Vertigo, a condition characterized by a sensation of spinning or dizziness, can be an unsettling and disrupting experience. The world seems to whirl around, balance become elusive, and daily activities become daunting challenges. The question that many people end up asking themselves is – can vertigo be cured?
How Vertigo Happens
Vertigo is most often not a standalone problem but a symptom of an underlying issue. It is commonly associated with problems in the inner ear, where the body’s balance system resides. The intricate interplay of signals between the inner ear, eyes, and sensory nerves helps the brain maintain equilibrium. When this system is disrupted, vertigo can ensue.
Where Does Vertigo Come From?
To effectively address the question of healing, it’s crucial to understand the diverse causes of vertigo. One of the primary culprits is vestibular disorders. These affect the inner ear leading to confusion as the brain tries to process these incorrect signals. This would include conditions such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuritis, and Meniere’s disease. BPPV, for instance, occurs when small crystals in the inner ear become dislodged and interfere with normal balance signals.
Abnormal signals can also be sent to the brain through the cranial nerves which provide feedback of the face and upper neck. These nerves start at the base of the skull and can get compressed by neck tension or decrease motion.
Other contributors to vertigo include migraines, head injuries, and certain medications. Additionally, systemic issues such as low blood pressure, anemia, and neurological disorders can manifest as vertigo. Pinpointing the exact cause of your symptoms is imperative to creating an effective treatment plan.
What Does Vertigo Feel Like?
Vertigo is a distinct and often disconcerting sensation characterized by a false perception of movement or a spinning motion. People experiencing vertigo may feel as though they or their surroundings are rotating, tilting, or swaying, even then they are perfectly still. Many people describe the sensation as if they are on a boat and feel like their feet are unsteady. While others literally feel the world swirling around them as they try to hold on for dear life.
Often the sensation is triggered by a change in head position such as rolling over in bed, standing up from sitting, or moving between positions. However, for some people the sensation can be caused by simple head movements or even trying to walk.
Will Vertigo Go Away On It’s Own?
The truth is your prognosis for eliminating vertigo is based on the root cause of your symptoms. Head injuries, vestibular neuritis, and Meneire’s disease all require treatment to address the root problem and should be discussed with your doctor. While other people can use simple steps such as eliminating certain medications or supplementing with iron to deal with anemia. Even these simple steps should be discussed with a doctor or naturopath to ensure the proper steps are being taken.
How Does Physical Therapy Address Vertigo?
If your problem is an inner ear dysfunction, linked to increased nasal pressure, or a neck motion limitation. Then you will need to work with a Specialist Physical Therapist in order to determine the root cause of your vertigo and outline your path towards healing the problem and eliminating your symptoms.
Every body is different and requires a different path towards healing. Our Specialists will determine if you would benefit from the Epley maneuver, Nasal Release Technique to address increased sinus pressure, neck mobilization, fascial release, or soft tissue work to release muscle tension. They will then design a path specifically designed for you to eliminate your vertigo symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about how our Specialists are different than traditional Physical Therapy in the treatment of vertigo, we encourage you to sign up for a Free Discovery Visit. This visit is designed to help you make the best decision regarding your vertigo treatment.
Does the Epley Manuever Actually Work?
Many people who search the internet for dizziness are led to a description of the Epley Maneuver. For many people, the description is hard to understand and even harder to implement correctly. That’s why I made this video for you. In it, I describe a simple test you can do at home to determine if the Epley Maneuver will work for you and demonstrate the modified technique I use in the clinic with step by step instructions.
I will never forget the most powerful impact I have seen of the Epley maneuver. Janet was escorted into the treatment room by her husband because she could not walk without clinging to his arm. She described the sensation as being on a small fishing boat in the middle of a huge storm – and she was afraid she was going over board. My heart hurt for Janet as even the gentle evaluation I performed sent her spinning. We had to take frequent breaks to allow her symptoms to calm down enough to continue.
Once we determined that Janet would benefit from the Epley maneuver, I had her perform the sequence once so she and her husband would know how to do it at home. Unfortunately, since the maneuver is designed to move the crystals it also causes increased symptoms.
Janet was green as she left my office, vowing to never return because what I was doing was illegal. She yelled at my front desk as she crab walked her way out of the office that when she felt better she was reporting me for medical malpractice.
Of course, I felt horrible for her because I knew she was suffering. But, I promised my front desk that she would be okay by the next week. It was no surprise to me that she called the office the day before her next appointment to cancel. My front desk was shocked when she asked why she was canceling.
“Oh, because I no longer need treatment. My vertigo is gone. Those exercises Dr. Amy gave me worked just like they said she would. She is AMAZING! I will be back any time I need help in the future and I will be sending all my friends. She is not like the “normal” Physical Therapy I have had before”.
I hear this comment so often and I still appreciate it every time. I have no problem being “abnormal” when it leads to people getting the results they want from treatment. But, to be fair, I have a distinct advantage to other PT’s (and, no, it’s not my training). I have TIME with each patient, one-on-one to hear the words that are coming out of their mouths and to read their bodies with my hands. Your body often tells a different story than the words that you are speaking. That’s why it’s critical to get my hands on you so understand what is going on with your body. And, why I can’t pass you off to a technician or an aide who doesn’t have the training to understand how to read bodies.
Are you ready to get Specialist help for dealing with your vertigo? Then I encourage you to sign up for one of our Free Discovery Visits where we can discuss what has been going on with your vertigo symptoms and the best path forward for you. During this free appointment, we will determine if you are a good fit for treatment with our Specialist. If you’re not then we will try to direct you to the next best person to help you on your journey.