Dizziness is common and can have many causes. Vertigo, however, is a little different. While dizziness is typically synonymous with “lightheadedness,” which creates the illusion of being unsteady, vertigo is typically a response to a physiological factor that is causing a literal imbalance in your body.
We’ve all had the sensation of being dizzy – as if you can’t focus, can’t see straight, can’t stand upright without swaying or falling. You may even experience “tunnel vision,” where your peripheral vision goes dark for a few seconds.
Why am I so dizzy?
A few of the many factors that can lead to dizziness include lack of sleep, poor nutrition, overexertion, or a physical ailment, such as a head cold or the flu.
Dizziness can also occur from something as simple as standing up too quickly after an extended period of rest. Some accompanying symptoms of dizziness may include:
- Lightheadedness or heavy-headedness
- Momentarily impaired vision (i.e. tunnel vision)
- Feeling woozy or faint
- Loss of balance
Am I experiencing vertigo?
Vertigo is most commonly caused by an imbalance in the inner ear, also known as the “vestibular system.” Your vestibular system helps you maintain your balance and center of gravity by sending messages to your brain regarding your movement. When this is impaired, the necessary messages become blocked from your brain, and your movement becomes affected.
You may feel as if the world is spinning around you, you can’t focus your vision for prolonged periods of time, or you can’t stand/move properly without feeling like you are going to topple over. Some common causes of vertigo include:
- Meniere’s disease
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Vestibular neuritis
How will physical therapy help my dizziness and vertigo?
Both dizziness and vertigo can hinder your daily life, limiting your ability to perform even the simplest of tasks. Luckily, no matter what the cause may be, physical therapy for dizziness and vertigo can help. Scona Sports & Physiotherapy is very successful at diagnosing and treating both dizziness and vertigo with vestibular rehabilitation.
Vestibular rehabilitation includes treatments such as the Epley maneuver and Cawthorne head exercises. The Epley maneuver allows for canalith repositioning, in order to move the broken calcium crystals in patients experiencing BPPV. Cawthorne head exercises focus on decreasing nerve sensitivity and reducing the effects of vertigo.