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Dizziness and Vestibular Rehabilitation

By: Dr. Samantha Stokes, PT, DPT


Dizziness. We all know it and we all hate it. Luckily, with PT, we can help you feel better quicker! Peripheral vestibular disorders are a common cause of dizziness. There are several different types of disorders and they can present differently. However, they tend to have the following signs and symptoms in common.


Primary Signs and Symptoms

● Dizziness or vertigo

● Imbalance

● Nausea

● Disequilibrium or general motion intolerance

● Disrupted Vision



Secondary Signs and Symptoms

● Falls

● Anxiety/ Depression

● Fatigue and Deconditioning

● Poor Memory

● Loss of confidence/ reduced independence

● Neck pain and stiffness

The most common peripheral vestibular disorder is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is the displacement of otoconia within the inner ear. With BPPV, you will get short bouts of dizziness and disequilibrium with positional changes such as, turning your head, bending over, looking up, rolling in bed, and lying down or getting up from bed. It is common to feel nausea, imbalance, and motion sensitivity.

Although the symptoms may be severe, it can be quite easy to cure. A physical therapist can guide you through a series of movements that allow the otoconia to be repositioned to their expected position. The treatment itself only takes about 5 minutes. However, I must warn you. The treatment will trigger your symptoms and be uncomfortable, but in order for it to work, you have to complete the whole treatment. After the first round is completed, most people will have a complete resolution of symptoms. If you don't, then the treatment will need to be repeated. Your physical therapist will also teach you a modified method to do at home if your symptoms reappear. After the dizziness is cured, your physical therapist can also address your remaining impairments which may be balance or visual deficits.

If you believe you are experiencing BPPV or have any of the other symptoms listed, contact us to make an appointment so we can help you.

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