Have you ever experienced the sensation of the ground rolling beneath your feet? Do you often feel like you’re spinning out of control and you’re forced to grab onto the nearest object or person to stay on your feet? Then you may be experiencing vertigo, a condition that arises due to many causes. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments for vertigo. A physical therapist who works with the elderly may be perfect for your vertigo treatment, as they may have a lot of experience treating the condition. Are you wondering: “How can a good physical therapist who works with the elderly near me help with my vertigo?” Let’s find out!
What is Vertigo and What are the Symptoms?
Vertigo is the feeling or sensation of spinning – even when you are not moving at all. When you’re suffering from vertigo, you feel as if the room is moving around you. The majority of vertigo cases involve your inner ear or vestibular system.
Some of the symptoms of vertigo include:
- Excessive sweating
- Abnormal eye movements
If you experience vertigo that’s also accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, then call 911 for emergency medical services (EMS):
- Double vision
- Trouble speaking
- A loss in alertness
- Arm and/or leg weakness
- Inability to walk
What Causes Vertigo?
Several conditions may lead to vertigo:
- Inner ear infections and disorders
- Changes in your medications
- The wrong eyewear prescription
- Severe headaches or migraines
- Tumors for example acoustic neuroma
- Any surgery that modifies or injures the inner ear or its nerves
- Head injuries that impact the inner ear
- A perforation (or a hole) in the inner ear
- Vascular impairment
- Vestibular neuritis
- Cervical spine conditions
- Meniere’s disease
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) or “loose crystals”
BPPV is one of the most common causes of vertigo. The spinning sensation occurs when your head moves in certain directions. It is caused by the “loose crystals” (or debris) becoming dislodged and traveling into one of the semicircular canals, where they disrupt the fluid and create a false sense of movement. Therefore, changing the position of your head such as looking up or down, lying in bed, or rolling over will create the vertigo sensation. However, not all types of vertigo originate from BPPV.
How is Vertigo Diagnosed?
Vertigo is a debilitating condition that is easily identifiable. Your therapist may ask you the following questions:
- When did you first experience vertigo (or the spinning sensation)?
- What activities (turning your head, bending over, rolling in bed, or standing still) were you doing that tend to cause vertigo?
- How long do you experience this spinning sensation (seconds, minutes, or hours)?
- Have you ever experienced vertigo before?
- Have you ever experienced hearing loss, ringing, or fullness in your ears?
- Do you have nausea?
- Have you experienced any heart palpitations or rapid breathing?
Your physical therapist can also carry out tests to figure out the causes of vertigo and your risk of falling. The Dix-Hallpike test is done to determine if you have BPPV. It’s a non-invasive test that only lasts a few minutes as your therapist watches your eyes for involuntary movements called nystagmus. The direction of your eye movements will indicate where crystals are loose in your inner ear and guide further treatment. Your therapist may also recommend further testing or consultation with your physician.
Dealing With Vertigo: How a Physical Therapist Can Help
A physical therapist is an integral part of dealing with vertigo as they evaluate your needs and recovery goals to create the best treatment plan. The particular treatments may vary according to the cause of your vertigo.
Your physical therapist can help you manage vertigo and help you move much better. The treatment may also include specialized head and neck movements and other customized exercises to alleviate your symptoms.
If your vertigo is resolved but you have dizziness and balance issues, then your physical therapist can develop a treatment plan to manage those issues. They will also teach you key strategies to help you cope with your symptoms.
Do some activities and house chores lead to dizziness? Then your therapist will show you how to perform those activities in a manner to minimize dizziness. Have a few activities become more difficult to perform and create fatigue and dizziness. Your physical therapist will help you work around these symptoms and maintain a high level of function at home, work, and other settings.
Physical therapy treatments for vertigo may take several forms. The exercises that your physical therapist creates for you will depend on the specific problems that you face. These may include:
- Exercises to improve your balance
- Activities to assist your brain to adjust to offset differences between your inner ears
- Exercises to help you focus your eyes and vision
Furthermore, your physical therapist may recommend exercises that improve your strength, flexibility, and cardiac health. This will help you improve your physical health and welfare.
Do I Need A Special Physical Therapist?
Each physical therapist has sufficient education and expertise to treat those with vertigo. However, you may want to also think about getting:
- A physical therapist that is an expert in treating individuals with neurological conditions. A few therapists may also have a practice that emphasizes neurological vestibular rehabilitation.
- A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist who completed a residency or fellowship about neurological physical therapy. This professional possesses advanced knowledge, expertise, and applicable skills to resolve vertigo.
How do you find such physical therapists to get a good physical therapist who works with gymnasts near you? You can visit the American Physical Therapy Association to search for physical therapists close to your geographical area. Also, you can get recommendations from family and friends. Whenever you contact a physical therapy clinic for an appointment, be sure to inquire about his/her expertise in helping those with ear issues.
Treatment Options for Vertigo
The early stages of vertigo may be resolved with medications such as prochlorperazine and some antihistamines. Many people with vertigo often experience dizziness, so vestibular rehabilitation training may also help.
Physical therapy is the most effective treatment for BPPV. Vertigo is often resolved in one or two visits, where the Epley Maneuver is often used (among all the maneuvers that exist). This is a non-invasive treatment that is quite effective. Your physical therapist can check to make sure that you don’t have any neck or back injuries, vascular conditions, or retinal detachment before performing these maneuvers.
The Epley Maneuver
The Epley Maneuver was created in 1980 by Dr. John Epley to treat BPPV of the ear’s posterior canal. During treatment, your physical therapist will place your head at an angle to allow gravity to move the crystals out of your ears’ semicircular canals. This ensures that they no longer displace fluid and it relieves the dizziness and nausea.
How does this work (step-by-step)?
- You will be seated on a medical examination chair. The therapist will turn your head 45 degrees horizontally in the direction of your affected ear. You will hold onto his/her arms for support.
- Your therapist will tilt you back into a horizontal position, where your head hangs at a 45-degree turn. Please note that you may experience a vertigo attack as the crystals move toward the top of your ear canal. Your therapist will keep you in this position until vertigo subsides (generally within a minute).
- Then, your therapist will turn your head 90 degrees toward your unaffected ear.
- He or she will roll you onto the side of your unaffected ear (so that you will now look at the floor). As the crystals(or debris) move within your ear canal again, you may experience another round of vertigo. Remain in this position until the attack subsides.
- Your physical therapist will help you back into a regular seated position.
This method works most of the time. Once your BPPV is completely resolved, then patients often don’t need further treatment. However, several professionals may follow up with balance training that’s tailored for inner-ear issues. These exercises include eye-tracking, balancing on a variety of surfaces, and walking with head turns.
The Semont Maneuver
This maneuver is performed in the following steps:
- You will be seated on a medical examination chair. Then your physical therapist will gently turn your head. Your head will be positioned so that you’re halfway between looking halfway straight ahead and looking away from the ear that has the worst vertigo.
- The therapist will then lower you quickly to the side, or the ear with the worst vertigo. Your head will be on the table looking up at the ceiling. You will hold this horizontal position for 30 seconds.
- Your therapist will quickly move you to the other side without stopping in your initial upright position. Your head will be on the table as you look down on the surface. Once again, you hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Your therapist can help you back to a seated position.
The Foster Maneuver (or Half-Somersault)
The Foster maneuver means that you:
- Kneel and look up at the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds.
- Touch the floor with your forehead, tucking your chin so that your head goes toward your knees. Wait (for about 30 seconds) for any vertigo attack to stop.
- Turn your head toward the direction of your affected ear. If you feel dizzy on your left side, then turn to face your left elbow. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Quickly raise your head so that it is on the same level as your back as you’re on all fours. Hold your head at that 45-degree angle and hold for 30 seconds.
- Then rapidly raise your head so that it is fully upright. However, keep your head turned to the shoulder of your affected side. Then slowly stand up.
You may need to repeat this exercise several times. Be sure to rest for 15 minutes between each session.
The Brandt-Daroff Exercise
The Brandt-Daroff exercise requires the following steps:
- Begin by sitting on the edge of your couch or bed.
- Lie down on your left side and keep turning your head to look up while you do so.
- Attempt to perform both of these movements within one to two seconds. Maintain your head at that 45-degree angle. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Sit back up for 30 seconds.
- Repeat the previous steps on your right side.
- Do this exercise four more times for a total of five repetitions on each side.
- You can sit up. Feeling some light-headedness is normal. Simply wait for it to subside before you stand up.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Vertigo
Let’s consider a few frequently asked questions:
What Does Vertigo Indicate?
A person suffering from vertigo may have a sensation of spinning out of control. Vertigo can arise due to several medical conditions. It arises when there’s an issue with your inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway. Vertigo can develop at any age, but it is more common in those who are aged 65 years and older.
How Does a Physical Therapist Deal With Vertigo?
Your physical therapist is focused on helping you to move with ease while also managing vertigo. The treatment includes specialized head and neck movements or other exercises to relieve and/or eliminate the vertigo symptoms.
How Often Should You Do the Epley Maneuver?
Your medical professional will let you know how often you should do this procedure. He or she may ask you to perform this exercise three times per day until your symptoms disappear for 24 hours. They may also let you know if it is your right ear or left ear that is giving problems.
Dealing With Vertigo: How to Get the Help You Need
You no longer have to wonder: “Where do I find a good physical therapist who works with gymnasts near me?” If you live in the Shelton, CT area, then visit Moving With Hope. We have exceptional physical therapists and other medical professionals to resolve your vertigo. Contact us today and let’s begin working toward your best health.