Dizziness is one of the most common symptoms described to doctors across North America. People suffer from dizziness on a regular basis, often being given medication with varying levels of effectiveness. For many causes of dizziness, physiotherapy can provide relief from this symptom.
Dizziness is most often caused by a type of vestibular disorder, either a dysfunction in the organs of the inner ear or dysfunction in the central nervous system that impedes balance and spatial information. When vestibular organs in the ear are not functioning properly, balance, coordination, and movement are impaired. Patients commonly experience vertigo, dizziness, nausea, imbalance, and light-headedness, among other frustrating and debilitating symptoms.
Physiotherapy works as part of an overall healthcare plan to help reduce or eliminate dizziness as a symptom. Known as vestibular rehabilitation, this type of physiotherapy is effective in helping patients cope with dizziness and live life without this debilitating symptom.
Causes of Dizziness
Vestibular dysfunctions causing dizziness are often caused by head injuries, viral infections, or aging. Other types of illnesses and genetic and environmental factors can also contribute to the severity of the problem.
There are other conditions that can cause dizziness, such as severe degenerative arthritis, nervous-system disorders, and osteoarthritis. These can cause swelling, bone spurs, and blockages that impede blood flow to the brain and can cause dizziness and light-headedness.
Stress, tension, or fatigue may also cause the brain stem to function less efficiently. This can result in a loss of balance and reflex and as the brain works to maintain its balance, a person may feel lightheaded or unsteady.
No matter your cause of dizziness, it is an inconvenient and can result in an inability to work, leave the house, walk, or stand. It can also contribute to falls and severe injuries. Physiotherapy and vestibular rehabilitation as part of your overall healthcare plan can help provide relief.
Treating Dizziness with Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy for dizziness typically consists of vestibular rehabilitation. This is an exercised-based program to encourage the central nervous system to compensate for problems in the inner ear. Assessments and therapy is performed in the clinic, while at-home exercises are also recommended and general education provided.
An assessment will typically be provided first, to assess sensation, gather information about pain and severity, muscle strength, range of motion, posture, balance, coordination, and general abilities. Once this assessment is complete, a fully customized exercise plan can be created.
Some methods for treating dizziness with physiotherapy are:
- Exercises that promote stabilization and balance
- Eye and head movement exercises
- Promoting a more active and healthy lifestyle overall
- Providing at-home exercises
- Providing education about the condition
Physiotherapy for dizziness can help restore a person’s balance, mobility, and coordination. With vestibular rehabilitation, a patient can reduce or eliminate their dizziness and return to their normal standard of living.