Why Am I So Dizzy?
Ever feel like you are on a constant merry go round? That is how some people explain how the spinning sensation they feel on a daily basis; feeling unbalanced, swaying, tilting, or pulled in one direction. This experience is commonly referred to as vertigo. Some sufferers also feel nauseated, experience headaches, sweating, or even a jerking eye movement, known as nystagmus. These symptoms vary and may last anywhere from a few minutes or a few hours. Research suggests that vertigo typically occurs due to a variety of inner ear problems.
What Causes Vertigo?
Sometimes these issues are be caused by a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), or calcium deposits in the inner ear canals. These deposits are an issue because the inner ear is the mechanism that alerts your brain to head and body movements relative to gravity. Hence, if the ear senses you are off balance, you will feel that way.
A second inner ear disorder that can cause vertigo is Meniere's disease. Meniere's disease occurs when fluid builds up in the ear, and the inner ear pressure changes. In addition to vertigo, this condition can cause hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
A third cause of vertigo is known as labyrinthitis, or vestibular neuritis. Vestibular neuritis is a condition frequently related to a viral infection, which causes inflammation in the inner ear surrounding nerves that are necessary for the managing body's sense of balance.
Some additional, but less common, causes of vertigo may include an injury to the head or neck, stroke, brain tumor, certain medications, and migraine headaches.
How Is Vertigo Treated?
Most times your body will adapt, and these feelings will go away on their own. However, in some cases forms or physical therapy are needed. One such treatment is called vestibular rehabilitation. The vestibular system includes parts of the brain and inner ear that help your body to control eye movement and balance. The primary objective of vestibular rehabilitation is to help strengthen the vestibular system and retrain your senses to be able to deal with and compensate for the underlying condition that causes vertigo in your particular case.
A second treatment for vertigo is known as Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers. Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers are a series of body and head movements recommended by the American Academy of Neurology designed to relocate calcium deposits from the ear canal to an inner ear chamber where the body can absorb them. During this procedure, it is expected that the patient will experience vertigo symptoms, but they are safe to perform and can be very effective.
In cases when vertigo is caused by infection or inflammation, medication such as antibiotics or steroids may be prescribed. In cases such as Meniere's disease, diuretics (water pills) can be used to reduce inner ear pressure caused by water buildup.
When vertigo is caused by a more serious problem such as a tumor or injury to the brain or neck, surgery may be required to alleviate the underlying cause.
What to do if you have vertigo
If you experience dizziness, nausea, or are having trouble with your balance, please give us a call. We specialize in these type of disorders and can help you to find the underlying cause, and help you with the treatment required to alleviate it.
Jean McConnell, MS, PT, ATC is the owner of Pinnacle Health Concepts physical therapy located in Boardman, OH. You may reach her at 330-480-9362.