Vertigo is defined as a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height, or caused by disease affecting the inner ear or the vestibular nerve; dizziness, loss of balance, loss of equilibrium, or spinning.
There are two types of Vertigo: peripheral vertigo and central vertigo.
Central vertigo is less common and is caused by the central nervous system (primarily the brain).
Peripheral vertigo is by far the most common. There are five types of peripheral vertigo:
1) Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
2) Meniere’s Disease
3) Vestibular Neuritis
4) Acoustic Neuroma
Of the five, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is, by far, the most common.
Common symptoms of BPPV are dizziness, loss of balance, spinning and even nausea. The cause of BPPV is the disturbance of the inner ear crystals.
Physical therapy is often used to treat BPPV. Physical therapists screen each patient to see is their vertigo is BPPV, and if it is, there are several maneuvers used by PT’s to realign the crystals of the inner ear. Often the symptoms can be resolved or significantly improved in just 1 – 2 visits.
The first step, if you suffer from vertigo, is to see your medical doctor or physical therapist. If he or she diagnoses you with BPPV, try physical therapy. It might be a safe, quick and drug free approach to feeling better.
Brian Colvin, PT
Steve Bartz, PT