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
- Diseases such as diabetes or arthritis
- Conditions such as low blood pressure
- Interactions from certain medications
What Does Dizziness Feel Like?
Some individuals have a general feeling of unsteadiness (such as if on a rocking boat) or lightheadedness. Others may experience vertigo (a spinning sensation that results from a change in head position). Dizziness can result in any or all of the following:
- Difficulty walking
- Inability to concentrate
Perhaps most important--dizziness can increase your risk for falls, which can be fatal for some older adults. Therefore, I can’t stress this enough–the earlier you seek treatment the better. This is due to the fact that your inner ear and your brain are more apt to work together in the early stages
How Can Physical Therapy Help Treat Dizziness?
Most dizziness and associated balance disorders are not an inevitable part of aging and can be successfully treated with Physical Therapy. Your Physical Therapist should be able to conduct a thorough evaluation that includes specific tests to determine the causes of your dizziness (as well as assess your risk of falling). It is not uncommon to find more than one cause of dizziness and falls in the same individual. Depending on the outcome of the findings from your Physical Therapist, further diagnostic testing or a consultation with your doctor may be recommended.
Based on your individual goals for recovery, in conjunction with the findings from your Physical Therapist, a customized treatment plan will be developed. The main objectives of Physical Therapy are to help get you moving again while managing the dizziness at the same time. Specific exercises along with modifications in performing daily activities are the main focuses of treatment. Your Physical Therapist can teach you strategies quickly to help you manage your symptoms, especially if certain activities or household tasks become difficult by causing you to become dizzy and/or fatigued.
There are a variety of different forms your Physical Therapy treatments for dizziness can take. The exercises performed would most likely include ways to improve your balance, ways to improve your ability to focus your eyes and vision, as well as to “correct” differences between your inner ears and your brain. Your inner ears are responsible for letting the brain know how the body is moving with respect to gravity. They also help to coordinate eye motion by communicating information about head motion. Not to be neglected would be exercises to increase flexibility, strength, and cardiac (heart) health, all with the goal of improving your overall physical health and well-being.
If you or someone you know is experiencing dizziness, don’t wait to take action. Call my office at once at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at www.wildermanphysicaltherapy.com to schedule a FREE 30 minute consultation to see how Physical Therapy can help. Don’t delay–schedule now!