What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is the feeling of a rocking or rotation when you are perfectly still. It tends to last for several hours or days. Medically, it is distinct from dizziness because it involves the sensation of movement. Vertigo is often due a problem in the inner ear. An important part of the inner ear is the collection of semicircular canals. These structures are lined with cells that act like a gyroscope for the body and are responsible for providing feedback of our head’s position in space. When this feedback gets affected, Vertigo happens.

Causes of Vertigo

There are a variety of causes for Vertigo. The cause may be central or peripheral. Central causes occur in the spinal cord or brain, as in a Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) or stroke.  Peripheral causes are due to a problem with the inner ear. Small crystals within the otolith organs inside the ear can become dislodged into the semicircular canal. This causes the semicircular canal to become sensitive to head position changes which makes you feel dizzy. This can be accompanied by Nystagmus (abnormal rhythmic eye movement).

Treatments for Vertigo

The most effective treatments, if the vertigo is peripheral, are partial repositioning movements. This technique known as the Canalith Repositioning Procedure or the Epley Maneuver. In this technique, specific head movements are performed to move the crystals in the inner ear back to where they belong. Cawthorne Head Exercises may also be performed to assist as well. This is a series of head and eye movements, leading to improved vertigo. However, this needs to be done on a regular basis for optimal results. Patients with peripheral vertigo can find substantial relief with treatment. The data suggests that the Epley maneuver, in cases of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV, can improve symptoms in 90% of affected patients. A trained physical therapist can perform these types of treatments. Keep in mind that medications may provide some relief but are not a cure.

Help with Vertigo

Are you feeling dizzy with a sense of movement? You just might be experiencing vertigo. Make your world stop spinning with the help of our experienced and certified physical therapists. They are trained in the Cawthorne head exercises and Epley maneuver for vertigo. They can even give you instructions on how to do these exercises at home. Contact us at Dynamic Health Physical Therapy in Avon, CT at 860-404-2549 to set up a one-on-one consultation and full evaluation of your symptoms. We’ve helped many others and can help you too.