Are You Dizzy?
You may be experiencing a problem with your inner ear or vestibular system. The inner ear serves many functions. It is a balance system and works in combination with other balance inputs from your feet and eyes. It communicates with your brain about where your head and body is in space. It communicates with your eyes to keep your vision stable. Problems with this system can result in a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to, dizziness, vertigo, spinning, feeling “off” in the head, imbalance, staggered walking and blurred vision. In the beginning, you may experience constant symptoms and require a few days of bed rest. Over time, your symptoms may be aggravated by head movement and visually stimulating environments. This is because of impaired gaze stabilization. Walking in the dark and on uneven surfaces may also be difficult and unsafe. This is because you are unable to relay on your vestibular system for balance when other systems are compromised (vision and feet). It is important to take caution in these situations. Always turn on lights, avoid over stimulating tasks and surfaces you cannot safely negotiate.
Dizziness problems can arise from a variety of ailments, so it is important that you are properly diagnosed. These conditions can be diagnosed with the help of your physician or an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT). Treatment should involve referral to a Vestibular Physical Therapist. Dizziness is a unique symptom, so it is important that you are treated by a clinician who specializes in the vestibular system. Treatment may consist of specific eye and head exercises, which incorporate balance activities. Inner ear health is dependent on movement. Just like you would use a dumbbell to strengthen your bicep muscle, you use head and eye movement to strengthen your vestibular system. The goal of treatment is to reduce your dizziness and restore your balance by promoting inner ear adaptation and to challenge the balance component of the vestibular system.
If you have any further questions, would like to learn more or suffer from a dizziness or balance problem yourself, contact us at Arroyo Physical Therapy; Specialists in Vestibular, Balance, Movement Disorders and Neurological Physical Therapy!
POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS • Dizziness • Vertigo • Spinning • Off in the head • Blurred vision • Staggered walking • Imbalance
WHAT TO DO 1. Contact your physician 2. Possible referral to an ENT for specific diagnosis 3. Referral to a Vestibular Physical Therapist for specialty treatment
POSSIBLE TREATMENTS • Education on the vestibular system • Specific eye and head exercises • Specialty maneuvers • Balance activities • Inner ear adaptation • Habituation to symptoms • Home exercise instruction