Vertigo/dizziness - overview, symptoms
Dizziness is defined as a sensation of spinning and losing one’s balance. It is often described as feeling faint, unsteady, or foggy. A type of dizziness called vertigo can create the false sense that you or your surroundings are moving. Others may feel imbalanced when standing and find themselves drifting or staggering as they walk.
Symptoms: Headaches, nausea, difficulty with concentration, poor memory, visual changes, anxiety, and neck pain are sometimes associated with dizziness.
Vertigo treatment options
Dizziness interferes with the everyday activities of 30% of persons over age 70 and is so severe that it constitutes a reason for consulting a physician. Physical activity is one of the most effective measures for counteracting the threat of neurodegeneration - a loss of structure and function of neurons in the brain. Physical Therapists specialize in analysis and treatment of impaired movement and balance difficulties. Additionally, specific maneuvers for treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) have shown to be effective in the treatment of vertigo.
What causes vertigo?
There are many causes of dizziness. In fact, most medications list dizziness as a side effect! This can be frustrating as a patient when trying to understand the root cause of your dizziness. Causes of dizziness can range from seasonal allergies, concussions, and inner ear disorders. Additionally, things such as dehydration, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, migraines, and age-related changes can elicit dizziness or imbalance. In rarer cases dizziness may be caused by tumors, infection, or nerve-related problems.
Do I need an X-Ray or MRI?
In instances of vertigo that lasts seconds to minutes and is only provoked with changes in head position or quick movements seeking out conservative care from a Physical Therapist can often reduce the need for more expensive and invasive treatments. See below for symptoms that would warrant a follow up with your doctor.
What does physical therapy treatment for vertigo look like?
A thorough evaluation must be completed to determine the root cause, whether it be positional vertigo, visual disturbance with head movement, imbalance, or difficulty walking. Determining the most appropriate exercises and movements to restore function is important in aiding in your recovery. Unfortunately, some exercises and techniques used for treatment may initially elicit dizziness. This is necessary to encourage communication throughout the neuromuscular system, allowing the brain to adapt.
Goals of physical therapy treatment:
Some goals for vestibular rehabilitation include:
- Improving complaints of visual disturbance with head movement
- Improving static and dynamic balance
- Decreasing risk for falling
- Reducing general complaints of dizziness
- Resolving positional vertigo
- Increasing participation in functional and social activities and improving overall fitness.
When should I contact a healthcare provider?
Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Dizziness or imbalance is a result of a fall or trauma
- Sudden changes in hearing or ringing in ears (tinnitus) that is unilateral or asymmetrical.
- Impaired coordination accompanied by weakness in the extremities or changes in your gait.
- Dizziness/Imbalance accompanied by unexplained fever or rapid unexplained weight loss
- Ear pain especially if accompanied by infection or discharge
- If you have a history of cancer, a weakened immune system, or osteoporosis
- If your dizziness or imbalance does not improve over the course of 2 weeks.
- If you recently made changes to your medications.
About Rise Physical Therapy
Hi, and welcome to Rise Physical Therapy.
Rise exists because we believe there is a demand for honest and ethical therapy that truly makes a difference in people's lives. After years of working in healthcare, we realized that the industry had lost it's focus on the patient. So we decided to start our own clinic and focus on providing our patients the very best in one-on-one physical therapy. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Thanks for swinging by the site, and we hope to see you soon.
Most common questions about physical therapy
1. What is physical therapy (PT)? – Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, are experts in the musculoskeletal system, meaning we know your muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and how they operate as well as anyone. We play a critical role in the recovery and rehabilitation of the injured, hurting, or those suffering chronic conditions. Becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy (the only type of PTs we hire at Rise), requires over seven years of education.
2. Is PT covered by insurance? – Almost all insurance plans give you an annual allowance of PT visits. For our current patients, that has typically meant a copay of around $15-$30/visit. Sometimes it’s lower, or even completely covered by insurance. Depending on your plan you might pay a bit more, such as when your plan has a higher deductible. If you are unsure, give us a call and our insurance experts can help you figure it out. You can reach us at (479) 595-8667.
3. Do you need a doctor’s referral for PT? – No referral is needed – you can come straight in to see us without having to go to your doctor. Years ago a referral was required, but studies like this showed it was dramatically more effective and cheaper for patients to be sent to PTs first. The state of Arkansas has not required them for over 20 years (since 1997).
4. Does physical therapy work? – The only question that matters. Here’s what a recent large study found: “In the year following their initial complaint to primary providers, the sample of people in the study who went to physical therapy directly spent an average of $1,871, compared to $6,664 for those who were first sent for an MRI. The patients who received physical therapy first were less likely to receive surgery and injections, and they made fewer specialists and emergency department visits within a year of primary consultation.” [link] So not only does it work, it saves you money over the long run.
5. How much does PT cost? – We actually went ahead and ran the numbers on this one. If you include all of our past patients, the average payment after insurance was $19.25. So anywhere from $15 – $30 is a fairly accurate estimate of how much you’d be looking at paying per visit. That said, some patients actually get PT completely covered by insurance so you may end up paying $0.
6. What is the difference between a PT and a chiropractor? – There are quite a few, but the biggest difference is in the way the professions approach the practice of medicine. Physical therapists strictly use evidence-based (scientific) treatments that are focused on healing the patient permanently rather than temporarily dulling pain. At Rise, we are all about educating you on how to treat and address your issues on your own with stretches and exercises. On the other hand, Chiropractors tend to focus on pain relief techniques like spinal manipulation (adjustment) that are performed on an ongoing basis. It just comes down to what you desire in a treatment.