Woman suffering from vertigo leaning on wall

Vertigo can be described as a feeling of lack of balance. Nearly 40% of Americans experience vertigo once in their lifetime.. You might feel like you are spinning, or that the world around you is spinning.

Vertigo isn’t a disease. Instead, it’s a symptom of varying conditions. You may feel like you’re spinning, rocking, or tilting. It may seem worse when you stand, walk, change positions, or move your head. Vertigo attacks usually last only a few seconds to a few minutes, but in severe cases, people can experience vertigo for hours, days, weeks, or even months. Vertigo goes away on its own in many cases. However, there are several treatments that can successfully manage vertigo including a form of physical therapy known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy.

What Is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness or light-headedness. For some people, it may seem like they are standing still while the room is spinning around them. For others, it feels like they are the ones spinning and they are unable to find their footing.

Vertigo attacks can last for a few seconds or much longer and their effects can linger. The feeling of disorientation might be barely noticeable while, for some, it is incredibly debilitating and affects their daily functioning.

Signs and Symptoms

The common signs of vertigo include:

  • Lack of balance
  • Difficulty with standing or walking
  • Inability to see straight
  • Nausea
  • Extreme dizziness and light-headedness

Causes of Vertigo

Vertigo can be caused by many different things. In most cases, it is a situation where the balance in the inner ear is upset though there could be underlying problems causing vertigo. Some of the causes of vertigo include:

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): this is a condition that causes small head motions to cause extreme disorientation for people. It is caused by calcium particles getting lodged in the inner ear, distorting the person’s sense of balance.

Migraines: these are severe types of headaches that can cause other issues. One of these issues is vertigo. When someone has a migraine, they may find it hard to find their balance and also experience symptoms like nausea and dizziness.

Labyrinthitis: this is an inner ear infection that impacts a person’s sense of balance. The infection causes the inner ear to become inflamed which leads to obstruction to the nerves and faculties that control balance.

Meniere’s disease: this is an ear disorder that affects the inner ear. The disorder is caused by fluid building up in the ear and affecting ear pressure which can cause symptoms like vertigo and tinnitus.

How to Prevent Vertigo

If you do not deal with vertigo often, you don’t have to do anything different to prevent vertigo. However, for someone who regularly deals with vertigo, there are a few ways that you can prevent the symptoms from manifesting.

One of the ways to do this is to avoid situations that trigger your vertigo. This may include things like bending down or sitting up too quickly, staring at a screen for too long, or moving too fast and giving yourself whiplash.

Going about your motions slowly and methodically can help to combat vertigo.

How can Physical Therapy help with Vertigo?

The best kind of therapy for combating vertigo is called vestibular therapy. This is also referred to as vestibular rehabilitation therapy or VRT. The therapy is exercise based and is aimed at helping people improve their balance and reduce vertigo symptoms.

Vestibular therapy includes exercises like balance retraining, fitness exercises, waking exercises, vision stabilizing training, and more. Your therapist would ideally design a specified training regimen for each patient as no two people respond in the same way.

Therapy can take anything from six weeks to two months and aims at reducing symptoms and helping patients manage the symptoms and function normally.

If you are dealing with vertigo and need assistance with learning about VRT, contact us today and we will help you out!