Physical therapy can be used to treat Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV. It is a condition characterized by short or long periods of dizziness and a spinning sensation when the head is in certain positions.
How Can Physical Therapy Help My Balance?
Physical therapy techniques have been created specifically to combat balance problems. One of the most effective types of physical therapy is vestibular rehabilitation therapy, or VRT, a technique designed to speed up the process of compensating for a damaged balance center.
Though balance can be restored naturally by the body, some sufferers are unable to compensate, and the body begins to rely too heavily on its other senses to coordinate movement. Unusual habits can develop to offset the effects of vertigo. These habits can actually make vertigo worse and confuse the body even more.
In these cases, VRT is necessary to complete recovery. Those undergoing VRT utilize the power of exercise to help the body understand how to use its other systems to correct balance problems. Before beginning therapy, it is important that your therapist has a thorough understanding of your medical history so that she can develop a personal treatment plan for you.
What Causes Vertigo?
Most people who have vertigo have either just stepped off of an amusement ride or have a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. Dizziness begins when calcium crystals that maintain balance in the inner ear fall off and cause a reaction.
More serious dizziness can occur when illness or injury damages the vestibular system. Common conditions that can lead to balance issues include:
- Heart Disease
Heart problems can damage any part of your body, but the head and brain are especially vulnerable. Since your brain is connected directly to the nervous system, a shock such as a stroke can throw off the balance center in your inner ear
- Brain Tumor
Tumors grow too quickly to control and, when they run out of room to grow, begin to attack your organs, including your brain. Tumors are persistent and will grow into whatever space they can. Their growth can interfere with normal functions, including balance.
- Meniere’s Disease
This disease occurs when inner-ear fluid overflows and damages other parts of the ear. The fluid hurts tissues related to balance and they become unable to work normally. Meniere’s disease occurs in people who have ear infections, use lots of painkillers, smoke, or drink too much alcohol.
The tissue in the inner ear is sensitive and, due to viral infection, can become irritated and stop the balance center from doing its job. Sufferers feel dizzy and off-balance not only because the tissue is inflamed but also because the body is busy fighting off the infection.
- Head Injury
Even damage from outside the body can lead to a loss of balance. Vehicle accidents such as car or bike accidents can sometimes lead to troublesome issues such as concussions and whiplash that can jar the crystals and fluid in the inner ear. Brain damage can also cause the inner-ear to overcompensate for mixed signals from the brain.
No matter the cause, dizziness and nausea can really bring your life to a screeching halt. Before your balance issues become too much of a burden, think about your medical history and whether or not some of the common causes of vertigo could be affecting you. Call our office today at 850-476-7072 to schedule your appointment to learn more about what can be done to improve your condition though physical therapy.