Dizziness is a very common occurrence, especially as we get older. For those individuals over the age of 65, dizziness is one of the most cited reasons for doctor visits and hospitalizations. At any rate, when it comes to dizziness, regardless of the cause, the quicker you seek help the better.
There are a number of factors that can cause dizziness–and the balance problems that may be associated with it. Here are the more common causes:
inner ear) disorders, such as BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
Inner ear trauma or injury
Brain disorders, such as stroke or Parkinson’s Disease
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) can be an extremely painful and debilitating condition of the upper extremity. It is caused by the compression of structures in the thoracic outlet, a space just behind the clavicle (collar bone) and just above the 1st rib. Because of a multitude of signs and symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, the incidence rates of this condition are currently unknown. Physical Therapy is very instrumental in easing the symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and restoring upper extremity function in those individuals.
Concussion has received a significant increase in attention over the past several years as individuals in the sports world and medical fields have started speaking out about the long-term implications associated with this injury. More than 3.8 million concussions occur each year in sports alone, according to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. Recent scientific evidence stresses the need for proper care to prevent complications from concussion. There are 3 critical steps to take if you think you or a loved one might have a concussion:
Humpback (medical term, hyperkyphosis) is a spinal deformity that leads to a forward-curved posture of the upper back (thoracic spine). Under normal circumstances our posture changes often throughout the day. However, there are instances where an individual’s body curvature may become excessive and unchanging, leading to humpback. This curvature of the upper back can start to become more pronounced after age 40 and continue as we get older. It is estimated that 20% to 40% of older adults–both men and women–will develop humpback. And today’s Smartphones are one prime example of why people will develop this condition at a relatively young age unless they are very aware of their posture!
Jaw pain is one of the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Considering over 10 million individuals in the United States experiences TMD it can be considered fairly common. But what exactly isTMD?
WHAT IS TEMPEROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER (TMD)?
Jaw movement is guided by the temperomandibular joint (TMJ). Here are some common causes that lead to TMD:
Bad posture–Face it…many of us sit a lot–commuting to/from work, sitting at a desk in front of a computer, cradling the telephone against the same shoulder for extended periods of time…as well as standing activities such as always carrying your child on the same hip–all of these activities can place the head in an awkward position and cause jaw problems. Consistently being in this forward head position puts undue stress on muscles, ligaments, as well as discs in the neck and jaw. This forces the jaw to “rest” in an opened position, causing our chewing muscles to become overused.
Malocclusion (problems with teeth alignment)–Greater stress is placed on your TMJ if your teeth come together in an unusual way.
Bruxism (chronic jaw clenching and grinding teeth at night)–Many individuals unknowingly clench their jaws at night while they sleep, usually due to stress. This puts constant stress on the TMJ because of the constant strain on the joint and surrounding muscles.
Trismus (lockjaw)–This condition is caused by spasming jaw muscles which prevents the jaw from being able to be fully opened. Causes may include tetanus, trauma to the jaw, and radiation therapy to the neck and face.
Fracture–Trauma to the face or head could result in a fracture to the lower jaw. Even when the fracture is completely healed, lingering TMJ pain and/or stiffness may remain.
Surgery–There may be a loss in mobility and function of the TMJ following facial or jaw surgery.
WHAT DOES TMD FEEL LIKE?
Symptoms of TMD may include:
Difficulty opening your mouth to eat or talk
Ringing in your ears
HOW IS TMD DIAGNOSED?
A comprehensive exam by your Physical Therapist is critical in diagnosing the cause of your TMD symptoms. This exam should include:
Many individuals confuse “vertigo” with “dizziness.” While there are similarities, vertigo is usually described as a spinning sensation, while dizziness is usually described as lightheadedness. Often, they have different causes and different treatments.
WHAT IS VERTIGO?
Vertigo is the sensation of spinning, even if you are not moving and you’re perfectly still. This can happen if you’re standing, sitting, or even lying down–you may feel like the room is moving about you. The primary cause of vertigo stems from the inner ear, known as our vestibular system. There are a number of factors that can cause vertigo, including:
The cervical spine (neck) is made up of 7 vertebrae, with each vertebra being separated by a gel-like disc. The purpose of the discs is to provide shock absorption for the spine. The spinal cord travels through a central canal in the cervical vertebrae. Nerve roots extend off of the spinal cord and branch off into specific locations into the arm and hand. These spinal nerves provide signals to our muscles to contract or relax, as well as provide sensory input such as pain, pressure, and temperature. If any type of abnormal pressure is placed on these spinal nerves, then we get an impingement, or “pinched nerve.” Some causes of impingement may be:
There are numerous types of headaches, with just as many different causes. According to the International Headache Society, there are several different categories of headache:
Migraine and Cluster
Secondary headaches (due to an underlying condition), often caused by sinus infections, fever, infectious disease, and in rare cases, tumors
Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches
Although severe headaches that frequently recur can impact the quality of your life and restrict your ability to conduct daily tasks, most headaches are harmless. There are effective treatments for almost every type of headache. Physical Therapists can help determine your type of headache, it’s cause, and develop an appropriate treatment plan that will help reduce both frequency and intensity.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE HEADACHES?
Pain of any type that occurs in any part of the head is called a headache. Headaches, like back pain, are one of the most common of all physical complaints and can be extremely frustrating to manage. Tension headaches, generally caused by muscle spasms, are the most common type of headaches in adults. They may be the result of poor posture, fatigue, stress, or from a neck or jaw problem. Problems in the head, neck, or jaw, such as an injury or arthritis, can lead to increased tension in the muscles at the back of the head and neck which can lead to increased pressure on the nerves of the head and face. Poor posture can cause these muscles to become overworked, which can then trigger a headache.