: This usually occurs at an advanced age when tiny calcium channels in the ear begin to leak and the calcium is deposited in the inner ear. This collection of calcium then sends false information to the brain that may cause the person to lose his sense of orientation.

Meniere’s Disease: This disease can cause a buildup of fluid which leads to changes in the pressure in the inner ear. It may also cause a person to completely lose his sense of hearing.

Labyrinthitis: As the name suggests this is a viral infection that causes a change in the balance in the fluids of the inner ear.

Injury: Less frequently, vertigo may be caused due to an injury to the brain, spinal cord, or blunt injuries to the ear.

Medications: There are a couple of medications that might cause vertigo as well.

Symptoms of Vertigo:

  • Spinning
  • Tilting and swaying while walking
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Sweating

How Can A Physiotherapist Help With Vertigo?

In most cases, physiotherapists will be able to provide an acute diagnosis and a treatment protocol to help a client with vertigo. Listed below are some treatment protocols that can be commonly observed among physiotherapists who see clients with vertigo on a regular basis:

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation is a group of exercises that can help a patient to regain control of their balance. They are usually conducted in a physical therapy center and under the strict supervision of a physiotherapist. There are several exercises that fall under the protocol of vestibular rehabilitation and most of them involve retaining the balance of a patient in different, challenging surroundings.

Head and Neck Strengthening Exercises

These consist of a variety of isometric and isotonic exercises that lead to an increase in the bulk of the muscle and help with breaking adhesions that might have formed over time if the episodes of vertigo have been chronic.

These exercises are basic and simple and hence may also be prescribed to a patient to be performed at home.

Balance and Proprioceptive Training

This is usually administered by putting the patient into different positions that will challenge their balance and encourage them to depend increasingly on their proprioceptive abilities.

A balance board and other gait training equipment are commonly used. Exercises are administered in a progressive fashion where the physiotherapist can keep increasing the challenge level for the patient.

Habituation Exercises

These are a group of exercises that a patient can perform which involve repetitive movements that will eventually help the brain and body to overcome the feeling of dizziness. The exercises help to desensitize the vestibular system which can help the patient in gaining back their original balance and gait.

Return To Normal

Fear can be debilitating when it comes to vertigo because the attacks are sudden and usually unprecedented by triggers. It might also take a while for the patient to identify the cause of the episodes and the triggers that lead to them.

In such a situation it becomes important for the physiotherapist to gain the confidence of the patient and provide a wholesome protocol that addresses other issues that patients might be facing, like fear, lack of confidence and depression.

Concluding Thoughts

Since it is rather difficult to identify the cause of vertigo, people usually assume that it has no cure and resolves by itself. It is true that most cases of vertigo resolve by themselves, but visiting a physical therapist will help you develop your core strength and balance and help you to face any further episodes.