Vestibular Therapy for Peripheral Vertigo
Vertigo is the illusionary sensation of movement, such as a sensation of whirling and loss of balance.
Generally speaking, there are two main forms of vertigo.
Central vertigo refers to the vertigo caused by a disease originating from the central nervous system. This is the type of vertigo that physical therapists may refer to a physicians and/or neurologist as this is considered a “red flag” and can be a symptom of a condition more serious.
Central vertigo conditions could be brain stem or cerebellum infarct/hemorrhage, vertebrobasilar insufficiency, space occupying lesions, multiple sclerosis, vestibular migraine, and Chiari malformation.
Physical therapists cannot diagnose central vertigo conditions, but our advanced training and examination procedures allows us to determine if you are a right candidate for our services or if a physician consultation is required. Appropriate exercises can treat the symptoms and “teach” the brain and body how to respond, allowing you to return to daily activities.
2. The most common type of vertigo that a physical therapist treats is peripheral vertigo. This type of vertigo usually has symptoms “room spinning” dizziness, or feeling “unsteady”. Other associated symptoms include hearing loss, ringing in the ear and it is generally acute, severe and episodic. The symptoms can often be worsened by head movements (such as rolling over in bed, looking up, turning your head).
At PhysioFit of North Carolina, our vestibular team uses specialized googles to examine the eyes to differentiate between cervical and peripheral vertigo. A detailed history and physical examination is prior to specific oculomotor and vestibular testing. This way, we can determine the appropriate vestibular therapy, also known as vestibular rehabilitation, so we can most effectively help you.
Vestibular rehabilitation, which has been available since the 1940s, is an exercise-based treatment consisting of varied eye, head and body movements designed to stimulate the vestibular system and optimize vestibular compensation. The point behind vestibular therapy is to challenge the vestibular system with main purpose to reduce dizziness symptoms and improve balance.
This type of therapy utilizes as least three different exercise components to address the impairments or functional limitations identified during evaluation. It is highly effective in treating vertigo of peripheral origin.
If you are experiencing dizziness, vertigo, unsteadiness or lightheadiness, contact us to make an evaluation so we can find out the cause and perform procedures to help you!
Dr. Danielle Vaughan is a Physical Therapist who specializes in Vestibular Therapy. She is co-owner of PhysioFit of North Carolina. Not only does Dr. Vaughan address the vestibular system, but she can evaluate and treat the musculoskeletal system. Therefore, if you are also having neck, shoulder or back pain associated with your dizziness, you will have a specialist in both areas working on you!